LUCERNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Dozens of Ukrainian refugees from choirs around Switzerland converged in the city of Lucerne on Saturday near a global summit to sing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy", a choral work they say embodies their hopes for peace and freedom.

The singers gathered in a public square in Lucerne close to the mountaintop resort of Buergenstock where dozens of world leaders were meeting to try to build support for Ukraine's peace proposals.

Among the singers were around 50 Ukrainian refugees, some wearing embroidered national dress and crowns of flowers, from five different choirs from around Switzerland. The country has accepted over 65,000 Ukrainian refugees since Russia's invasion in February 2022.

The rousing lyrics to "Ode to Joy" are by German poet Friedrich Schiller and laud the values of unity, hope and solidarity. "Ode to Joy" is also the anthem for the European Union to which Ukraine hopes to accede.

"It's about freedom. I haven't learned German but I feel a lot of power and freedom and joy," Anna Haidash, a refugee from Odesa, told Reuters. "When you see all these people you feel you are not alone in this situation and in this song too."

The choir, accompanied by a small orchestra, was surrounded by crowds of tourists next to Lucerne's famous wooden Chapel Bridge and pro-Ukrainian protesters, some of whom joined in as they later sang the national anthem.

"They want to appeal to the world with Beethoven's great music and reaffirm their wish of peace and freedom for their battered country on its way to Europe," event organiser Daniela Majer said.

The melody has been used in the past as a protest anthem to celebrate resistance to oppression, for example during the Tiananmen Square protests in China and to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

(Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Frances Kerry)

By Emma Farge and Clotaire Achi