The IYC opening promises an incredible celebration

The buzzer was bright red: using both hands, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider officially opened the International Youth Convention (IYC) 2019 in Düsseldorf (Germany). Judging by the incredible start, the rest can only be amazing.

The motto “Here I am” resounded throughout the Arena in the ranks—polyphonic. Then the various nations entered—represented by the IYC ambassadors. And then the Chief Apostle entered the hall and the young people erupted in minute long applause. “Herzlich willkommen, happy welcome, bienvenue à tous,” he greeted the participants who hail from more than 100 nations.

This time we are not talking about the power of Peter’s keys, he said. “Today I was given the power of the buzzer,” the Chief Apostle said. “As soon as I press this button, things will really kick off. Should I do that?” he asked amid cheering and thunderous applause before starting the countdown to launch the fireworks by pressing the button. “I hereby declare the International Youth Convention officially opened.”

Presentation of the theme song “Here I am”

“Here I am” resounded from the centre of the Arena. Mbaita Muyenga from Zambia performed the official IYC song. The song was composed by Julia Maier, a jazz musician from Austria, who had already attracted attention on Pentecost 2017 in Vienna with “Lord, have mercy on my life”.

A special feature of the dance performances in the morning was the representation of the three emotions of joy, sadness, and insecurity—feelings that the young people will definitely have brought along with them to the Youth Convention. These emotions will be taken up again in the closing event—they are a common thread running through the IYC. At the end, it will be clear: something has happened over these past couple of days.

The Mexican wave to warm up

Armin Laschet, the Prime Minister of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia, sent a video message. He greeted the guests from around the world and wished them much joy in occupying themselves with their faith and in their encounters with people from other countries and cultures. This is how mutual understanding can be strengthened, he said, in order to tackle the challenges of the future together.

Already the preliminary programme offered a first highlight: a solo rendition of “Over the Rainbow” accompanied by the orchestra. This turned the Arena into a sea of swinging and glittering phone lights. From that moment on the atmosphere in the Arena was charged with emotion: with any songs that followed, the audience clapped the rhythm. And the Mexican wave made its way through the crowds.

This was not the only time that the ranks were brought to life in light. Everyone in the audience had received remote-controlled wristbands that light up in various colours. It was certainly not the last time that these wristbands lit up.

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