Austria’s elaborate concert halls, famous opera houses and stunning cathedrals readily attract tourists from around the world. However, despite its rich musical, cultural and church history, the country today “feels spiritually empty,” according to Operation World. Though 84 per cent of the population believe in God, very few people have a living relationship with Jesus.
Violinist Rachel Olney, who lives in Austria and serves with OM’s arts and culture team there, has partnered with local musicians to develop a concert to bring the greatest story ever told to life through music.
Incorporating a variety of musical genres including bossa nova, Viennese song, gospel, ballads, Latin, and film music, the concert is designed to entertain multigenerational audiences and to engage both Jesus followers and those who have do not yet follow Him. The title ‘neust.ART’, which can be translated as ‘new start’, hints at the transformational message proclaimed throughout the programme. The audience is invited on a musical journey, as the greatest love story of all is told in three acts: start, false start and new start.
Rachel and other talented musicians debuted the neust.Art concert last May in Vienna, continuing with additional performances in January and October in other Austrian provinces. After the first concert, a non-Christian woman commented on their rendition of ‘Praise to the Lord, the Almighty’ saying: “I know that song, but the way you played it was real music!”
Because of your partnership, Rachel received an OM Inspiro Arts “Alliance Grant” this year. Thanks to your generosity, she is now refining elements of the concert to help it flow better for future performances. Each concert will provide an opportunity for believers to invite their non-Christian friends and sow the seed of the gospel broadly, reaching those who do not yet know the Lord.
The listeners in October loved the dynamic and poignant Hebrew setting of Psalm 150, a fresh addition to the program. Over post-concert refreshments, an older Christian audience member and a not-yet-believer discussed the theme of life after death, raised during the concert. When the girl read out a random Bible verse from a New Testament, she was astonished to find the exact topics of their conversation addressed in this verse! In another town, the event rekindled one seeker’s interest in Jesus and in being connected with the local Bible-believing church.