For the past ten years, the Gold Coast Australia Stake Choir has been a feature of Anzac Day ceremonies on the Gold Coast. In appreciation of service by the choir, RSL leaders presented the choir with a Certificate of Appreciation and said, “The Gold Coast Stake Choir had helped to make what the Anzac Day Celebration is today.”
The events, held at the Mudgeeraba War Memorial on Queensland’s Gold Coast, have been a thrilling experience for choir members and those in the community who have attended the sunset ceremonies each year.
Members of the Church have great respect for those who have served their country in various theatres of war around the world over the decades. Church members believe that defence of sovereign nations is an important duty of Church members who live within them.
Choir Director, Gayle Hampson, said, “Honouring those who have fallen in war through the use of our voices has have been amongst the most spiritual experiences of my life.”
Gold Coast stake president, Dean Reid, added, “We feel it a great privilege to have been invited to participate in this sacred service. We believe that part of being true Christians is to reverence our country and those who fought for its freedom. Contributing in a service such as this is a great way to join with others in the Mudgeeraba community in showing our appreciation and admiration.”
The Choir has also been asked to perform again at the local Mudgeeraba Show on the stage on 29th June as has occurred in previous years. This request was a direct result of a local government councillor attending the Anzac Sunset Performance and asking that the show secretary contact the choir.
Members of the choir include Ben Gilgen, a member of the stake high council, and Alec Willis, the stake music chairman. The choir regularly features solo performances by Lucy Mathiseson and Ralph Hannant, father of Mormon NRL footballer and State of Origin team member, Ben Hannant.
Gold Coast Stake Choir member, Jill Liibus said, “It is such a privilege to perform at the ANZAC Day celebration each year, to serve our community and to represent our Church and God on such an important occasion.”
During the most recent Anzac ceremony, President Reid said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not call on members to be excluded from military service on religious grounds.
“We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allowing all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may,” he said. “We also believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honouring, and sustaining the law. We are grateful and proud to know that our youth, our rising generation, treat Anzac Day with such reverence”.
Some of the members of the Gold Coast choir are themselves returned veterans, while a number of others have seen relatives and family offer their service, in military actions.