Early in November, the Adventist community in Almaty, Kazakhstan, hosted it’s fifth annual Children and Youth Music Festival. Nearly 50 children from various cities in the South Kazakhstan Mission participated, ranging in age from preschool to adolescence.
The first day of the festival began with rehearsals and auditions, and concluded with a special worship service highlighting the famous German composer Johann Sebastian Bach and his emphasis on “Living by Faith.” This theme was chosen in the context of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The audience listened with interest to the life of the Protestant musician, who devoted his talent and effort to more than a thousand works dedicated to the Lord – the One who blessed him with a unique gift. The latin words "Soli Deo Gloria," translated “To God Alone, Glory,” adorned many of his scores. At the close of the service, many of Bach’s instrumental pieces were performed by church musicians and festival guests.
Lyudmila Pavelko, music director of the Southern Union Mission, and Svetlana Lumasodieva, Almaty Community Choir director, taught master voice and piano lessons throughout the festival. Children learned letter designations of notes, simple accompaniment to songs, and proper breath control when singing.
All of the participants took part in Sabbath morning services during the festival, and on Saturday evening a special program invited guests to see the glory of God through the beauty of His creation. Although nervous, the children performed well. They paid attention to their teacher’s instructions and delighted the audience with their music ministry.
Long before the festival began, hymn scores were sent to the junior and senior festival participants to learn for a mass children’s choir. Many children from smaller communities have no opportunity to sing in a church choir. The performance hall rang with excitement as they sang together.
At the conclusion of the music program, Vladimir Mikhailov, president of the South Kazakhstan Mission, addressed the guests. He spoke to the adults in the audience. He reminded them that they were once children, using their voices to glorify God, and today their children and grandchildren chose to praise and serve Him, too.
Participants received diplomas and recognition for their hard work, diligence, and desire to work for Christ.
The annual tradition of hosting a music festival provides children with an opportunity for spiritual and professional growth, surrounding them with an atmosphere of love and acceptance. And, if they discover their value in the church, they are more likely to stay in the church and become dedicated workers for Christ.