October 6, 2012
Bemidji, MN—The 2012 Christmas Cantata began the 2nd half of its Tour with a very special performance for the citizens of Bemidji, Minnesota. While not the typical place to hold a concert event like Christmas Cantata (Bemidji has a total population of about 13,500), Gracias Choir made it a priority to return to the Red Lake Reservation area near Bemidji to perform.
Within the simple Bemidji beauty and fresh air, an absolutely packed Bemidji High School auditorium enjoyed the beautiful music and Christmas spirit delivered in typical fashion by Gracias Choir, as well as the Gospel sermon message preached by Pastor Yeongkook Park. Over 1000 people were in attendance.
For IYF and Gracias Choir, the Bemidji performance was particularly meaningful. Red Lake reservation, perhaps best known for the infamous 2005 Red Lake massacre, has seen its youths suffer from severe depression and suicide in recent times. For the most part, Native Americans who have been reduced to the reservation life succumb to their thoughts, fall into isolation, and live in hopelessness. It was especially important for Gracias Choir to perform for these people and deliver a memorable evening that could hopefully open their eyes to a bright future.
Joining Red Lake Reservation residents from around Bemidji were first-time volunteers who showed a deep commitment to help make the 2012 Christmas Cantata a reality. Act 3 of the Cantata, along with the children’s dance, brought the most delight to the people watching. Most if not all stayed in their seats to listen to Pastor Yeongkook Park speak about the redemption of sins and proclaim the good news of Jesus’ righteousness.
Many of the audience members even lined up to do interviews to share their happiness on camera. But more so than showcasing top-shelf music or a bravado stage performance, Gracias Choir’s one wish was that the Bemidji audience would discover newfound hope and happiness through God. Judging from the expressions and enthusiasm of the 1000+ who turned out, I think it was a mission accomplished.
There aren’t many performances left. Check back very soon for continuing news and updates from the 2012 Christmas Cantata Tour. Gracias Choir will cross the border for its next stop: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.