More Than Fifty Wellesley Choir Members Tour South Korea

March 31, 2015
The Wellesley College Choir performs in Seoul

In an inaugural trip, 53 members of the Wellesley College Choir traveled to Seoul, South Korea for their spring tour. During the landmark tour, the chorus gave four performances at a variety of venues.

The Wellesley College Choir has a long-lasting and storied tradition as an extraordinary chorus, attracting singers from all disciplines.  On average, the group performs eight programs a year on campus in addition to the annual concert tours which include both domestic and international travel. “Many students who join choir their first year will stay involved with the program all four years, giving them a chance to travel as well as collaborated with other superb choruses in collaborations on and off campus,” said Lisa Graham, the Evelyn Barry Director of the Choral Program and lecturer in music.

The 2015 tour to South Korea was a landmark occasion for many reasons. “... Not a single student had ever visited the country before, and it was the first Asian tour in the choir’s history,” Graham explained. “We had incredible audiences and many different types of concert experiences, including singing for the largest Presbyterian Church in the world–with an audience of around 7,000, performing three  joint concerts with a college choir, a youth chorus, and a community choir, and singing at an orphanage. We also performed at a girl's high school with an audience of 1400 extremely enthusiastic students.  I'm fairly certain the choir members have never before felt like such rock stars.”

The Wellesley Choir formed a special collaboration with the chorus of Ewha Women’s University, one of the College’s international sister schools, for a unique concert. “Prior to the trip,” said publicity manager Moira Johnston ’17, “we learned an arrangement of the beloved Korean folk song, Arirang, to perform with Ewha Chamber Choir. In turn, as a sort of musical exchange, they learned Alice Parker's arrangement of the American spiritual, Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal. We combined both choirs and sang both pieces for the finale of our joint concert, making for a truly remarkable and unforgettable experience.”

In between rehearsals and performances, the choir members toured the historical sites of the city, visiting a Korean Folk Village, engaging in an educational program at a local Buddhist Temple, visiting a palace, tasting local cuisine, shopping in the markets, and meeting up with several Wellesley alumnae.

“Going to Korea with the choir was one of the best experiences of my life and I feel so lucky that my involvement in this ensemble allowed me to take part in it,” said choir member Julia Regier ’18, who participates in the dedicated Choral Scholars program. “This sort of opportunity just would not exist at a lot of other schools, and I think it's wonderful that it does at Wellesley.”

On Tuesday, March 31st, the Choir will be performing at 4.30 p.m. in the Farroll Focus in the Science Center.

–Jocelyn Wong ’15 contributed to this story.