FBC gets new music minister

Published 10:04 pm Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Although it’s not a perfect circle, Bart Culpepper has come full circle.

Culpepper is back “home” as minister of music at First Baptist Church of Troy.

Although he is a native of Abbeville, Troy is close enough for him to have circled “back home.”

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“It’s good to be back in Alabama,” Culpepper said. “My wife, Anela, is from Tallahassee so we’re close to both of our families and it is good to be home.”

Culpepper will lead music for the first time at First Baptist on Sunday and he is looking forward to the opportunities that he will have there to lead and worship.

“What I will bring to First Baptist Church in the way of music is a blending of the traditional and the contemporary,” he said. “I grew up signing out of the hymnal. That was my repertoire. I was a teenager in the 1970s and church music was transformed to include youth and adult musicals.

“Today, we have tremendous access to composers and music and we consume music much quicker. So, a blending of the music is what we have.”

Culpepper learned to play the piano at a relatively early age. He sang in college choirs and choral groups and also conducted. During the summers he sang with the Southern California-based Continental Singers.

“Traveling with the Continental Singers gave me the opportunity to visit Europe and the Caribbean and it was a great learning experience for me,” he said.

Culpepper graduated from Samford University in Birmingham and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

His first church appointment was in LeRoy, Alabama. He then served a church in Palmetto, Fla. for 16 years before being invited to help start a church in Weaverville, North Carolina.

“The church in Weaverville was actually built from nothing,” Culpepper said. “We had an opportunity to build a foundation for music and worship by gathering people and resources. It was a real challenge but, four years later, the church has 300 people. The church in the little mountain community is going strong. It was good to be a part of it.”

But when the door to home opened, Culpepper didn’t hesitate.

“Coming to First Baptist Church in Troy was a great opportunity for us,” he said. “There will be challenges here and the biggest will be to remain biblically based and culturally relevant to the people.

The Culpeppers have three children, Christopher, 20, who is a junior at Liberty University; Courtney, 19, who attends a junior college in Florida; and Nichole, 15, who is home-schooled.