This school year I wanted to try something new with our Sunnydale Adventist Academy chorale. On June 29, 2022, I came across information about the 2023 Missouri Music Educators Association performance submission. The deadline to apply was June 30. The next 24 hours provided technology issues as well as answers to prayer and somehow we submitted our application video before midnight. Next came the waiting game and the doubts. Would any other schools perform sacred choral music like our submission video? There were so many other schools with much better choral programs, with many more students from which to draw. We are just a small boarding academy; would we even be considered? How often do we find ourselves doubting the message of Phi. 4:13?

I decided to keep praying: “God, you are in control. If you want us to perform, let us be a part of this convention and let us minister to those who will be there to listen to our music.” After over a month of waiting, the news finally arrived. Much to my surprise, we were chosen as one of four high school choirs within the state of Missouri. I looked at my email over and over again just to be sure I was not mistaken. I was overjoyed!

Next it was time for us to decide on a 30-minute repertoire to be performed and, much to my surprise, the MMEA executive team was fine with us performing all sacred choral works. God is indeed good. Another surprise came with the beginning of the school year when 95 out of 170 students signed up to audition for chorale. And after listening to our students, five pieces were selected for our performance: How Great Thou Art, Esto Les Digo, God Almighty Is, Soon and Very Soon and The Awakening.

In preparation for this event, we performed a send-off concert on Jan. 25 at the Sunnydale Adventist Church. Chris Cox, the mayor of Centralia where our academy is located, presented us with a Mayor’s Proclamation declaring Thursday, Jan. 26, as Sunnydale Adventist Academy Chorale Day (2022-2023). He also joined in the celebration to congratulate the hard work of our students. 

The next day we traveled to the convention. We left campus at 6:30 am bound for the Margaritaville Resort and Convention Center in Osage Beach, Missouri. The students were in good spirits. Many had been suffering from head colds and coughs, but God was with us and all were well enough to perform with full voices. Our students sounded wonderful, like I have never heard them sound before. Our angels were singing with us.

They were all attentive, focused, and their blending was amazing. God surely had blessed our efforts and He was present during our performance. Many people there were amazed that we were from a school that has only 170 students.

Through this experience we have gained more unity within our chorale and our desire to sing God’s praises has grown greatly. He has proven again that He can do all things. Our goal has been–and continues to be—reaching as many souls as we can for His kingdom. 

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord; Praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6).


Joseph E. Choi is director of the music program at Sunnydale Adventist Academy.