I am a believer that music and the arts are universal languages. Whenever I travel, I am constantly struck with how music and arts are able to speak to the heart of the human being, regardless of what color, creed or country. Maybe God purposely designed it this way.
The New York Philharmonic (NYP) made history as it played for a packed audience in the East Pyongyang Grand Theater. The NYP is considered the first American cultural group to perform in the country. They were also the largest delegation from the United States to visit North Korea. The national anthems of both North Korea and the United States were played as the audience stood and withheld their applause until the end (incredible).
Lorin Maazel, the music director of the NYP said some interesting things. He alluded to the fact that the orchestra was a “force for change in the past” as he referred to its 1959 performance in the Soviet Union and how that allowed the outside world to come in which resulted to the end of Communism many years later.
When Maazel was asked if there are some parallels with this visit he said, “To draw a parallel would be to do a disservice to the people who live here and who are trying through their art and through their culture to reach out to other human beings, to make a better world for themselves and for all of us. We are very humbled. We are here to make music.”
And music they made.
This is the reason why we need to cultivate and raise up more artists in our church. Can you imagine one day some of the people in our churches will be able to “prepare the way” for the Gospel to be preached in some of the most difficult places around the world?
You can watch some CNN videos here.
You can look at some of the NYP pictures here
Here is a Associated Press video summarizing what happened at this historical event