Music to overcome the lockdown blues

One faith, many songs … Anyone who wants to see and hear how alive New Apostolic life is around the globe despite Pandemic restrictions only has to go to YouTube and look for virtual choirs. Join us for a tour of magical melodies.

The world in pandemic isolation? Well, not necessarily where church music is concerned. “Wonderful! Lots of love from South Africa!” or “Thank you! Greetings from Germany!” it says under a video from Indonesia with the song “Pass me not, O gentle Saviour”, making the comment column into an international meeting-point.

What is striking a chord and touching people’s hearts is music—both choral and instrumental—recorded on smartphones, and which has helped to overcome the lockdown blues a little. Hundreds of thousands of viewers were able to experience this effect at the end of the central Pentecost service, when a virtual choir comprised of 1,600 voices sang “What a Friend we have in Jesus”.

Number one hits from France and Canada

Although this was the largest virtual choir of the New Apostolic Church so far, it was definitely not the only one. The same group from France who put together this huge virtual choir had already caused quite a sensation and listening pleasure before that with their “Je louerai l’Eternel”—including a bonus track with children.

A similar number of Likes has been collected by “We will keep our faith alive”, an action by the District Church of Canada, which was initiated by their own virtual choir. 258 voices from all over the world joined in harmony to send a message of faith in song, including the District Apostle, whom one can hear saying “Bye, bye everyone” at the end.

Well-known hymns and new songs

The most popular videos are of course those with typical New Apostolic classics. For example, “As the deer”, sung by a virtual choir from South Africa as well as by a choir from Indonesia. Or a rendition of “The Lord is my Shepherd ” performed by a virtual choir from Western Germany as early as March already, making it one of the earliest such recordings.

The list would of course be incomplete if there were not at least one rendition of “The Lord is My Light”. There is one sung by a virtual choir from Germany and an instrumental version played by the youth symphony orchestra of the District Church South America. These two YouTube channels are very active, by the way, and feature new videos on an almost weekly basis.

The repertoire of these virtual choirs of course also includes more recent compositions such as “Here I Am”, the signature song of the International Youth Convention 2019, performed by a virtual choir from Bali accompanied by angklungs.

All age groups and registers

Not only mixed pieces are being performed on the virtual stage, but also male choral ensembles, such as a group of ministers from the districts East-Java and Bali. A children’s choir from this corner of the globe recorded the song “Let your hearts be ever joyful”. The video made it all the way to an online Pentecost devotional for children of the District Church Western Germany.

Very popular with youth choirs are compositions by Jeremy Dawson, a 36-year-old New Apostolic composer from London, England. His works can be heard blaring from smartphones and computers all over Germany: “With You I Can”, “How Suddenly”, “In Him I have a friend”, or “We Shall Be Glad”.

All of these are only mere drops in an ocean of melodies. Also to watch out for are recordings of “Chantez, priez, célébrez le Seigneur” from Brussels and “Ins Wasser fällt ein Stein” from Leipzig in Germany. The last word belongs to the small congregation of Malang in Indonesia and its YouTube self-description: “We are small in numbers, but our faith is bigger than a mountain.”

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Andreas Rother
International, Music, Congregational life