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.

Sally Ann band triumphs as Eurovision pick
Photo: SRF/Nikkol Rot

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.

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Travel in Switzerland: Geneva airport launches more Christmas flights

An increased number of flights will link the Swiss city with dozens of international destinations.

Travel in Switzerland: Geneva airport launches more Christmas flights
SWISS and EasyJet will fly to 70 destinations. Photo by AFP

Starting on December 19th, the timetable from Geneva’s Cointrin airport will be expanded to include 70 cities.

Most flights will be operated by EasyJet and SWISS.

The flagship airline will jet to 15 cities, including two new destinations — Marrakech in Morocco and Hurghada in Egypt.

EasyJet will fly to 40 cities in Europe. It will ensure nonstop flights to Spain, Portugal, France, and Greece, among other popular destinations.

It will also be possible to fly again to many regions of central and eastern Europe, where flights were discontinued or sharply reduced during the pandemic.

They include Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia, and Kosovo.

Before you book a flight, however, be aware of most recent regulations and restrictions that are in effect at your destination.

READ MORE: Covid-19: What you need to know if you are travelling abroad from Switzerland

Some countries require you to be tested for Covid-19 prior to arrival and present a negative result. Others have a compulsory quarantine.

Switzerland also requires arrivals from certain countries to self-quarantine for 10 days. 

Whether on arrival or return, quarantine means you won’t be able to go out or receive guests during the time mandated by the government — usually between 10 and 14 days.