On July 14, the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir ended its first tour of concerts in South Korea, where it performed in six cities: Seoul, Daejon, Gwangju, Busan and Daegu.
The Korean Episcopal Conference invited the Pontifical Choir in the framework of the commemoration of the third anniversary of Pope Francis’ visit to South Korea, from August 13-18, 2014.
They began the tour in the Cathedral of Myeongdong, in Seoul, where the Pope prayed for peace and reconciliation in the Korean Peninsula. The Cardinal Archbishop of Seoul, Monsignor Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, observed that it was significant that the Choir’s first performance was in that Cathedral.
“I want the public to feel the love and peace of God though the heavenly voices of the choir,” said the Korean cardinal.
The choir sang an ample repertoire, which included Gregorian chant, polyphony of the Renaissance and Baroque period, with composers such as Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Orlando di Lasso, Gregorio Allegri and Lorenzo Perosi.
The tour of the Choir, under the direction of Salesian Maestro, Monsignor Massimo Palombella, included the participation of just over 50 singers between adults and children’s voices in different auditoriums and churches in which the singing sparked the enthusiasm of the public present.
The tour of the Pontifical Choir had repercussions on television and national and local media, which gave it cover from its arrival in the Korean Peninsula.
The choir was founded in the 6th century under the Pontificate of Saint Gregory the Great with the name Schola Cantorum Romana. Its work was interrupted in moments of crisis within the Church, such as the change of the See to Avignon (1309-1377). It received its present name in 1471 with Pope Sixtus IV, who reorganized the school of papal singers.