The PTS Touring Choir has had a long tradition of ministering through music, both in the U.S. and throughout the world. Dr. David Hugh Jones, who served as choir director and organist from 1934 to 1970, assembled the first Touring Choir in 1937. During Jones’s time as choir director, the choir performed in more than 2,000 churches across the United States, and also traveled to Cuba, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and the Caribbean. The choir’s most extensive tour included twenty-four singers traveling for nearly two months throughout Japan, Korea, and the Pacific Islands. Traveling by train, boat, plane, military truck, and landing craft—and often dressed in military fatigues—they ministered to American, Korean, and Japanese service men and women fighting in the Korean War. According to Arlo Duba (M.Div., 1955, Ph.D., 1960), the choir performed 118 times and sang to nearly 43,000 people.
As part of Reunion Week in October 2010, Duba and other alums from that 1953 trip—Al Davies (M.Div., 1955, D.Min., 1978), John Lee (M.Div., 1956), Jim MacKellar (M.Div., 1955), Don Pendell (M.Div., 1955), Paul Rutgers (M.Div., 1955), and Phil Young (M.Div., 1955) presented an extensive photo review of the tour. They shared many memories, as well as photos, travel orders, military papers, maps, and other mementos.
Today Dr. Martin Tel, the Seminary’s C.F. Seabrook Director of Music, who has directed the Seminary’s Touring Choir, Chapel Choir, and Seminary Singers since 1996, carries on the Seminary’s tradition of reaching out beyond the campus to share music with others. The Touring Choir continues to serve in hospitals, prisons, and churches, where members of the choir sing, read scripture, and lead prayers for Sunday services.