A Big and Beautiful Musical Vision

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It’s no secret. I love music a lot! And though my primary instrument from childhood has been the piano, I have long said that, in my opinion, the most beautiful and powerful instrument in the world is the human voice! While other instruments, masterfully played — whether a violin, a guitar, a soaring oboe, a floating French horn, or a dancing flute (to name a few) — have all given me goosebumps of delight, still, none of these has been able to touch me so deeply as vocal music.

Many times, a song, well-arranged and sung, has so inspired and filled me with love, joy, conviction, and gratitude that a bottomless fountain of positive emotion has sprung up and spilled over in happy tears. Beyond the heavenly beauty and emotion of instrumental music, vocal music empowered by the Holy Spirit — from solos to four-part choir arrangements — has the ability to communicate a message that can pierce the crusty outer layers of the human heart and fill it as almost nothing else can.

That’s why I get so excited whenever I think about our Khon Kaen Church Choir and Children’s Choir that Teacher Sinegugu has been conducting over the last couple of years at Peace Music Academy (PMA). We recently had our semi-annual voice recital, where our PMA Children’s Choir sang a heart-warming song by Point of Grace called “Circle of Friends.” The lyrics begin like this:

We were made to love and be loved
But the price this world demands will cost you far too much
I spent so many years just trying to fit in
Now I’ve found a place in this circle of friends

(Chorus) In a circle of friends, we have one Father
In a circle of friends, we share this prayer
That every orphaned soul will know
And all will enter in
To the shelter of this circle of friends.

As I sat listening to these pre-teen children, some of whom are not even Christians, singing in three-part harmony about the desire to have an ever-widening circle of friends that centers around “one Father,” I began to pray along with the song. I prayed that those precious kids would always find our God-centered church and school community to be that place of love, warmth and spiritual shelter. But how can that be?
For that to happen, we will need to have ongoing programs and leadership for these precious children. And sadly (for us), we have recently learned that Sinegugu will be leaving PMA to pursue higher education goals. We are happy for Sinegugu. But this begs the obvious question, “Who will keep the children’s choir going? Who will take it to the next level? It has taken a couple of years to bring this choir from simple unison performances to three-part harmony. But drop the baton, so to speak, and I’m afraid the choir will scatter, and it could take a couple of years to build another one. This has been the ongoing challenge of our PMA school. Great teachers have come, and great teachers have left, and the programs have unfortunately evaporated before a new teacher could arrive.

Of course, teachers who come for a year at a time are vastly better for us than those who never come at all. Yet, I still wonder and pray:

Who will at last come and serve for years, not just one or two, but four to six or 10? Who will come and patiently and persistently build the program to its full potential, not having to restart nearly from scratch every year? Surely, there’s someone in this big world of Yours, Lord, who has such a big and beautiful musical vision for Your children’s sake.

Right now, we are praying the same prayer for teachers of piano, violin, cello, guitar and other instruments. I have seen over the years that these lovely Thai children can learn so much, so fast, if they are consistently given the opportunity. Do you, dear reader, know anyone who might be the answer to my prayer? Please contact AFM if you do!

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