Crusader Choir & Orchestra perform in South Korea
“[The choir tour] is always the highlight of the year,” said Dr. Philip Miller. “I love seeing students experience God working in a different country and culture. Throughout their experience, the students’ view of God becomes so much bigger, and they develop a heart for the people.”
This year’s choir tour was no exception. The day after NNU’s 100th Commencement, the Crusader Choir & Orchestra (CCO) left for a two-week tour across South Korea. Led by Dr. Philip Miller, this group of 40 students performed 21 concerts with audiences ranging from 500 to 2,500 people. The performances were held at various universities, schools and churches.
“I realized the powerful and universal effect of music to bring people together...”“Although we did not share the same language, we were able to build bridges through our efforts to connect and through our music,” remarked Mikayla Walker, class of 2016. “One song we performed at almost every concert was “Oh Happy Day.” Gospel music is pretty popular in Korea, and the audiences loved that piece. Many of them began singing along, and I realized the powerful and universal effect of music to bring people together and, in a Christian setting, to praise God.”
In addition to music, this multifaceted trip included mission work and exposure to Korean culture. The group was able to visit a traditional village, don traditional garb, eat Korean food, and interact with the people there. Some students were even able to do “home stays” where they were hosted by a Korean family.
The group’s involvement with their audiences, host families, etc. leads to a unique opportunity. “In many places [Crusader Choir & Orchestra] was the first U.S. group to perform at their facility,” explained Miller. “We got to represent NNU, Americans and God, and, with this opportunity, we were able to break so many stereotypes.”
Mikayla added, “I was so impressed at how open and willing each member of CCO was throughout this trip. Each person was willing to interact, try the food, and put themselves out there, and we were richly rewarded. What we saw of South Korea was beautiful, and I am so thankful to have been able to go on this adventure.”
Next year, the Northwesterners will go on tour in China. While NNU’s ensembles will not be returning to South Korea, this year’s trip has fostered relationships that will serve as the foundation for NNU’s partnerships with the various churches and universities CCO visited.
photo credit: Stephen List