Michael Kunho Kim and his friends carefully checked all of their musical instruments as their band, The Seventeen, prepared to stream their concert online live on YouTube in early September.
“God loved the world so much that he gave his only son,” the youth-led Catholic music group sang in Korean accompanied by guitar, piano, drums and more from a studio in Seoul, the capital of Korea. from South.
For more than two hours, the group performed a series of songs mainly based on biblical and religious themes during the concert on September 4.
Thousands of people watched the concert, and many responded in real time and after the show to express how much they enjoyed the music and the lyrics.
“Congratulations and thank you. Your music brought tears to my eyes. You have undertaken a lot of hard work. The sound was also very good. I appreciate you very much, ”one viewer commented.
“I have always encouraged you. All your songs of praise draw near to the Lord. I can feel the passion to love the Lord. I want to be like the seventeen brothers and sisters singing praises to the Lord together, ”wrote another.
Our words are mostly based on the Bible, but sometimes we express our hopes and feelings as Catholics
The concert was the latest in a series of musical ventures from The Seventeen since the group formed in 2017.
That year, the church-run Korean Catholic Broadcasting Center hosted its 17th annual Catholic songwriting and music competition, where 11 teams competed in the final round. Some of the team decided to form a single team to pursue Catholic music businesses. To preserve the memory of the 17th competition, the group was named The Seventeen.
On the 17th of each month, this volunteer group posts new original Catholic music and music videos to YouTube based on lyrics composed by the members of the group. The group’s YouTube channel has around 31,900 subscribers.
“Our words are mostly based on the Bible, but sometimes we express our hopes and feelings as Catholics. Our music is not only on YouTube, but can also be found on Apple Music and Spotify, ”Kim told UCA News.
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Kim, 35, is a Seoul software engineer with a passion for music. He is a composer, lyricist and sound programmer for the group.
The Seventeen are based in Seoul but they perform in various regions whenever invited by Christian groups and parishes, Kim said, adding that “I hope we can perform in other places as well. country, after the pandemic “.
The group has 30 members and has no formal process for adding new members. However, it requires the agreement of at least two-thirds of the members before a new member can be added. This person must be “enthusiastic about Catholic music”.
From the beginning, the group has been self-financing with the members of the group contributing to all musical ventures. Its chief producer provided his own studio for recording while also working on the music production process, including arrangement, mixing and mastering.
“And also, we get donations from our fans and our people. We post our bank account on our YouTube channel and people who like our music and videos send us money. We are so lucky that many people recognize our work and support us, ”Kim said.
The group also benefited from the support of the Catholic Church. About ten priests from different dioceses teach, guide and support the group.
Many churches invite the group to perform, but invitations have dropped during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Korean Catholic Broadcasting Center is also inviting The Seventeen to perform to promote the group to Korean Catholics.
Kim says the group receives emails from Christians every day with requests for sheet music so they can sing songs in their parishes. There are a lot of songs on YouTube by Christians who have taken over their songs.
What really matters is that we can see the people who have met our Lord through our music.
The group has enjoyed moments of glory in recent years. One song – “When Mother’s Prayer Reaches Heaven” – was performed live by opera singers at the Seoul Arts Center. The performers and most of the audience were not Catholics. The concert leader later said he was deeply touched by the song and decided to cover it at the concert.
In 2018, The Seventeen won first place in a Catholic music competition.
Kim says the main goal of the group is to praise the glory of God and to help people “meet God through music”.
“What really matters is that we get to see people who have met our Lord through our music. They say they started going to church again after listening to our songs. It is success and it is our goal. We want to keep ourselves as a tool for the glory of God, ”he said.
It is not often easy to manage a group of 30 people who devote time to Catholic music in addition to their regular work. Sometimes there are conflicts, but these are short-lived and members believe that diversity on the team helps them become better people.
The Seventeen have released two music albums and work on a third is expected to begin next month.
The group also plans to put English subtitles on its music videos on the YouTube channel so Christians around the world can visit the channel and subscribe.
“As the number of subscribers from various countries increases, we also want to create video content to let them know about the beauty of Korean Catholic churches and the history of Korean Catholicism,” Kim added.