United Nations Choir to Perform in South Korea; First Time in 69 Years

David Lee, Feb. 3, 2016, 9:39 a.m.

A United Nations' choir will perform in South Korea for the first time since its foundation in 1947 and send a message for peace on the divided Korean Peninsula. The United Nations Singers' performances will take place in the truce village of Panmunjom, Seoul, Busan, Cheongju and Yeosu from June 4 through 14, the chorus said Tuesday.

Established through voluntary participation of U.N. employees, the U.N. chorus has been making a series of performances over the past decades in one or two countries every year. Composed of 46 members from 30 countries around the world, the choir is expected to perform for two hours each time, said a key official from the Korea Office of the East Asia Executive Committee of the U.N. Singers.

In 2012, the choir members visited Japan to console the victims of the tsunami that swept through the northeastern part of Japan. The singers later performed in China in 2015 to commemorate the U.N.'s 70th founding anniversary and the end of World War II.

Separate from the U.N. chorus, a combined performance group from South Korea, China and Japan will join the chorus's forthcoming Korean performance that is being held to pray for peace on the divided Korean Peninsula. Although there are no South Korean singers present in the chorus, some South Koreans will join the forthcoming events as special guests.

The official said the joint chorus will sing such Korean national folk songs as "Arirang," "Spring of Home" and "Our Hope is Unification." Seiho Shibata, chairman of the executive committee for the chorus, said that he expects the forthcoming performance will definitely deliver the importance of peace in South Korea and the world as South Korea is placed in a special situation of national division.

Another official also said the outdoor performance in Panmunjom carries special meaning as it will be held together with children, North Korean defectors and multicultural people. He added U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to visit South Korea on the occasion of the singers' Korean tour.

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