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Children of many faiths unite in song, hope

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 16 2011 11:37 p.m. MST

The One Voice Children's Choir rehearses Tuesday for the annual Interfaith Musical Tribute in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

Jay Dortzbach, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — People of different faiths in our community are rehearsing for the annual Interfaith Musical Tribute in the Tabernacle on Temple Square this Sunday.

Members of a children's choir will open and close the evening with their idea of unity through song.

"We are all children of faith, united, hearts are the same," sing children, ages 4 to 16, as part of a new song, "Children of Faith."

With this song, the One Voice Children's Choir hopes to fill the Tabernacle with the sound of hope.

They follow in the footsteps of their predecessors in this group who performed for the 2002 Olympics opening and closing ceremonies and recorded for the Olympic CD.

The words of the song continue, "One purpose, one family," and they really believe what they sing.

Amelia Wyss, who is 7 years old, expressed her feelings this way: "We can put impressions on people that we're all Heavenly Father's children."

Nicholas Neel, 13, said, "If all the faiths would just work together, this world would be a lot easier to live in."

Singer/songwriter and recording artist Dean Kaelin, well-known as David Archuleta's voice coach, is directing the musical tribute. He said this group has a very special place in his heart.

"This is something that means a great deal to me. I was very, very touched when (LDS Church) President Gordon B. Hinckley mentioned years ago that we need to find more commonality in the religions and start learning about each other and helping each other," he said. "The children bring the innocence and the purity and the sincerity and hopefully that touches the adults and reminds us that that's how things should be and how things once were for us before we learned otherwise."

Some of the 120 members of the choir rehearsed in Kaelin's studio in Holladay. Most of them live in Salt Lake County, some in Utah County. Their parents and extended family are very supportive.

"I just love that I can sing with all my friends, family. It's just really fun and special to be in a really great choir," said 10-year-old Chaela Ravarino. Her friend Emily Youngquist echoes the sentiment. "We're all kind of like a family and work together. Sometimes you can't rely only on yourself," she said.

With a big smile and encouraging nod, their director, Masa Fukuda — who is also their composer, arranger and producer — leads them in the musical tribute closing song, "Let There Be Peace on Earth"

He said he is very proud of their dedication and the feeling they bring to their concerts. "They embrace everyone. They just want to go and share the message of peace and unity. I think it will have a very long-lasting effect."

Their sweet, earnest faces sing, "and let it begin with me."

The Interfaith Musical Tribute takes place Sunday, Feb. 20, at the Tabernacle on Temple Square at 6 p.m. It is free but you need a ticket, which can be obtained at interfaithroundtable.org.

e-mail: cmikita@desnews.com

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