Mentoring relationship creates music with a message of peace and hope

KenRodgers, Galed Krisjayanta, Tony Brown

When an earthquake devastated Galed Krisjayanta’s ’15 home on the south coast of Java Island, Indonesia, in 2006, he didn’t respond as most 10 year olds might have when he took the first steps toward his future pursuits of music performance and humanitarian work.

In the face of the devastation, Krisjayanta, supported by one of Indonesia’s largest Christian non-governmental organizations, recorded a music album encouraging resilience, survival and a refusal to give up because a brighter future awaits those who work for it. The album’s proceeds were directed for charity in the recovery process.

“That was the first time I realized music could have a life-changing impact in society,” said Krisjayanta. “I realize that God gave me the talent to sing for a reason – to spread good music and to serve people through my singing.”

Seven years later, Krisjayanta arrived at Hesston College where he met Tony Brown ’69, who also uses music as a catalyst to spread messages of peace and social justice across the world through his organization, Peacing It Together Foundation

The two men developed a close bond, and in May they traveled together to Indonesia along with accompanist Ken Rodgers ’85, for a two-week Interfaith Concert Tour. Also joining the performers were Dallas Stutzman ’76, director of Alumni and Church Relations; Dave Osborne Ac64, ’66, international Admissions recruiter; Sena (Miller) ’68 Osborne, former staff; and Virgo Handojo (Pasadena, Calif.), Hesston College Board of Directors member.

Krisjayanta recalls the idea for collaboration with Brown in Indonesia starting as early as his first year at Hesston. Following a Social Welfare class session, Brown engaged Krisjayanta in his goals for vocal performance and proposed the idea of working together.

“I told Tony about my passion for singing and helping people, and he said, ‘Then we are on the same page, Galed,’ ” Krisjayanta recalled. “Tony started as just my teacher, and now he is my singing partner and brother.”

With the help of Krisjayanta’s father, Sigit Wijayanto, a humanitarian social worker who works in the public health, social work and disaster management arenas, the tour plans were set into motion. The trio shared their program with various faith congregations, choirs and others in five Indonesian cities, as well as connecting with many Hesston College alumni.

“The tour gave us the opportunity to introduce audiences to classical and African-American music that is not as familiar to them, as well as deliver words of peace and humanity to the people of Indonesia,” said Krisjayanta.

Krisjayanta (center) was well known for his outstanding vocal talent at Hesston. Along with being a member of the Bel Canto Singers and solo performer at events across campus and in the community, he was the first Hesston College student to bring home a first place win at the annual National Association of Teachers of Singing Regional Vocal Competition since 2003. He also starred as Professor Bhaer in the college’s spring 2015 production of the musical Little Women. Krisjayanta will attend Goshen (Ind.) College in the fall to study music performance. Also pictured are Ken Rodgers (left) and Tony Brown.