European Concert VIP Receptions: Building Friendships
Twelve days into their tour of Europe, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square gave their fifth concert in Frankfurt, Germany on Saturday, July 9, 2016, at the Jahrhunderthalle (“One Hundredth Anniversary Hall”) with yet another standing ovation from an enthusiastic audience. At each European concert the Choir has engaged audiences with its vast and varied repertoire sung entirely from memory and in different languages.
As part of the ambassadorial role of the Choir and Orchestra, special guests are invited to a VIP reception prior to each concert. These receptions are organized by local members of the Church who reach out to government, community, and religious leaders as well as media and noted musicians. At the receptions, guests mingle with Church and Choir leaders, giving them a one-on-one opportunity to learn more about this unique ensemble. Church and Choir leaders have an equally rich experience personally meeting and hosting people from all over Europe, many of whom are great Choir fans.
After attending the VIP reception and concert in Zurich, religious scholar Professor Jean-François Mayer wrote on his blog, “Faith may not always move mountains, but it changes lives… It is not the love of music alone that motivates the members of the Tabernacle Choir, but their faith.”
Equally moved was National Klassic Radio host Holger Wemhoff who attended the concert in Berlin and subsequently posted, “Das Konzert meines Lebens!” (The concert of my life!).
Another guest, writer Eric T. Hansen wrote, “The sacred music was really good, the Nigerian hymn rocked and the Mormon hymns—so positive and encouraging and hopeful—moved me after not hearing them for so many years.”
But perhaps satirical writer Gideon Böss, said it best when he posted, “Great performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Berlin. The European tour will still continue to Nuremberg, Vienna, Frankfurt, Brussels and Rotterdam. Whoever doesn’t go there, will end up in hell! (Well, that’s my claim—not the official view by the Mormons.)”
It is hoped that friendships built through the VIP receptions will last far into the future. Choir President Ron Jarrett said, “One of the goals of the Choir and Orchestra is to use music to transcend cultural, generational and geographic boundaries. Meeting personally with the luminaries of each city confirms that all people can unite and be in harmony.”