In Switzerland, young people perform Laudato si ‘with music’

Theatrical show with all tickets sold out. This is an initiative of a group with a solidarity vision. In the Swiss canton of Valais, some young people have been able to combine their artistic talent with the general message of Pope Francis with the aim of raising awareness among all generations.

Adélaïde Patrignani – Vatican City

Pope Francis’ call for an integrated ecology has not left them indifferent. In the canton of Valais, southern Switzerland, where people grew up among mountaintops and vineyards, some young Catholics wanted to make Pope Francis’ message resonate through art.

Benjamin Bender and Guillaume Delez are 23 years old. The first is a professional actor and works with children and youth, the second has been studying philosophy and musicology at the University of Freiburg and has been composing on piano for about ten years. Thus, each of them put into practice their talents to give a certain shape to Praise yesthe circular on caring for our common home published in 2015.

The genesis of the show

The projects of these people began to take shape even before the coronavirus pandemic. In the Valais, many young Catholics turn to the DJP network (let me go first), (Whoever prays eats breakfast), who since 1997 offers a get-together, on Saturday mornings, to pray together and then have breakfast together. DJPs are located in the Diocese of Sion, and also include other events such as Open Sky Festivalwhich takes place every two years in Fully and gathers around 1,500 young Catholics for days of prayer, concerts and testimonies.

In the latest version of 2019, acting amateuR traced the life of the Blessed Pier Giorgio Frasati. The success of this performance prompted the planning of a new show for the upcoming edition of the festival, in 2021, namely in Laudato si’ year Pope Francis summoned them, and thus they also found the subject of the show …

“It was an incredible challenge,” admits Benjamin, who was actively involved in the project along with other young volunteers. “We had to produce art from a theoretical text, from a general message: all that remained was to confront the challenge concretely. Young authors went in search of those who put into practice Praise yes Every day: a monk from the Cistercian monastery at Hauterive, basket maker,’ characters from the show to all intents and purposes.

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Then the epidemic spoiled the project a little. 2021 edition of Open Sky Festival It was put off, but “this gave us more time to research what we wanted to communicate as a message,” Benjamin explains. The work of writing the play took the group a year and a half.

Over the months, the company has grown and now includes dozens of actors, extras, a youth choir from the city of Pramoa and volunteers: in total, more than thirty young people aged 16-22.

Evangelization through music

On the other hand, the group formed by smaller clouds – eight young men from Valais – but not lacking in dynamism and ambition. The members – each playing both traditional and modern instruments – met in the parish group, which holds mass once a month. Later they decided to establish throw – throw – throw, to preach in their own way. Guillaume sums up: “In our songs, we want to talk about our faith the way one might talk to people outside of faith.” In their first song, they wanted to talk about the environment. The young man carefully studied the Pope’s document and wrote the lyrics to the song based on what impressed him most.

And in this case, too, the epidemic modified the initially planned stages; But, whether it was Covid or not, the main obstacle was still “everyone’s agenda,” says Guillaume. Despite everything, the young people received “a lot of encouragement” about their project and this is a great incentive to persevere especially since they are already preparing “several songs”.

holiness way

There is nothing to boast about the artistic efforts of the Valais youth, but rather the desire to touch people’s hearts at a time when environmental and social challenges are knocking on the door of the quiet Swiss canton. While traditional values ​​are being abused, the church wants to set standards and open up bold horizons based on the gospel.

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“The Praise yes It’s not just good writing for the Pope: it’s an appeal to all of us,” Benjamin explains. This general message is a legacy. It is not enough that you read it, you have to put it into practice.” The mountains give life to many people, in Valais, but we are destroying them,” Benjamin worries. In the same way, it is necessary to reassess the fortunes of one who was the eldest to achieve a quiet sobriety,” says the young actor,” referring to an area where the bonds between generations, though still strong, tend to fray.

Benjamin insists on involving everyone in an integrated environment. He stresses that “young people are very observant, but we all have to commit ourselves,” noting also that “things are deteriorating a bit in the church and among adults…”. The deepening of this commitment is a sign of a true journey of faith: “It approaches the neighboring concept of holiness, which is caring for our neighbors, our relationships, our surroundings…”, he adds. . Holiness in the Neighborhood”, which the Pope talks about in the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate: This testimony is especially close to the heart of Florian, another young actor on the set.

musicians throw – throw – throw – Many of them, like Guillaume, also took part in Benjamin’s musical performance – they set themselves “three goals: to compose beautiful music, to carry the message of faith and the ability to help those who need it most with money.”

Produced works are currently broadcast on YouTube, but young people want to sell their music to raise money for associations. That’s why they created the label Dream siler musicthat includes the group throw – throw – throw And other musical projects directed by Guillaume, for this charitable purpose.

The prospects are planned

Finally, after months of patient and creative effort, the dreams began to come true. Last October the first title throw – throw – throwAnd the harmonywith a clip filmed in the green rocky landscape of the Rhone Valley, which alone speaks of the beauty of creation.

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Four girls, singers, violin, trombone, piano and a drummer: the group is unrefined, but the title portends the result: a true harmony that the group of musicians attest to with its liveliness and liveliness.

On the 12th and 13th of last April, La Coloc MC (“Common House Companion”) Benjamin and his team introduced him to a setting that is as atypical as it is symbolic when it comes to the integrated environment: a fruit warehouse near Reds, right in the middle of the orchards. The shop’s decor is simple and made from recycled or reclaimed materials. “We have anchored ourselves in a sustainable reality, and this also allows us to favor local realities,” Benjamin explains.

Over 250 spectators per show: a “really excited” audience, clearly impressed by these young people who are committed to the church and sensitive to current issues.

“We are not content with theater or making a show: it is really a human adventure,” continued the young actor from Valais, noting also that many of his peers have matured in the course of this project. “Everyone is ready to embark on the adventure again,” but at the moment there is no specific project.

Others will pick up the call Praise yes To put it into practice: In fact, after the second performance, an award was created Praise yes To support financially integrated environment projects in the region. Christian Thoreau, permanent deacon and ecology delegate for the Diocese of Sion, was awarded the first prize to a group intending to convert a 900 square meter plot of land into a sustainable planting area with a social project revolving around a loft. The second prize, the Encouragement Award, was awarded to the group… throw – throw – throw. The Church in Valais relies heavily on the creativity of young people to bring the message to life in a society that needs passionate and steadfast witnesses.

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