On Tuesday, more than 200 Korean children will take the stage at Bell Auditorium as guests of Hillview Baptist Church in Graniteville.
The children’s choir is a ministry of the Far East Broadcasting Co. Children’s Choir, which performs concerts internationally as a ministry of the Far East Broadcasting Co.-Korea. The FEBC operates 11 Christian radio stations broadcasting in countries throughout Asia, including China, Russia, Japan and Korea.
“This year, (the children’s choir is) going to be coming to New York City and singing at Carnegie Hall,” said the Rev. Landon Williams, the pastor of Hillview. “When we found out they were coming, we wanted to have them come to Augusta.”
The choir, 500 members in all, ranging in age from 7-13, performs traditional Korean dances while wearing colorful costumes and singing familiar Christian songs. They typically tour in smaller teams and have given performances at churches, cultural centers, theme parks and universities around the United States.
Dr. Billy Kim, the chairman of the FEBC, will accompany them in Augusta. He’s been called the most influential Christian leader in South Korea, Williams said.
Kim was born into a poor family. Near the end of the Korean War, he was befriended by U.S. Sgt. Carl L. Powers, who arranged for Kim to study at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. There Kim earned a bachelor’s degree in Bible and a master’s degree in New Testament and Theology.
Kim went on to serve for 45 years as pastor of Central Baptist Church, one of the largest churches in Korea. From 2000-05, he was president of the Baptist World Alliance and founded the Suwon Central Christian Academy and the Capital Bible College and Seminary in Korea.
In 1973, he served as interpreter for Billy Graham at the 1973 Korean Crusade. In 1992, South Korean President Roh Tae Woo recognized him with the highest civilian award for radio broadcasting, honoring Kim’s efforts in improving Korea’s relationship with China and Russia, according to a news release.
Williams said Kim frequently highlights the relationship between the United States and South Korea in his speeches.
“It’s a pretty remarkable story,” Williams said.
The concert will begin at 7 p.m. It is free but is a ticketed event. Tickets are available through the James Brown Arena box office, or by calling Hillview Baptist Church at (803) 593-5125.