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Gracias Christmas Concert: Choir to perform at Red Lake Nation College

When the Gracias Christmas Cantata is heard in Red Lake in October, the message will be one of healing and love, said the Rev. Young Park of the Good News Church.

He and his volunteers - 14 in all - will bring the concert to the Red Lake Nation College at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, to coincide with similar concerts being held throughout the United States and Winnipeg, Manitoba. The concert is free to the public Red Lake Nation College is located at 23750 State Highway 1 E. in Red Lake.

The concerts are sponsored by the International Youth Fellowship and the Mahanaim School in Manhattan which teaches theology, music and English as a Second Language. The Cyber-College has an enrollment of more than 4,000 theology students from all over the world. Volunteers venture forth to a region to establish a place and time for the free evangelical concert that speaks of love and forgiveness.

Park is the head of the group, which will bring the concert of 60 singers and 25 musicians to the area. Presently, he is seeking volunteers for set-up at the college where the concert will be held in the gymnasium and he is still seeking to find housing for the incoming group.

When asked why Red Lake was chosen, Park said, "We would like to bring the concert to those who would not be able to pay for a Broadway type show. Music changes people; it brings hope, joy, warmth and pleasure. We believe that a lot of problems come from closed hearts, and poverty is not a cause of problems."

He and his team are actively involved in getting financial as well as volunteer support from the surrounding communities: White Earth, Cass Lake, Leech Lake Tribal College, Redby Community Church, Indian American Resource Center, International Student Organization and the Student Center of Bemidji State University.

"We are a humble group and feel that we are serving the community. We express a joy in singing and music that touches people's hearts," said Park. "We rely on God to make that happen. We trust that He will give us what we need."

Park's group was offered shelter at Calvary Lutheran Church in Bemidji. They spend their days meeting people and visiting businesses. Two of his helpers are college students; a young woman is from Thailand who is studying Chinese and the other, a young man from South Korea who is studying electrical engineering. Both are taking a year off from their studies in support of the evangelical out reach of Good News (Assembly of God) in the world.

Some of the pieces will be sung in English, Korean and German and are also traditional English carols like "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "Deck the Halls" to selections from Handel's "Messiah" including the Hallelujah Chorus.