First Baptist Church of Columbia will offer a patriotic celebration Sunday that is 27 years strong.
The Carolina Celebration of Liberty was conceived 27 years ago as an outdoor celebration on the steps of the S.C. State House. Renovations to the State House coincided with the opening of a new 3,400-seat sanctuary at the church in the late 1990s, and the celebration moved indoors, said Steve Phillips, associate pastor and minister of music at First Baptist, and one of two founders of the celebration.
Today, the patriotic concert has grown to two performances to accommodate nearly 10,000 spectators.
The program honors all branches of the armed forces, both veterans and those currently serving. Patriotic music will be performed by the Ft. Jackson 282nd Army Band, as well as the orchestra and choir from First Baptist. The cast of 400 also includes children and student groups from the church, Phillips said.
Joe Pinner will return as the event’s emcee, a role he has performed for all 27 years of the production.
Admission to The Carolina Celebration of Liberty is free, but tickets are required. Call 803-217-3250 to reserve tickets. Performances are at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and doors open one hour prior to each program. First Baptist Church is at 1306 Hampton St. in downtown Columbia.
“It’s a gift to the community,” Phillips said. “It’s become one of the great traditions, to come and celebrate our country, and honor our veterans and those who are currently serving.”
Bridget Winston, Special to The State