This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Goshen student sings to heal trauma, promote peace

GOSHEN, Ind. — Galed Krisjayanta, a third-year music student at Goshen College, released his first album at the age of 10. Cassettes, CDs, DVDs and even karaoke versions of him singing traditional Indonesian folk songs have been sold, and every song has a music video.

Goshen College student Galed Krisjayanta has returned to his hometown of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, to sing in concerts and hopes to continue doing so in the future. — Hannah Sauder/Goshen College
Goshen College student Galed Krisjayanta has returned to his hometown of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, to sing in concerts and hopes to continue doing so in the future. — Hannah Sauder/Goshen College

Krisjayanta found the power of music to heal after his hometown of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, was devastated by an earthquake in which nearly 3,500 people were killed.

Krisjayanta was born in Yogyakarta and spent his first eight years there. But in 2006 when the earthquake struck, his family was living in Surakarta, about two hours away.

Since his dad was a humanitarian worker with one of the largest Christian nongovernmental organizations in Indonesia, Krisjayanta went along to help. His dad suggested he use his musical talents to help the people who were suffering.

“During the day [my family and those affected by the earthquake] were playing and singing together,” he said. “It was quite an experience.”

Funded by his father’s organization, Yakkum, Krisjayanta recorded songs that were sent around the world in exchange for donations. The title of the album was “Alam Sisa” (nature and what’s left in it).

“The music wasn’t about me,” he said. “I just wanted to help. I didn’t think about money; I gave it all to those affected.”

Krisjayanta and his family stayed in Yogyakarta for two months. While he was working on the album, he also created many lasting friendships.

“I slept there; I ate with them,” he said. “I know what it feels like to be a refugee.”

That’s where he found his motivation.

“You can change the world with music,” Krisjayanta said. “You can make just a small change, but it’s meaningful for others.”

Coming back to sing

Nearly nine years later, Krisjayanta returned to where his desire to sing for peace began, Yogyakarta.

This time, he traveled with Anthony Brown, former professor at Hesston (Kan.) College, and Hesston Chorale director Ken Rodgers. The May 23-June 8 tour was sponsored by Peacing It Together, which works to bring peace and social justice by way of song.

Accompanied by Rodgers on piano, Krisjayanta and Brown sang with a message to promote peace through music in five cities across Indonesia, including Yogyakarta.

While Krisjayanta was there, he met a few of the children who had been refugees in 2006.

“They came to my concert, and they recognized me,” he said. “I was just so happy to meet them. They had gotten their lives back.”

This was Krisjayanta’s first tour to promote peace. Brown has performed nearly 50 concerts promoting peace in conflict areas such as Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Colombia.

“Singing for peace means using music to promote a sense of connection and oneness between people,” Brown said. “I believe that music can be a powerful source for promoting peace and goodwill in the world.”

Brown felt the concerts in Indonesia made an impact.

“The concerts were well received,” he said. “We were with many kindred spirits, and we made good connections, making many new friends.”

Since he has retired from teaching, Brown continues to sing for peace. He recently traveled to Austria and the Philippines to perform, and he’s making plans for more trips.

Krisjayanta would like to do more of this in the future.

He graduated from Hesston in 2015 before transferring to Goshen in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in music. He is living by his motto: “Serve for joy, sing for peaceful mind.”

“Everything that I do, I always remember my motto,” he said. “Serving others is just joy, and it includes singing. It creates a peaceful mind for myself, the community and especially for God.”

After graduating from Go­shen, Krisjayanta hopes to go to graduate school and build from there.

“My dream is to become a singer in the U.S.,” he said. “And then I’ll go back home [to Indonesia] and start a school that focuses on classical music and musical theater.”

This story originally appeared in The Record, Goshen College’s student newspaper.

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