Photo Courtesy of the Trans-European Division
United Kingdom | Paul Lockham

The “Vision” Music Contest, organized by the Trans-European Division’s Youth Ministries department, provided an opportunity for youth around the division to start the new year in an atmosphere of joy, celebration, togetherness, and hope. The program was broadcast live on New Year’s Eve on both the TED YouTube channel and the Youth Ministries Facebook page.

The program started with a lively rendition of “Mary, did you know?” by ACT-J from Scotland, one of the fifteen countries that participated in the contest.

Despite a slight glitch with the YouTube channel at the start of the broadcast, the audience rapidly grew to over 400 across the two platforms. Although the audience was expected to mainly come from the participating countries, there were visitors from Brazil, Mexico, Germany, and Chile, to name a few. 

The host for the evening, Pastor Dejan Stojković, British Union Conference Youth Ministries director, introduced each of the songs and entertained the audience throughout the program, sharing a few facts about each of the countries.

The audience was also reminded of how to vote for their favorite songs using the platform, and chats on both platforms enabled participants to post New Year’s greetings, give thanks for the songs presented, encourage others to vote for a particular favorite, and cheer the submissions.

The fifteen entries were varied, and three of them had been written specifically for the contest: “Lift me up” by Leo Lammi from Finland, “Here in Norway” by Natanya Lundstrom from Norway, and ‘I Surrender All” by Leandra van Ommeren from the Netherlands. It was evident from comments in the chat that these three songs appealed to the audience in a special way. However, other entries were very much appreciated, as evidenced by the following comment from one of the chats: “Every song and country has its own charm.” Just looking at the list of entries and listening to the music from these different countries makes it clear that the youth of the Division is “talenTED”!

The official “jury results” were declared country by country, which, when tallied, placed Finland as the winner, followed by Norway and England.

The climax in the program came when the audience members were given their last opportunity to vote while a short clip from each country was played, followed by a “spoken word” rendition by Scotsman Andrew Ace Bamusi, after which the host was able to give the results of the audience vote, with similar results to the jury’s vote, with the first three songs being from Finland, Norway, and Serbia.

Comments in the chat towards the end of the evening summed up how the majority felt about the New Year’s Eve music party: “What a nice way to spend the last hours of the year 2020”; “It was wonderful to hear the love of God shared in so many languages”; “Thank you so much, everyone, hope we do this again next year”; “Great to hear such diverse music and talent from across Europe! Also, wonderful to spend this time with all of you!!”

The program was brought to a close with a New Year blessing given by the youth ministries directors from around the division.

“One of our goals for the event was to promote the international, multi-cultural appreciation and feeling that we are together in these strange times and to bring joy and hope both to those participating and those watching,” explained Zlatko Musija, TED Youth Ministries director. “Having in mind these purposes, I think that the event was quite successful. I believe it united the youth department leaders from all across our Division and brought some joy and positive outlook in these challenging times,” Musija concluded.

At the time of writing, the program had about 5,000 views and is still available on YouTube. If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch the program, you can watch it below and see just how talented the youth across the Division are.

This article was originally published on the Trans-European Division’s news site