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ISSUE 117 VOL 9 PUBLISHED 11/21/2003

Club 3 Degrees mixes Christianity, music, fun

By Jenna Barke
Copy Editor

Friday, November 21, 2003

By enrolling in a Lutheran-affiliated college and living on a dry campus, many St. Olaf students non-verbally demonstrate the fact that they possess certain moral values that guide the choices that they make. Balancing one’s personal beliefs with the desire to go out and have fun can, however, sometimes cause internal conflict. However, Club 3 Degrees (C3D), a new addition to the Twin Cities’ club scene, has made the art of combining Christian faith with fantastic music its mission.

Club 3 Degrees, formerly known as the New Union, is located at 115 N. 5th St. in Minneapolis. Local and national Christian musicians take the stage in the three-level, 18,000 square-foot establishment every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The club has a capacity of 1,700 and boasts state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems.

On Fridays and Saturdays, from 11:30 p.m. to 3 a.m., DJs come in to spin the freshest tunes in gospel hip-hop and R & B. Admission to C3D’s lower-level lounge is free every night of the week; this gathering area provides trivia, pool tables, various forms of musical and comedic entertainment and a bar serving only non-alcoholic beverages – Club 3 Degrees is both smoke and alcohol-free. Smoothies, the house special, are always on hand, as are a wide variety of desserts, appetizers and coffee-based drinks.

Another unique feature of C3D lies in its flexible age restrictions. People of any age are welcome to attend concerts and other shows: those under 14, however, must be accompanied by an adult (18 or over) at all times, and the club becomes 18+ following all shows (after 11 p.m.).

Club 3 Degrees is a nonprofit organization owned and operated by the Living Word Christian Center, making the establishment’s primary purpose to reach out and share the Christian faith. Contracts for bands playing at the club include rules such as “we [Club 3 Degrees] require that all lyrics...reflect the fact that you are a Christian.” According to club co-director Nancy Aleksuk, “[the club] is a Christian ministry, first and foremost.” Club 3 Degrees is staffed entirely by volunteers from both Living Word and the Twin Cities community.

The unique philosophy of Club 3 Degrees has brought the venue increased publicity. Recent issues of both Rolling Stone and Time magazines took note of the club, and the Nov. 14 “Freetime” section of the Star Tribune publicized C3D’s recent We 3 Kings concert. Five Iron Frenzy, Geoff Moore, One Accord, and Jump 5 are just a few of the acts that have recently brought their talent to Club 3 Degrees.

Although C3D concerts bring enormous crowds into the building, much of the club’s real mission is centered on the church services it provides on Sunday and Wednesday nights at 6:30 and 7:00 p.m., respectively. The C3D website describes the services as “funky praise and worship with an urban rock flair” along with “relevant, keep-it-real teaching.” The services are publicized as contemporary, casual, and non-denominational, expressing the club’s desire to welcome worship participants from all walks of life.

There are countless nightclubs and churches in cities around the world, but establishments that combine the two are rare. C3D’s commitment to Christian values, along with its passion for bringing music to the Minneapolis community, make it a truly original entertainment alternative.

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