Evening Concert

Local Musicians Worthy of Our Praise

Concert review by Vincent Trauth

Local Musicians Worthy of Our Praise

Concert review by Vincent Trauth

Music is music, right? Can one tell what music is “about” if there are no words? Can you tell the difference between music that we consider sacred versus that we consider secular? I think the answer is “No, not on sound alone”.  It is the words that are joined to the music that convey that sense.

On Saturday evening, April 30, 2022, I attended a concert presented by these fine musicians: Dr. Euigun Lee, Dr. Borah Kang, Ga-Eun-Kim, Kayla Schoeny, Elena Negruţă, Dr. Keychun Song, and Rachel Allen.

They presented a multimedia event, the “Story of the Apostle Peter” at the Windsor Road Christian Church in Champaign, Illinois. By doing a quick scan and calculation I estimated that there over 100 people in the audience. As the audience entered the sanctuary, pianist Rachel Allen played simple, tonal praise and worship music. Then the program began in earnest with a prayer by Dr. Song.

The program consisted of seven segments that started with a short video from Bible Stories Video that told the story of the segment. Then the musicians performed the selections as noted below.

Segment 1: Dr. Kang played the first two music selections. The first one, “I Can Hear My Savior Calling”, was an arrangement (author unknown/uncredited) in a very Franz Liszt-like style. The second one, “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” was also an arrangement (author unknown/uncredited) in what I like to call an “old-timey” piano solo style.

Segment 2: Dr. Euigun Lee sang the song “Take My Hand Precious Lord”. I had always thought that this was a gospel tune by the Father of American Gospel, Thomas A. Dorsey. Research indicates, though, that the James Rowe version came before that. Dr. Lee has a voice of power and a wide dynamic range from the softest pianissimo to the loudest fortissimo. Dr. Kang provided a very sensitive accompaniment.

Segment 3: The Soma Trio performed their arrangement of “Psalm 145/His Love” [Isaac Watts, arr. Soma Trio]. What a lovely ensemble with an incredibly luscious sound. It was very heartfelt. I honestly don’t know the words to this Psalm, yet you could almost hear them in the performance. If musicians play it “right” they are “singing” through their instruments. The players become the medium through which the music moves. {Here’s another interesting response to what I heard. As I listened, I jotted down a note to myself… “Easy there, Ms. K. Not too loud!” It’s so easy for a piano to drown out other instruments.} And quite soon after I wrote that down, Dr. Kang made that adjustment!

Segment 4: The violin started “My Peace I Give Unto You” with an introductory music idea and was joined by the cello in a string duet where that introductory idea from the violin became the countermelody to the cello. The piano joined to complete the piano trio performance.

Segment 5. This portion of the concert may well have been the pinnacle of it. Dr. Lee sang the famous “Amazing Grace” with music accompaniment by the Soma Trio. This performance segued seamlessly into a most interesting musical conjunction. Pianist Dr. Kang continued playing “Amazing Grace” while cellist Schoeny played the opening to the Bach “1st Cello Suite”. Then violinist Kim joined them as she played the melody. It was their own arrangement of the two together, very Bach-inspired as the piano part reminded me of the famous opening C Major Prelude from Bach’s first book of the Well-Tempered Klavier. Or perhaps they were inspired by Schubert’s version, or more likely, Charles Gounod’s famous version. I didn’t ask!

Segment 6. Dr. Song sang “Psalm 23” in Korean accompanied by Ms. Allen at the piano. This is the famous Psalm with the text “The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not want….. He leads me besides quiet waters…”. The audience gave this performance a very warm and lengthy reception.

Segment 7: Ms. Negruţă was accompanied by the Soma Trio in a very moving performance of Malotte’s “The Lord’s Prayer”. She has a voice of beauty with a large dynamic range. The forte phrases were full-throated. Interestingly so, the work was in three connected sections: verse one sung, instrumental interlude and return to verse.

We were treated to an encore of Ms. Negruţă singing “Peace to the Ukrainian People” accompanied by Dr. Kang. Here are my notes from that: “this reminds of that old tune ‘Those Were The Days’.. I recognize this tune – sort of – it also reminds me of a slower version of “Autumn Leaves” (that is, the chord progression does). The singing was very vocalise-like… she’s (the singer) really good.”

Lastly, we heard a second encore, “My Forever Friend” by Charlie Landsborough. Research indicates that the original tune and words are by Landsborough was a country-and-western song written in 1994 which has become a minor gospel music standard. Dr. Sung sang this accompanied by Ms. Allen. While Dr. Sung is clearly an amateur singer, he gave it all he had and was rewarded with a very hearty reception.

Listed below are our performers. I have heard a couple of them in performance at previous events (Dr. Kang and Dr. Lee) and my ears became acquainted with the others by way of the performance. Their performances were “praiseworthy”.

Many blessings were had by the audience and this reviewer!


Dr. Euigun Lee, Concert Director, baritone vocals

Dr. Borah Kang, piano*

Ga-Eun Kim, violin*

Kayla Schoeny, cello*

Elena Negruţă, soprano vocals

Dr. Keychun Song, Director of Nissi Ministry, vocals

Rachel Allen, piano

*These three performers also comprise the Soma Trio.

(935 words)

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