Sally Ann band triumphs as Eurovision pick
The Salvation Army is known for its Yuletide carolling but you wouldn’t normally associate it with the Eurovision Song Contest.
But Swiss TV viewers over the weekend chose a six-member group from the Sally Ann to represent Switzerland in the 2013 contest.
The Salvation Army Band was rated the best of nine finalists performing at the Bodensee Arena in Kreuzlingen in the canton of Thurgau on Saturday.
The performances were aired by Swiss Broadcasting Corporation channels in French, German and Italian.
The Salvation Army’s win was described as a “sensation” by the Tages Anzeiger newspaper, which noted the media attention the group had garnered before the final — although largely as a curiosity.
The two-woman, four-man band won the hearts of listeners with an English-language pop ballad entitled “You and Me”.
The band members, who were selected after auditions of hopefuls from within the Salvation Army, range in age from 20 to a 94-year-old pensioner playing the upright bass.
Despite their lack of experience, they prevailed over bands that had produced albums and given dozens of concerts.
And already the Salvation Army Band have become media stars.
Blick devoted coverage to one of the band’s guitarists and singers Christoph Jakob, 32, who celebrated the band’s Eurovision selection into the wee hours with his girlfriend Jessica, 23.
The pair are set to get married, the paper reported, while noting that the partying was celebrated with Coca-Cola, since alcohol is “taboo” for the Salvation Army.
The group's video (see below) has already received more than 200,000 hits on YouTube.
Eurovision, meanwhile, says that the band has already set a record for having the oldest performer in the history of the TV show, which has been running since 1956.
The Eurovision song contest next year will be held in Malmö, Sweden from May 14th to 18th.