To share Jesus in front of a live audience of almost 2,000 people, plus a national radio and TV audience is every evangelist’s dream. The evangelist in this case is the Croatian Gospel ensemble, Agape; the venue, the Vatroslav Lisinski grand hall in Zagreb. The anniversary concert attracted even higher viewing figures as the celebration was aired on Easter Sunday, 1 April.
Agape, who this year mark their 35th year of humanitarian and musical activity, was accompanied by the Croatian National Television Jazz orchestra under the helm of the country’s most renowned conductor, Zdravko Sljivac. They were joined by a variety of significant guest performers including several famous Croatian singers and the international award-winning girls’ choir Zvjezdice.
The combination of gospel music mixed with such varied talent sold out the venue beforehand, attracting many professional and amateur musicians and singers, as well as individuals from media and cultural circles. They were full of praise for the program, the performance and the energy exhibited by the performers. Many also expressed that they felt a deeper spiritual dimension, making it an event to remember for years to come. This spirit was epitomized by the audience's reaction during Agape's performance of Handel’s ‘Hallelujah chorus’, with the crowd up on their feet, clapping in elation whilst seeking an encore.
During the anniversary concert, Agape members also spoke about their activities over the past thirty-five years as well as the Adventist church they belong to as an integral part of their lives. In promoting the concert, Croatian national television was also very open in sharing that all members of the ensemble are Adventists.
Support came from friends and followers, some of whom travelled great distances to be there, including from neighboring countries as well as other European countries. The entire Marusevec Adventist high-school attended the concert and were joined by the Catholic church choir from Marusevec, headed by the local priest, and the mayor of Marusevec Municipality. With the school very highly regarded in the local community, many of the students are not church members. The former president of the Republic of Croatia, Ivo Josipovic, and the Zagreb city mayor also enjoyed the event. This added to the opportunity for sharing a positive message and expanding friendships beyond church walls.
Even performers expressed their appreciation, including members of Zvjezdice who bought extra tickets for their families. Members of the Croatian National Television Jazz orchestra also shared their very positive impressions.
Agape have become music ambassadors of the Adventist Church in the media and wider society. It is their committed community spirit and witness over the years that has led to the positive media attention that has enabled them to build connections with some of Croatia’s most famous musicians. It has also helped form strong bridges both within media and the general population.
While Croatian national television broadcast the concert on Easter Sunday, 1 April it intends to rebroadcast it again over the next few years. This would follow in the path of Agape’s last concert at the same concert hall 10 years ago. According to Croatian national television, that concert was the most replayed concert ever on their TV channels. Over the years, Agape have taken part in numerous TV shows and program. In 2013 they participated in the popular TV show, Last choir standing, reaching the final stages of the competition. During the show, Agape was openly introduced as an Adventist ensemble.
Agape members are thankful to God for the opportunity to reach out to others using their God given musical talents, perseverance and dedication. That gratitude extends to all those who have supported them through prayer and other means, the television and radio audiences, refreshed by the music and messages received, and the countless individuals which have been drawn closer to God as a result of their work.
This article originally appeared on the Trans-European Division website