Ozark Adventist Academy Reformation Tour

June 11, 2024

GENTRY, ARK. –  In March of 2024, students in Ozark Adventist Academy’s (OAA) choir and orchestra traveled to stand in the caves where the Waldenses once stood. They heard their own voices echoing off those same cold, earthy walls where youth their own age were massacred and martyred for what they believed. 

Ozark’s music director, Gabriel Blotor, fluent in French, born in Romania and a graduate of the Music Conservatory in Strasbourg, France, led OAA students on a Reformation Tour through six European countries in 11 days. They visited landmarks of the Protestant Reformation like the All-Saints Church in Whittenberg, where the 95 thesis was nailed. Their tour took them through Italy, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, the Vatican and Switzerland.

Although our music students had the acoustical experience of singing in one of the cathedrals in Florence, Italy, and in other Adventist academies in Europe, the tour was not about formally scheduled concert events; it was an educational tour. Its intent was to enable students to see the effects of the Reformation in our present-day churches and to understand the defining elements of who we are as a people and how we got here. To grasp the impact that Martin Luther had on our current Protestant music and understand how the effect of his life has rippled down through the ages to us and into our churches is an education in itself. Prior to the Reformation, church music was mainly restricted just to priests and monks. These are some of the interesting aspects of the tour that reverberated through the minds of our students as they traced the steps of God’s servants through the well-trodden streets and valleys of Europe. And it is our prayer that OAA students will appreciate the religious freedoms we have that many who went before us did not have.

By Debbie Upson

Digital Media