Dr. Sinyo Harry Sarundajang with Stefan Bohländer and Thomas Schüle (INTERKULTUR) © Dr. Sinyo Harry Sarundajang

INTERKULTUR is mourning for Dr. Sinyo Harry Sarundajang

Politician who paved the way for the 3rd Asia Pacific Choir Games 2013 passed away


Sinyo Harry Sarundajang (January 16, 1945 - February 13, 2021) was an Indonesian politician who held a number of important strategic positions. Among other positions, he was governor of North Sulawesi province for two terms (2005-2015). In this capacity, he facilitated the holding of the 3rd Asia Pacific Choir Games in 2013 in Manado. In February 2018, he was appointed Ambassador to the Philippines by President Joko Widodo, where he passed away on Saturday in Manila.

The province of North Sulawesi, with its capital Manado City, the towns of Tomohon, Bitung and others, is home to one of the strongest choral communities in the entire world with thousands of mostly church choirs. North Sulawesi is the province with the highest Christian population in the largest Muslim country in the world; therefore, it has a unique concentration of choirs perhaps comparable only to the Baltic States in Europe.

The story goes that Sinyo Harry Sarundajang was once asked by the president to mediate a violent, warlike conflict between two ethnic groups in another Indonesian province. The mission, which at first seemed hopeless, was solved by Sinyo Harry Sarundajang by calling the opposing parties together and instructing them to sing together! Apparently inspired by the common singing, the hostile groups ended their armed conflicts and lived peacefully together since then.

With Dr. Sinyo Harry Sarundajang we have lost a charismatic personality, a successful politician and a true friend of choral music!