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Asia 2000 Tour
Calvin College Alumni Choir Tour Diary

Text by Darlene Kortenhoeven Meyering '69
Photos by Susan Lemmen Byker '71

 
 

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PHILIPPINES
August 5-10

Images from the Philippines
Click to see images from the Philippines.

Arrived in Manila and were greeted by Pearl’s mother, sister and niece. Bussed through the Manila traffic to The Bay View Hotel across from the American Embassy on Manila Bay—our home for five nights. Time to settle in and do some wash!

A really busy Sunday! Sang in a worship service at the Union Church of Manila (English) and fellowship with their choir, then on to another service at the United Evangelical Church of the Philippines (Chinese). Arrived in time to sing in the communion service. Taking communion was quite moving. As the pastor said "this is the body of Christ broken for you" the congregation cracked the wafers—an unforgettable sound.

Manila concert at the Philamlife Auditorium for 750. Rehearsed with the friendship choir—our most highly trained and musically sophisticated one. Joel Navarro, a local conductor partnered with Pearl and prepared the Friendship Choir. The choir wore native Filipino dress that added many colors to our rainbow. Presented gifts to Pearl’s family whom so generously sponsored us. "Many Colors" was "signed" by hearing-impaired children from a Christian school for the deaf founded by Pearl’s late father. The days just keep getting better.

Toured sites in Manila today and then enjoyed a huge banquet hosted by Pearl’s family—a roasted calf on a spit and ten Chinese dishes! Then we served as a demonstration choir for Pearl in a conducting workshop. Roy Hopp and Emily Brink led other workshops too.

Tuesday: Our busiest day. Sang for music students at the University of the Philippines. Then went to the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music where we enjoyed an exchange with talented students from several Asian countries performing on native instruments and singing worship songs in their own languages and cultural idioms. We were transfixed!

On to Grace Christian School—a large Chinese school—to sing a chapel service for 400 high schoolers. The sanctuary was hot and fans were going at full blast—our toughest audience yet!

A brief foray to the Chinese Cemetery—a "city for the dead" with two story mausoleums individually designed like homes—some even have yards, pets and caretakers! Fascinating! Then, back to the United Evangelical Church for another evening of choral, composition, and worship workshops. What a Calvinist work ethic!

Wednesday: We drove to Cainta Rizal for a chapel service at Faith Academy. This boarding school for missionary children is a terrific, Calvin-friendly school. We loved it.

Great! Time for a shopping stop at a large Filipino Handicraft Market. We helped the Manila economy today! We boarded the bus again with bags full.

Dinner tonight hosted at the home of Col. & Mrs. Gudani (Philippine Marine Corp) who are members of Bread from Heaven Christian Fellowship—a CRC congregation. Wonderful fellowship and then an evening concert at Bread from Heaven—our only concert in a CRC in Asia. What a joy to be with these sisters and brothers in the faith.

TAIWAN
August 10-13

Images from Taiwan
Click to see images from Taiwan.

Travel day to Taipei, Taiwan. Mr. Dick Wang of ORTV (Overseas Radio and Television) met us at the hotel to help with check in—another gift! No one at the desk spoke English! We gratefully head for bed.

CRCWM missionary Mark Knoper was at the hotel by 7 a.m. to greet us. Mark worked closely with ORTV staff to plan our three days in Taiwan. Another saint!

A wonderful day of sightseeing and a lunch at the posh American Club hosted by ORTV. What gracious people have been put before us at each venue. Our hearts overflow with gratitude. End the day at the Chinese Handicraft Market—three floors of fabulous shopping!

A free morning and needed rest with an institutional Chinese lunch at the hotel—we are all really good at using chopsticks now! On to Grace Baptist Church to present a choral workshop for over 200. Pearl used us as a demo choir with an English-to-Chinese translator—a fascinating experience. Hurray! More time for shopping in the interesting alleys around the church before our concert tonight. We need larger suitcases now!

Concert at Grace Baptist—one of our best. Wonderful acoustics with a receptive and musically sensitive audience. They loved our Chinese folksong. We presented gifts to Simon Hung and the ORTV staff as well as to the Chinese Church Music Association—another amazing day.

Last day: Led the worship service at the Taipei International Church. Rev. Mike Osment and church members hosted us in a potluck dinner.

Then a quick trip to the hotel to pack for our departure and final concert. On to the Minsheng Community Hall—a large hall controlled by the government. Mark Knoper and a small Reformed (Er Cun Church) congregation worked and prayed for this event. Not only did the government allow us to perform (the first non-Taiwanese group in 40 years!) they also "sponsored" us. With the help of church members, government funds and "in kind" support, they covered hall rental, printed Chinese programs, placed ads in the community, and allowed the church to host a tea afterwards so the guests and choir could "speak English" together.

Drove to the Navy Restaurant to host our Taipei friends in a celebration banquet. Leaders of the Chinese Church Music Association, Grace Baptist Church staff, Er Cun Church, Mark and Ruth Knoper and ORTV staff celebrated, ate and praised God for many wonderful blessings.

Off to the airport for 23 hours of travel. Arrived home at 10:30 a.m. Monday, August 14, to be greeted by a huge contingent of welcoming friends and family—a joyful reunion for all. Our hearts are full to overflowing!

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