Musicians Performing at the Vatican See Music as a Calling

Singers Martin Valverde and Alex Campos Speak on Playing for Pope Francis During General Audience

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When one arrives in Heaven, God will not ask how many records one recorded but what one did for souls. This is the idea that moves the voice and music of singers Martin Valverde, a Catholic, and Alex Campos, an Evangelical. Both will perform on Wednesday afternoon in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall – during the 4thScholas Occurrentes International Congress. The concert, entitled “Being one in Jesus,” to them is under one same call and responds to something that the Holy Spirit is awakening.

ZENIT had the opportunity to talk with two of the artists during the rehearsals, hours before the concert. Martin and Alex have known one another for a long time, they tell us, and they were looking for an occasion to share the stage. They sought God’s time to do so. “Sometimes one wants to do something, but, because of Martin’s and my temperament, we wanted to do something fast, but we understood that it had to be in God’s time and, when this invitation arrived, I understood that that was God’s moment to join our voices and magnify one name, that of Jesus,” explained Alex.

And so it has been, in God’s time and in a special place, as is the Vatican. Although they are impressed by the place, Martin said: “we know that it is a project of many people, that music has that gift to lead it, to visualize and listen, so that people be able to see it, and that is our role.”

At today’s Audience, a whole group of artists will have the opportunity to take part, and the Pope will be welcomed with the singing of “Solo le Pido a Dios” (I only Ask God). Martin quoted a Psalm saying that when brothers come together, God sheds his blessing and “this is what we ask: that He shed it not only here.”

In connection with Christian unity they also pointed out the work being done by Pope Francis in this regard. Moreover, they reminded that “fanaticism is killing people, and someone must give an antidote to this and it’s up to us.”

Both Martin and Alex have responded to a very concrete call in their life: to evangelize through music. “In addition to being a call it is a privilege,” said Alex. To explain how he lives is, he remembered when he was little: “I come from a very humble and very poor family, and when Christmas came around my neighbors opened their gifts at midnight, and they showed off their bicycles, their T-shirts and sometimes I got angry seeing that, and I thought ‘I have nothing.’” But now – Alex explains – that I have “such a great gift as Jesus in my heart, as salvation is, I understand that they had to show off the gift their parents gave them.” That is why Alex can now say: “How can I not show off the greatest gift that is God’s salvation?” Evangelization goes far beyond people knowing Jesus’ name, it is about what Jesus’ name implies,” noted Alex.

For his part, Martin Valverde told us that he always jokes around, saying that this is not Operation Triumph, or the Grammys or American idol. “This is a call and God chose us; before we were born he wanted us to do this,” he explained. And it is, doing what we like. We are musicians and know for whom we do it, and see the fruits it bears.”

Martin reminded once again that “it is a total privilege,” adding that “to all those who read this in ZENIT I would say: do not be afraid, because fear brings ignorance. Jesus is a running river, not a pool.” Regarding their experience in Rome these days, Martin said: “I hope it will remain as inheritance to the next generation of musicians, as there must be no division when it comes to Jesus.”

Finally, both artists spoke of the fruits they hope for and how they would like it to be their contribution to this project. Martin said that the Holy Spirit is unpredictable; hence, so will be the fruits. What he does assert is that “the fruits are a ‘yes it can be done’,” and that “there are still very many people to whom the Gospel must be taken to, adding that “when we arrive up there we are not going to be asked how many records we recorded, but how we did our work and how we influenced souls and, hopefully, we’ll say ‘there they are, Lord, there they come, we are not very much in tune but there they all are coming behind.’”

One last request of the artists: “Pray for us, children of the Father, pray for us.”

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Rocío Lancho García

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