Music during the Sunday morning session of the 191st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 4 amplified the global feel of the special Easter morning session.
Broadcast on television and radio stations in more than 70 countries — many for the first time — the conference session included speakers who represent the international Church. Also for one of the first times in a general session, musical numbers originated in locations around the world.
Worshipful music is an integral part of general conference. Songs of praise sung by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and other choirs help conferencegoers feel the Holy Ghost’s influence.
During the past three conferences, defined by the global COVID-19 pandemic, choirs have not been able to sing live or gather to prerecord music for general conference. This provided an opportunity to reuse music from previous years.
“Music is a language that we can all speak despite our varied circumstances,” said Katie Bastian, music manager for the Church. “It has the power to unify Saints through our shared faith in Jesus Christ, all while celebrating the need for our differences.”
How messages from afar and an international list of speakers underscored a global general conference
The first international choir was a group of men and women from Merida, Mexico. They sang “Redeemer of Israel” recorded in a chapel in Mexico in 2016.
Two other musical numbers broadcast Sunday morning originally aired in general women’s sessions of conference in 2014.
A children’s choir of 50 girls from South Korea sang “I Love To See the Temple” in native dress for the general women’s session on Sept. 27, 2014.
The final number originally aired March 29, 2014. The video featured a choir of women and children from around the world singing “I Am a Child of God” and included video of attendees from the Conference Center joining on the third verse.
“This is a worldwide church, but it is easy to feel disconnected because of language barriers and cultural differences,” Bastian said. “Because of technology, opportunities to worship together through music are increasing.”