The Wiley College A Cappella Choir will share its gospel music tradition during performances in Japan.
The International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges, and Universities invited the choir to perform at its annual conference in Hiroshima, Japan, this week. The conference began Saturday and runs through Wednesday. The choir also is scheduled to perform concerts at two Tokyo elementary schools on Friday.
“Our students’ engagement in this unique outreach musical ministry and mission will sow the seeds for new friendships and bolster their appreciation and respect for a broader range of social and cultural ideas,” Wiley College President and CEO Dr. Haywood L. Strickland said, according to a college news release.
Twenty members of Wiley’s 100-voice A Cappella Choir will travel to Japan. The students have prepared for the trip by immersing themselves in activities to develop their knowledge of Japanese culture and language, according to the news release. They also have participated in daily rehearsals.
Although this is the choir’s first trip abroad, the students have traveled around the country, including holiday concerts at the White House in 2011 and 2013.
The choir also has performed with two Grammy award-winning acts: the ensemble Sounds of Blackness and artist Rita Coolidge, according to the news release.
“Our choir is delighted and humbled to have this rare opportunity to receive a global, real-world, faith-based educational experience,” choir choral director Stephen L. Hayes said, according to the news release.
Wiley College is a four-year, private, historically black, liberal arts college in Marshall. It is affiliated with The United Methodist Church and The UNCF and is one of the oldest predominantly black colleges west of the Mississippi River.