“European Youth Choir in Swiss Celebration,” Ensign, Oct. 1991, 79
When seven hundred young people from around the world gathered to sing in celebration of Switzerland’s seven-hundredth anniversary as a nation, 240 of the singers were Latter-day Saints.
They were members of the specially organized European Mormon Youth Choir, formed to take part in the open-air Concert 700 in Lucerne, Switzerland, on July 6. The concert was one of the events that led up to a day of national celebration in Switzerland on August 1.
In welcoming the LDS group, Swiss musician-composer Turo Pashayan, who organized Concert 700, commented: “This choir in itself represents a bridge between five nations of Europe.” The LDS youth came from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.
The other young singers who participated in the concert came from countries all over the world, including western European countries, the United States, the Soviet Union, Japan, China, and Albania.
The format of the concert had all of the young singers performing a few numbers together. Each of the separate groups that made up the larger choir also performed musical numbers. The European Mormon Youth Choir offered a testimony through the song “I Am a Child of God,” singing the first verse in German, the second in French, and the third in English. Another number in their program was “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” with a solo by Brian Montgomery, a Church member from the U.S. who has been performing in European opera houses for several years.
Sharon Hintze, who directed the LDS choir, said the youth performed well despite the fact that they were able to meet together as a group for only a few rehearsals during the two days before their performance. Many choir members came from areas where Church members are a small minority, and they were awed by the fact that they made up the majority of the larger choir.
“What we wanted was for them to have a successful experience. And they did!” Sister Hintze said. Feeling for the first time what they could do when they were working together, the LDS youth cheered themselves when they finished the performance.
Sister Hintze said the LDS youth stood out as ambassadors for the Church, making friends with everyone from concert production people to bus and trolley conductors.
Willi Hurni, public affairs director in the Lucerne Branch, Zurich stake, noted that this was the first time an LDS group had been invited to perform at an official ceremony in Switzerland. “We feel very honored and acknowledge that the Church in Switzerland is being recognized as an institution that can make a major contribution to the community and the country,” he said.—Bruno Kaspar, public affairs director, Zurich Switzerland Stake