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Gracias Music Concert and the Closing Ceremony in Seoul Plaza (July 20, 2011)

2 weeks long World Camp, held in its hometown Korea, closes its curtain on 15th (Fri.) with the open music concert in Seoul Plaza at 7 pm. The participants, who have been separated to all over the country for the homestay, gathered again in Seoul for the last day (15th) and attended 2011 IYF World Camp closing ceremony and Music Concert celebrating the IYF’s 10th anniversary. The participants have been listening to the Gracias Choir throughout the camp so this music concert comforted them with their memories together to meet the last day.

The open music concert was more meaningful because it was held in the center of Seoul for not only the participants but also the residents of the city. The international Righteous Stars, with its members from various ethnicities, opened its first stage with their vibrant dances, and gorgeous performances by Ukraine, Africa, and China continued to lighten the event. Also Thailand’s popular celebrity, Pancake, congratulated the event with her performance on the stage.

For the main stage, the Gracias Choir presented the best music with world-class musicians from Korea and Russia. Music by world-best conductor Boris Abalyan, Oboist Victor Hussu, Violinist Osmanov Chingiz, Cellist Dmitry Eremin, Pianist Igor Lebedev was so beautiful for the audience to hope to pause time and keep listening to it. Not only that, Korea’s world best Baritone Chio Hyun Soo, Tenor Woo Tae Jik, Soprano Park Jin Young and Choi Hye Mi sang unforgettable songs for the audiences. Especially on the last stage, Choi Hye Mi’s lovely yet appealing voice brought the audience to tears of longing with “Time to Say Goodbye.”

Gracias Choir’s music swept through the grey, desolate forest of buildings and resonated in the hearts of participants and the residents of Seoul city. Once again, we could feel that the secret of being the best choir with the grand prize from 2009 Jeju International Choir Concert and 2010 Busan International Choir Concert was not their fabulous skills but their joy and excitement to sing for the audiences.

For the last part of the music concert, Pastor Ock Soo Park, who gave mind lectures to the participants during the world camp, came up to the stage and gave a message to the participants and the residents of Seoul. “God made the heart of man to spring forth an amazing power when it accepts the words of God. A student named Choi Yo Han, he was almost dying in Liberia when he was stung by a scorpion, but the words strengthened his heart. Even though the blind man from John chapter 9 didn’t do anything when the word entered into his heart, an amazing work took place. When you cannot defeat temptation or difficulty without any strength, if you only look for God and the word of God comes inside of your heart, then an amazing strength will arise. I’d like to thank all of you for this evening. You all look so great, having managed to stay seated on the wet earth for hours. I really hope that the word will lead your heart that you will make a beautiful world with hope and happiness.”

With the closing ceremony, two weeks of IYF World Camp journey ended. 3500 college students from all over the world will now return back hope with the best, unforgettable present in their hearts. That is, the bright and healthy mind they gained as they listen to the word of God and learn about the world of heart.

When God made mankind, he made the heart that we feel emotion when we see beautiful flowers. So when we accept the word of God into our heart, a new strength arises. As many students learned the world of heart and communicated with open minds, they gradually gained a new heart and reached their goal, “Bring Change.” With their new hearts, we believe that those students who attended the world camp will overcome burdens and challenge their limits to become a tomorrow’s leader with strong heart.

<Attendee Interview>

“Pastor Ock Soo Park’s message from the concert remains in my heart. He said that the person who was about to die from a scorpion was able to gain his life not by his own strength but from the word of God. In my case, I face a lot of difficulties I cannot handle with my own strength as I work, so I thought if the word enters into my heart I will be able to gain powerful strength to over all the difficulties. It was raining a lot during the performance, but it was not a problem. Because it is such an unusual event, I wanted to stay even in the rain.” (Jang Sung Won from Youngdeungpo, Seoul)

“I was attending the World Camp but had to go back home on Sunday for work. I came here today because I live near here. It was bit hard due to the rains, but it was more impressive than any other performances. Especially when I saw my classmates staying till the end of the event regardless of the rain, I was so thankful. I am actually going to say hello to my classmates.” (Lee Sun Jung from Yangchun, Seoul)

“I got off from work a little early so I came to Seoul plaza and waited for a few hours. I was also worried that if there could be the concert because it was raining. It rained a little bit, but the performance and music were so beautiful that wet clothes and slushy grounds couldn’t be a problem. The most impressive stage was Turandot, Nessun Dorma by Tenor Woo Tae Jik and Soprano Park Jin Young. When the tenor was singing the guy solo, my husband was miming along. It was great time to enjoy wonderful music and to see the love within family.” (Jung Mi Sun from Sungbook, Seoul)

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