With witnessing the ongoing struggles and debates among people around the presidential campaign of 2016, I have been thinking about how hard it is to understand other people’s thoughts and to be in their shoes to see the world.

As a musician, my efforts to understand others has involved pursuing a variety of music for our services and concerts. For the last several years since 2012, our choir has sung repertories from the time of the Renaissance to contemporary music. Language-wise, we have tried Latin, Greek, German, old medieval English, and Korean. We have sung with handbells, strings, brasses, and percussions. We have also sung with narrators or a skit team.

For this year’s Spring Concert on Sunday, April 30, we are trying a new genre of music, Jazz. Our choir has been experiencing a little dizzy ride while learning Bob Chilcott’s “A Little Jazz Mass.” Latin text has been familiar for us because we have performed many Masses, but the harmony and rhythm of Jazz is a pretty new experience for all of us. We all know Jazz is one of the core values of American culture, but singing it ourselves is a little different than just listening and enjoying.

After a pretty hard but fruitful Wednesday rehearsal focusing on this music, Miah proudly said, “Taemin, now this piece is going to be another strong repertory for us!” Yes, getting to know a new kind of music is never easy but it’s a way for us to enrich our lives.

I hope we will have more chances and the courage to break out of our comfort zone, to reach out to get to know and understand new things, and to go on to make them as part of our bodies and souls, whether if it’s about culture, religion, or people themselves.