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Reaching Hungarians in Cleveland

The NAD’s Hungarian advisory ministries organize concert and prophecy seminar, for local Hungarian community, programming goes viral internationally.

Dr. Marius E. Marton

Conductor Marius E. Marton who wrote and arranged music for a Christian concert for Hungarians in Ohio and beyond, leads a 32-member chamber orchestra in October 2021. Screenshot from concert stream

The North American Division Hungarian advisory ministries committee in Cleveland, Ohio, prayed for divine inspiration to best reach the Hungarian community for Jesus. The committee was inspired to put on a concert in October 2021 to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Hungarian freedom fight and revolution* — and to use the opportunity to invite the large, local Hungarian population to the prophecy seminar scheduled to begin one week after the concert.

The concert title, “The Sound of Freedom:  65th Anniversary Concert Remembering the Hungarian 1956 Freedom Fight and Revolution From a Christian Perspective,” was an important element to draw an audience. Hungary is a secular nation with few Christians by name and even fewer attending church regularly, and thus, reaching this group for Jesus in the division territory was a priority.

The task was easy to accomplish because Marius E. Marton, the coordinator of the Hungarian Advisory, is also a professional musician. To avoid legal issues with copyright permissions, composer Marton wrote all the music for the occasion and arranged for a 32-member professional chamber orchestra. The musicians were local hire from the American Federation of Musicians. Marton invited three very accomplished Adventist soloists to perform with the orchestra: baritone opera singer Levente Meszaros, Greta Pasztor in piano performance, and 16-year-old prodigy violinist Gwyneth Gherzan.

Marton conducted the orchestra himself in this epic performance. Marton’s wife, Marika, was the Hungarian emcee, and Gherzan’s father, Chris, translated into English. All interludes were Bible-based invitations and encouragements pointing the listeners to Jesus, just as all music, vocal and instrumental was sacred music with sacred titles.

The director of the secular Hungarian podcast station joined in the venture and advertised the concert heavily on the radio, on the podcast, and at different events around the Cleveland area. He sold tickets, acquired the hall rental for the event. He also recorded the concert for free.

About 200 people came out on a cold rainy night. In spite of COVID-19 restrictions and concerns, it was a great success. The concert was also livestreamed on Facebook.

Gwyneth Gherzan

Screenshot of violinist Gwyneth Gherzan, taken during the stream of an October 2021 concert commemorating the 65th anniversary of the Hungarian freedom fight and revolution.

On the following day, a famous Hungarian composer, Schobert Tamas, gave a live critique to the listeners of the secular radio podcast. He raved on the success of the concert pieces, the arrangements, the soloists, and the conductor for such a high-level performance. Because of that positive critique the concert went viral, both in Hungary and among the Hungarian community in Cleveland.

One person came to the live prophecy seminar a week after the concert, but hundreds were watching it live on YouTube and Facebook. “God blessed, and mission was accomplished,” said Minner Labrador, NAD Multilingual Ministries vice president. “God used Marton’s musical talents for this purpose and now we are winning their confidence. Through word and music, we introduce Jesus to a secular society!”

Today, the Hungarian community is reaching out to Marton, to write new music for different events and conduct choirs and ensembles for the community. And people from different denominations expressed their desire to partake in the next concert of this composer/conductor.

The Adventist fellowship is not only known in a positive way in the Hungarian community, but it is active with positive influence just as Jesus mingled with the people and attended to their needs to win their confidence.

* The Hungarian Revolution broke out on October 23, 1956, in Budapest. It was also a war for peace and freedom — and a very bloody revolution. Today, it is a national holiday remembering the freedom fighters.