Bellevue Baptist Church is a Southern Baptist Mega-church in Cordova, TN, a suburb of Memphis. The 7,000 seat church sits on a 377 acre campus on Appling road that has been the home to Bellevue since 1989. Bellevue has always had a very successful live production ministry with elaborate productions at Christmas, Easter, and the 4th of July. The first Easter program, “Living Pictures” was introduced in 1981 by James D. Whitmire, evolving into “The Memphis Passion Play” on the church’s expanded stage in the Cordova worship center in 1990.
“The Singing Christmas Tree” is a Memphis tradition like no other. For the Singing Christmas Tree’s 36th year, the 2011 show “Destination: Christmas” produced by Mark Blair, Bellevue’s Minister Of Music featured original story and music; the signature 44-foot Christmas tree with over 100,000 lights that can be pixel mapped; a cast, choir, and orchestra of over 400; and a performance worthy of Broadway itself. This year’s production creates an uplifting story and vividly brings to life the miracle of our Savior’s birth. Over 34,000 tickets were sold to seven presentations between December 9-14. This year’s Singing Christmas Tree presentation was intentionally written to connect with struggles each of us face today.
Paragon 360 was brought in to add a new and fresh perspective to the lighting design and equipment package for this new production. “We work hard at trying to make the lighting become an integral part of the story being told” explains Paragon CEO, Donnie Brawner. “It’s easy to get off track when building cool light shows and working with special effects. The real goal is to make sure that through this whole process that we are being successful at telling a compelling story. It’s a tough challenge, because it’s the greatest story ever told, and it’s gets told every year, but how can we deliver it in a way that is compelling to the lost. Even though some of our background is in show business, the idea here is not about entertainment, it’s about the message. With that being said, it kind of changes the course of how we get to the end.”
Paragon provided the turn-key lighting from design, thru equipment provision, installation, and programming. The lighting system consisted of equipment from Bellevue’s house inventory of (350) conventional fixtures in addition to a rental package of (40) LED Units, (78) moving lights, (40) conventional units, Atomic strobes, Altman 703 UV units, a GrandMA control console, theatrical hazers, over 300’ trussing and (24) chain motors. Flying effects were provided by ZFX.
Brawner commented “The folks at Bellevue treated us real well and made us feel like a big part of their family. We really appreciate the opportunity to work with them and hats off to their entire production team for a job well done. They have a good reputation for productions for a reason. The in-house talent level is awesome!”