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Can you record a better World Youth Day song?

March 17, 2011
World Youth Day pilgrims are internationally-renowned for being polite. So it must have been in hushed tones that some expressed their dissent. Not to Pope Benedict, who generated enthusiastic responses at the Cologne and Sydney events in '05 and '08, respectively. Nor to the selection of this year's host city, sunny Madrid. But rather, displeasure with the the official hymn of World Youth Day.
Only the Spanish version of "Firmes en la Fe" has been released. Personally, when I first heard it, the cumbersome refrain didn't immediately resonate. Perhaps in time, the challenging chorus may prove to extend its shelf life, since instantly catchy pop tunes can become grating after too much repetition. Nevertheless, I wasn't alone -- organizers are admitting that the hymn hasn't been very popular, particularly in the host country.
Dissatisfied pilgrims now have an opportunity to write the World Youth Day hymn that could-have-been. A new competition, Tuned Into Madrid, allows the musically-inclined to submit their own songs. Users are then encouraged to vote for their favourites. Winning selections will be added to the WYD 'hymnal', meaning that they will be sung by the 1.5 million anticipated attendees of the global event.
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