Mormon Newsroom
News Release

Latter-day Saint Youth Share Testimonies and Talent in Global Youth Music Festival 2020

During the first-ever Youth Music Festival 2020, thousands of Latter-day Saint young men and women tuned in to watch their peers share their talents and testimonies of Jesus Christ in a worldwide broadcast.

“Everybody’s going through some really hard things right now, and we are responding by saying, ‘Hey, let's take some time and let's celebrate what’s good!’” said Brad Wilcox, second counselor of the Young Men general presidency of the Church. “‘Let's enjoy some good music together. Let’s come together from all over the world and feel the unity that exists among the youth of the church.’”

Because of COVID-19, limitations to worship services and gradual reintegration are slowly taking place across many parts of the world, yet restrictions of large gatherings and activities for Latter-day Saints continue around the globe including youth ages 11–18.

Under these circumstances Church leaders organized as part of the festival a prerecorded streamed virtual concert for, and comprised of, Latter-day Saint youth and their leaders to virtually unite this group.

The virtual concert was broadcast from the Conference Center Theater on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, and included youth representing more than 20 countries including Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“It's a 40-minute piece. We want it to be short and sweet but powerful,” said Bryce Anderson, an organizer of the Priesthood and Family Department sponsored event.

The theme of the Youth Music Festival, which aired Wednesday, July 29, 2020, was “Hear the Voice of the Lord” based on President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation during the April 2020 general conference, where he promised that those who hear Him will find “success, happiness and joy in this life.”

As youth seek to hear Him, they will be better equipped to then “go and do” (see 1 Nephi 3:7), which Book of Mormon scripture is the 2020 Youth theme.

"It's wonderful to see youth rally around the prophet’s invitation as they share their faith and talents through music,” said Anderson.

“In a world where uncertainty abounds, we can find hope and confidence when we look to our Savior, Jesus Christ,” said Ulisses Soares, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who was accompanied by his wife, Rosana, in their message to young Saints.

“As we focus on President Russel M. Nelson’s invitation to hear Him, we can trust that the Savior is near, that He listens, and trust that He can and will speak to us,” he said.

Thousands of the faith’s young men and women listened to leaders’ Christ-centered messages in 12 languages and tuned in to see musical numbers performed by their peers.

“Although we have this pandemic, it doesn’t limit what can happen in our lives and how we can reach out and help others in a pandemic situation,” said Bonnie H. Cordon, president of the Young Women general presidency. “What an opportunity to be able to gather together, to have an opportunity to hear the voice of the Lord, especially through music. It’s a very powerful way to have our spirits be lifted and taught.”

As part of the music festival, the youth who performed songs from the 2020 youth music album were featured in the prerecorded concert, newly created music videos and other prerecorded performances that will be released on YouTube.com/StrivetoBe.

Young Latter-day Saints also submitted messages via social media. Through homemade videos, they shared how they seek to hear God in their daily lives and submitted their thoughts as part of the worldwide festival.

After dedicating countless hours to rehearsals, 16-year-old Liahona Olayan and her 17-year-old brother, Ammon, originally from Oahu, Hawaii, performed three songs.

"We are youth, and we’re singing this for the youth. And I know there’s a lot of people out there that have hard times,” said Liahona.

“These songs have many messages, but our purpose as the youth and the theme for this album is to bring people closer to Christ,” she added.

The siblings shared that while growing up they learned how to play music and began using their talents in Church.

“It made me realize that music has way more like a way bigger message than we realized,” said Liahona.

Case Ritter, a 17-year-old from Orem, Utah, performed, “What Does He Think?” “That song explains how the most important thing we can think about or work towards is how the Lord thinks about us,” he said.

In addition to developing faith in Jesus Christ, the songs’ lyrics covered core messages that Ritter says may resonate with youth in his age group, including loneliness and finding peace and strength in deity.

“Nowadays, so many kids just feel like they’re alone They don’t feel like they have people. All you know is that God is always by your side,” Ritter added.

A music video featured a compilation of Latter-day Saint youth choirs from around the world as they sang the youth them song, “Go and Do.” The song was broadcast in various languages including Swahili and Maltese.

Steven J. Lund, president of the Young Men general presidency, and President Cordon also shared messages during the prerecorded broadcast.

“One powerful way we can hear the Lord’s voice is through music; it invites the spirit and tunes our heart to hear Him,” said President Cordon.

“President Nelson also promised we would see miracles in our relationships and daily work, and feel joy even during hard times,” said President Lund.

Yahosh Bonner, a member of the musically talented Bonner family, hosted the broadcast and sang “Peace in Christ” with his brother, Oba.

“I think this is the perfect time to share a message of having peace in Christ in turning to the Lord, and [that] through music … help [the youth] continue to stay spiritually minded and to keep their focus on what really matters,” said Yahosh.

The broadcast is available on demand at YouTube.com/StrivetoBe in the Gospel Library app’smusic collection and on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

A special playlist of music videos, performances and messages from youth and leaders that weren’t featured in the broadcast are also being released on YouTube.com/StrivetoBe.

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