25,000 fill Gocheok Dome to attend Gracias concert

By Korea Herald

Largest culture performance audience record since Gocheok Dome‘s opening

  • Published : Jul 11, 2017 - 17:54
  • Updated : Jul 11, 2017 - 17:54
The 2017 Gracias Special Concert, a cultural festival, opened at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul at 7 p.m., Sunday, with a record 25,000 people in attendance.

Attendees included ambassadors, youth ministers, university presidents from 40 nations across the globe and 3,000 domestic and foreign youths.

The concert, presented by the International Youth Fellowship in celebration of the 2017 World Culture Camp, took place as a free performance for the people of Seoul and comprised various programs such as classic performances by world-class musicians and cultural dances of Africa, Europe and Asia. 

The performance attracted a total audience of 25,000, the highest number for a cultural performance at the Gocheok Sky Dome since its opening in September 2015.

Various world cultural dances such as Benin’s “La Lumiere,” the Philippines’ “Mindanao,” Finland’s “Aorinko,” China’s “HwagaeSeongsae” and the US’ “One More Time” were included. They were performed by the winners of the 2017 World Cultural Dance Festival held June 29th at the Chonbuk National University Cultural Center in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province.

The concert included performances by Paul Edmund Davies, the former lead flutist of the London Symphony Orchestra who has played for over 50 movie scores, including the “Harry Potter,” “Star Wars” and “Alien” franchises; pianist Mikhail Benediktov, first prize winner of the Rachmaninoff International Piano Concours; violinist Chingiz Osmanov, grand prize winner of the Jascha Heifetz International Violin Concours; and baritone Hyun-soo Choi, the baritone representative of Korea.

The Gracias Choir of Korea, top winners at the 2015 Germany Marktoberdorf International Choral Competition, performed various classic pieces of composers such as Chopin, Schubert, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. They also belted out favorites such as Puccini’s opera “Annie Laurie,” “La Cucaracha” and “I Shall Live in Cheongsan.” Boris Abalyan, chief conductor of Gracias Choir as well as Russia’s meritorious artist, held the baton.

Youth and Sports Minister of Zambia Moses Mawere delivered a speech at the event, saying, “I am glad to be attending a beautiful concert with the citizens of Seoul, a global city.” He added, “We are happy to be able to enjoy the performance because the citizens of Seoul welcome every nation and every continent warmly.”

“I founded the Gracias Choir to plant love and joy and put to sleep the rage, pain and agony in the hearts of youths through beautiful music,” Gracias Choir and IYF founder and pastor Park Ock-soo said. “Through the music of the Gracias Choir that changes hearts of people, I hope for everyone to have a happy and joyful evening.”

The Gracias Concert, held in celebration of the 2017 World Culture Camp, running July 2-13, will continue Wednesday and Thursday at the Daegu Athlete Promotion Center and Daejeon Expo Plaza, respectively. All concerts are free of charge.