Billy Kim editBISMARCK, ND — Little did he know at the age of 16, when being barraged by bullets and bombs during the Korean War, that it would lead to a brotherhood with an American GI. His encounter started with an ordinary walk from his home looking for firewood. It quickly and unintentionally became an entrepreneurial expedition as he stumbled upon a U.S. Army compound in need of the same fuel. Peeking through the fenced in barracks, the boy bargained the soldiers into buying the commodity. After several encounters the Korean teenager quickly found himself inside — hired on as houseboy. He attracted the attention and interest of a GI from Virginia named Carl Powers who began teaching him English. That encounter begins the story of Billy Kim and a relationship that would lead him from a country home in South Korea to eight years of free higher education at Bob Jones University in South Carolina.

He then returned to Korea with his Michigan bride in 1959 where they have ministered for over 50 years and began the world-renowned Korean Children’s Choir.

Choir-04On Thursday, Oct. 1, at 8 p.m., western North Dakota is invited to hear Kim’s creation as his Korean Children’s Choir performs a free concert in Arno Gustin Hall sponsored by University Ministry, the Department of Music at Mary and the Christian Leadership Center. Choir-05

The Children’s Choir was organized as a ministry of the Far East Broadcasting Company in Korea. The choir members are selected through a rigorous audition process. The children, ranging in ages from seven to 13, receive training from a voice trainer, choreographer and conductor. A variety of concerts are performed throughout the year at churches, cultural centers, theme parks, schools, and universities both in Korea and the United States. Cheerful adaptations, warm smiles and thorough professionalism characterize the performances. Colorful costumes and traditional Korean dance add to the excitement and pageantry of the concerts.