Street, stage, divine service – Music calls the tune

The 2019 International Youth Convention will be full of vibrant music: during the main event in the arena, during concerts on stage, or spontaneously outside and on the go. What are the plans? How can young people participate? We spoke with Evangelist Jürgen Gerisch of the IYC Planning Committee Music.

Talking about internationality, how are you planning for that in terms of music?

There is going to be an IYC song, and Julia Maier has been commissioned as composer. The song will be constructed in such a way that each verse will be composed in a different musical style: for example, one verse in a South American style, a second in a European style, and another in an African style. The song will be performed at the opening ceremony and is meant to make the youth from overseas feel right at home from the start. We are also planning a special songbook, for which we will sift through over 200 songs from every imaginable country and language, including English, German, French, and even Swahili. The choice of songs is to be a signal to the youth that the IYC is their youth convention, no matter where they come from. It will contain a wide-ranging choice of music in various styles, from traditional choral music to gospel songs and even pop songs. The song texts must fit into the Church context; they should be fun to sing, should be easy to learn, and easy to sing for a large number of people.

And the songbook is going to be handed out to all the youth at the IYC?

The idea is to include the songbook in the welcome package. It will come in handy for the divine services taking place during the IYC, but also for any other time during the youth convention. The hymns for the services will also be printed in the IYC guide. By the way, singing in the services will be multilingual.

What will happen to the songbook after the youth convention?

Well, the idea is that the youth can continue to use it afterwards. We can imagine it becoming a permanent fixture, an addition to the current youth choir book. What we would really like is that the music lives on. The songbook should therefore also be given to those young people who will not be at the youth convention.

What about the international character of the major events?

One major event is being planned in the Arena. Those who were at the Night of Lights during the European Youth Day 2009 (EYD) have an idea of what to expect. The motto, “Here I am”, is going to be illuminated from different angles. An open-air event is planned for Saturday evening, where we are expecting international musical ensembles to perform. Another concert that will take place is “Show your talent”, where young people will perform who took part in a song contest in the run-up to the IYC. This contest is being organised by Bischoff Publishers. Eligible are all IYC participants who can deliver their own compositions with their own original lyrics. More information about the conditions of entry will be published in the coming weeks on the websites of the Publisher and the IYC.

What are your plans for music in the divine service?

Some solo pieces are planned. For the rest we were thinking of giving all IYC participants the opportunity of forming one large choir together. The choir would appear in a concert and also perform as a training choir at the closing divine service with Chief Apostle Schneider. There will also be a youth symphony orchestra, in which young people from all over the world can take part. However, to do so they need to register. Further information about both of these activities will follow shortly on the IYC website.

Can young people who play more exotic instruments join the orchestra?

If the youth from Indonesia come with their angklungs, we will certainly find a way to integrate them. They can of course also play outside of the divine services. There are plans to have stages of various sizes both in the halls and on the exhibition grounds, on which the ensembles, choirs, bands, and orchestras can perform. There will also be the possibility to make spontaneous street music in pre-defined areas.

Why can’t everyone play or sing everywhere and whenever they want?

Primarily because of security restrictions. Emergency exits and escape routes must be kept clear of obstructions, and street music should not disturb workshops taking place nearby or other activities.

Have you received many registrations for musical contributions so far?

In the meantime, yes. There is a huge rush for medium-sized and large stages. We are going to have to see whether we can manage with the slots. Some applicants initially only stated the duration of their contribution and only later realised that preparation and follow-up time must also be scheduled. That’s the crucial point: only when we know the total time required can we begin to plan and time the contributions in the halls. If necessary, we may have to ask contributors to move to smaller stages. There are still many possibilities there. We are still looking for contributions for the smaller stages.

What should the youth consider when planning their contributions?

It would be good if they would keep the motto “Here I am” in mind and work the different possibilities of interpretation into their contributions. The young people should also consider: “How can I make it interesting for people from other countries?” instead of only thinking about themselves: “What am I particularly good at and enjoy doing?” This way, the youth can also practise the “I” in “IYC”.

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