The Southern Chorale, one of Southern Miss’ choruses, traveled to Jeju, South Korea, to participate in the Jeju International Choral Festival and Symposium Feb. 17 through Feb. 20.
Artistic director of JICF Hee-Churl Kim said on the JICF website that this event is about promoting peace and happiness through choral music by choirs all over the world.
Associate director of choral activities Jonathan Kilgore, Ph.D, said The Southern Chorale and Gregory Fuller,Ph.D, were honored to receive an invitation to be one of only five choirs from around the world and the only choir from the U.S. performing at the Jeju International Choir Festival & Symposium.
“We are so very proud of them as they are sharing their talents and are ambassadors for the School of Music, the university and our community and nation as a whole. It is a testament to the dedicated work of Dr. Fuller, who has given Southern Miss Choral Activities a true national and international reputation,” Kilgore said.
According to the School of Music website, The Southern Chorale is comprised primarily of upper-division voice majors and graduate students studying conducting, vocal performance and music education. However, it also includes some singers from other disciplines.
For Laurel Lukes, a sophomore English major and member of The Southern Chorale, the trip to Jeju for JICF was her first time to travel internationally with The Southern Chorale. She said she felt support from the other musicians performing for JICF.
“I was completely unprepared for the overwhelmingly positive responses from the people around us and the deep connections made through music. Coming into this experience, I would have never guessed how enthusiastically our colleagues from all over the world have continually supported us as a group. The community formed over the duration of the festival was something I will never forget and am thankful to have been a part of,” Lukes said.
The Southern Chorale spent a few days before the competition sightseeing and exploring Seoul, South Korea, before traveling to Jeju, an island that lies below the Korean Peninsula.
Dani Nash, a sophomore choral music education major and member of The Southern Chorale, joined the choir in South Korea for JICF.
“The Jeju International Choral Festival & Symposium has been one of the best experiences of my music career. Getting to meet and befriend musicians from countries all over the globe is a once-in-a-lifetime experience I am so thankful for,” Nash said.
The Southern Chorale returned from Jeju to Seoul for another performance at a church in Seoul before traveling back to Mississippi Feb. 23.
“I love my Southern Miss Choral Department for giving me the opportunity to represent America and USM here in South Korea,” Nash said.
To learn more about The Southern Chorale and Southern’s other choirs, visit usm.edu/choirs or facebook.com/southernmisschoralactivities.