Noteworthy & Vocal Point

From the Steppes of Mongolia to the Streets of Japan

President Shane Reese, Sister Wendy Reese, BYU administrator Jeff Ringer, and Sister Amy Ringer join Noteworthy and Vocal Point in Tokyo.

After a seamless flight from South Korea to Mongolia, Noteworthy and Vocal Point arrived in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. The groups drove to the heart of the city, where they visited Sükhbaatar Square, a historic landmark central to Mongolia’s democratic revolution. 

The following day Noteworthy and Vocal Point visited the iconic statue of Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khan). Noteworthy later hosted a workshop at a local high school before both BYU groups performed at the Corporate Hotel and Convention Centre concert hall. Afterward they had a special dinner with local youth, attended a VIP reception, and gave another mesmerizing performance. 

In front of the Chinggis Khaan Statue in Mongolia, Noteworthy and Vocal Point pose with the local communications team for the Church of Jesus Christ.

At the conclusion of their time in Mongolia on Wednesday morning, the groups flew to Tokyo, Japan. They visited the beautiful Tokyo Japan Temple and enjoyed participating in ordinances. The evening was a culinary delight with dinner at Nabezo Shibuya Koen-dori, a popular hot pot restaurant, followed by a Vocal Point music video shoot in the vibrant Shibuya district. 

On May 9, the group members were captivated by the Tokyo National Museum, home to Japan’s largest art collection and renowned as the country’s oldest museum. At Ryogoku High School and Fuchu Nishi High School, Noteworthy and Vocal Point delivered mini performances and led interactive sessions as part of an outreach effort for the local students. Following the workshops, they had dinner with local youth and young adults of the Church of Jesus Christ before they concluded their evening by visiting Tokyo Tower. 

Carson Trautman, director of Vocal Point and Noteworthy, leads the groups alongside the Fuchu Nishi High School Choir Club, last year’s top choir in Japan, in a combined rendition of “You Raise Me Up.”

On Friday morning, Vocal Point started the day early to finish their music video. Then both groups explored historic Senso-ji (Asakusa Kannon Temple), the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo, which draws millions of worshippers annually. BYU president C. Shane Reese and his wife, Wendy, accompanied by associate international vice president Jeff Ringer and his wife, Amy, arrived in Tokyo just in time to attend the VIP reception held before Noteworthy and Vocal Point’s captivating performance at Ota Kumin Hall APRICO that evening. 

The adventure continued on May 11 with a scenic train ride to Osaka on the Shinkansen, commonly known as the bullet train. Noteworthy and Vocal Point marveled at the majestic Osaka Castle, a historic landmark with roots dating back to 1583, before they performed at the Osaka City Central Public Hall. 

Noteworthy members visit Japan’s Osaka Castle with the group’s stage manager, Jules Clark (in blue).

On Sunday morning, the groups immersed themselves in the city of Kyoto, beginning with a worship service at a local chapel. Afterward, they visited multiple iconic landmarks in the area, including Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion), a Zen Buddhist temple whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf; Chion-in, the head temple of the Jodo sect of Buddhism; and Fushimi Inari-taisha, a shrine dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice, that contains thousands of vermilion torii gates, which line pathways that lead up to the sacred Mount Inari. The day’s events concluded with a charity concert in Ibaraki and a community devotional with President Reese and the Church’s Asia North Area Presidency—Elders Takashi Wada, John McCune, and Kimo Esplin. 

With another week of touring still ahead, Noteworthy and Vocal Point are full of gratitude for the opportunity to perform, hold outreach events, and see the beauty of east Asia. Stay tuned for more updates, as their final week of tour is sure to hold even more excitement! 

Vocal Point wraps up filming a music video at Kaminarimon, one of the gates that leads to Tokyo’s Senso-ji Temple.

Alexa Ballard of Noteworthy sings “Holding Out for a Hero” in Tokyo.