“We’ve heard some wonderful music today. I hope it has strengthened your love of Jesus Christ and increased your desire to take part in His ‘great work,’” said President Russell M. Nelson, at the conclusion of the 2021 Global Youth Music Festival that aired Wednesday, March 17, 2021.
During the Christ-centered concert, members and friends of the global faith tuned in to virtual performances from Latter-day Saints from around the world and heard messages from Church leaders, including President Nelson.
The event premiered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, and ASL.
In his message, the Church president called young Church members “the hope of Israel” (referencing the hymn) and talked about the “profound influence” music has had on his life.
“It has lifted my spirits during sad days, and it has helped me feel joy at other times,” he said. “I’ve also found that listening to uplifting music is one of the best ways to feel the Spirit and hear the voice of the Lord.”
The program’s music included songs from the 2021 Youth Theme Album and featured hosts and performers from Brazil, the Caribbean, Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, the Philippines and the United States.
The 2021 Church Youth theme, “A Great Work” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:33–34), was at the center of the 50-minute program’s messaging. Church leaders and youth alike focused on how the younger generation can bring hope to the world as they invite others to believe in Jesus Christ.
“The miracle that Jesus Christ died and rose again is at the center of this event. We gather in song and testimony to celebrate the power of His Atonement in our lives today, and to join together in His great work,” said Tyla Tuala, from Auckland, New Zealand, who helped host the musical festival.
From Māori Battalion drums to electric guitars, global performers used a variety of instruments to play songs that focused on faith in the Savior.
“I hope that people out there are able to feel the spirit that comes from this, to go out and be actionable about what [they] believe to be true,” said Patch Crowe, a singer from Bountiful, Utah, who sang “If You Believe.”
“It’s bringing us all together, as the world and just humans, and I think that’s amazing,” said Emily Bea, a performer from Lehi, Utah.
In addition to different musical styles that mirrored the Church’s worldwide membership, audience members that tuned in to the gospel music festival experienced interactive youth-led tours of a Church historic site in Palmyra, New York, the exteriors of the Campina Brazil Temple, and the first Church meetinghouse in Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines.
“The great work of our Heavenly Father starts small. It starts in neighborhoods and cities, like this one, all over the world,” said Nicholas Shigekiyo from Campinas, Brazil, who invited the broadcast’s viewers to follow him to see the city’s temple.
“I love the temple because it reminds me that I am a beloved son of God, that my Heavenly Father has a plan for me, and that He trusts me to be a part of His great work,” he said.
Latter-day Saint youth also appeared in prerecorded video messages to share what they have done to overcome personal challenges during the pandemic and ideas on how to invite others to find hope through the Savior.
Keon Serrano, from Manila, Philippines, explained that when COVID-19 safety precautions limited in-person worship opportunities in his local meetinghouse, it affected his emotional well-being.
“If you ever feel down, if you struggle with depression or anxiety … [God] has given us Church leaders, family, friends, and professionals who can help you cope with your pain. And, most importantly, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ,” said Serrano.
“You have inspired us,” said Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, the Young Women general president in a message from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. “Our Heavenly Father has given you gifts and talents that are needed to bless others right now. Even during this pandemic, you have brought joy and light wherever you are.”
Brother Steven J. Lund, the Young Men general president, also shared his appreciation for the Church’s youth. “The events of this past year have been challenging and have changed the way many of us do our part in the Lord’s work, but they haven’t stopped or slowed the work down,” said Brother Lund. “All over the world, you are making a difference.”
At the event’s conclusion, President Nelson appeared in a prerecorded video with a message for youth and then played “Hope of Israel” on the piano. The closing hymn’s melody then transitioned into a final arrangement of Latter-day Saints accompanying the senior leader.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.