Music & Nightlife

Charlotte’s Elevation Worship joins Carowinds’ Christian Music Day for the first time

Elevation Worship will perform as part of Christian Music Day at Carowinds on Saturday afternoon.
Elevation Worship will perform as part of Christian Music Day at Carowinds on Saturday afternoon. Elevation Church

To many Charlotteans, Matthews-based Elevation Church may seem like a local entity, like any other megachurch you pass on the drive home from work. But with 17 locations — 10 within the area — Elevation’s reach extends further than you’d think (there’s even one in Canada).

And so does the original music by its touring house band, Elevation Worship.

In April, the worship ministry was nominated for a Billboard Award as 2018’s Top Christian Artist along with long-running acts MercyMe and Hillsong. Next week, it follows 2017’s breakthrough album “There Is a Cloud” and February’s “Evidence” with a new album, “Hallelujah Here Below.”

Before the release — and before hitting the road in October to promote the new album — it’ll join Carowinds’ annual Christian Music Day Saturday with festival staples Skillet and Crowder.

Although worship leader Chris Brown says the band has played with the other artists at festivals elsewhere, it’s only the group’s second hometown concert outside of the church. In 2017, it played the Outcry Festival at Bojangles’ Coliseum.

“We always had a vision that we wanted to write songs for our church, for our people,” says Brown, who moved to Charlotte 11 years ago to head up the church’s music program. “The longer the church has been around, I think God has used the songs to help others outside our church walls.”

He also hadn’t intended on touring, but he and the other band members are “following the momentum” of the church.

“We’re family people who are all plugged into the church. We love being at home. It’s not like we set out to do this ‘artist’ thing,” he says.

The growth of the worship program reflects Charlotte’s own musical growth. In fact, the church employs numerous musicians and technicians across its local campuses.

“When I moved to Charlotte, I was trying to get to know musicians in the area to build a team here. I was going to places like the (Evening) Muse and Neighborhood Theatre trying to find musicians,” he says. “There wasn’t as big of a music scene in Charlotte, at least that I was aware of.”

Today the staff consists of many local musicians.

“I love what has developed in the music scene over the last decade. So many guys and girls that play here form their own bands. We have several instances where a 14-year-old kid that was dying to play drums eight years ago and started showing up at church every weekend. Now at age 22, that kid is one of the drummers at one of our locations,” explains Brown, who estimates that there are close to 10 band members at each of its local campuses. “It’s gratifying for me to see a 16-year-old kid grow up and being able to do music now.”

Christian Music Day

When: 4 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Carowinds Palladium, 300 Carowinds Blvd.

Tickets: $54.58 (includes park admission).

Details: 800-745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com.

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