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French LDS musicians organize classical music concerts

An international choir and orchestra numbering more than 100 participants and comprised almost entirely of LDS Church members performed three concerts July 10-12 in France.This year marked the second edition of the OPUS 26 Choir and Orchestra. In 2008 the organization had 83 people, including 25 orchestra musicians. But 2009 saw the undertaking grow to include a 40-person orchestra and 101 total participants from 10 countries."It was a wonderful event this year, considering the number of nations participating in this project," said event organizer Gerard Cadet. "The choir also considerably improved compared to last year."The project began when three French LDS musicians — Cadet, Olivier Seube and Christophe Seube — hatched the idea of gathering all available musicians and singers from French-speaking Europe for a week of playing classical, Baroque and chamber music that would culminate in several live performances. To that end they founded OPUS 26 in 2007; it's open to churchmembers and also nonmembers willing to accept church standards concerning the Word of Wisdom and general comportment."The target was to offer the church members and their nonmember friends the opportunity to play their instruments in an orchestra or sing in a choir that allows access to musical works… which they can't afford in their local units," Cadet said.But the scope of participants grew far beyond French-speaking Europe such that this year's contingent hailed from countries such as Italy, Spain, England, Thailand and the United States. Experience levels ranged from a 17-year-old musical student to several teachers in conservatories, and seven non-Latter-day Saints took part.

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This story is provided by the LDS Church News, an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is produced weekly by the Deseret News.