Korea’s award-winning Gracias Choir held its last winter concert Wednesday in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province, ending its monthlong national Christmas concert tour.

The 15th annual “Christmas Cantata” concert tour, helmed by Russian conductor Boris Abalyan of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, presented a nativity musical and classical yuletide tunes to audiences in 19 cities in Korea, including Seoul, Goyang and Ansan.

The first act showcased an opera on the birth of Christ, while the second act saw a family-friendly musical on the meaning of Christmas. Performed during the third act were the season’s staple tunes, including Hendel’s “For Unto Us a Child is Born,” “Glory to God in the Highest” and “Hallelujah.”

20151223001488_0A scene from Gracias Choir’s nativity opera (Gracias Choir)

The choir held a five-day concert in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, from Dec. 18-22, inviting 50 North Korean defectors, soldiers and policemen, to extend the cultural benefits to a wider audience.

Profits from the Korea concert tour will go to holding charity concerts in India, Africa and Latin America, choir officials said.

Before touring in Korea, Gracias Choir performed in 25 cities in the U.S. in October. Their Christmas Cantata concert tour attracted more than 100,000 people at 25 concert venues, including the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium and Atlanta Fox Theater. The concert was also featured in a televised broadcast on the American network NBC.

Gracias Choir, which aims to deliver messages of hope and peace worldwide through music, has won numerous accolades, including the top awards at the 14th International Chamber Competition Marktoberdorf in May and the International Choir Competition Riva del Garda and Montreux Choral Festival last year. (Korea Herald)

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