‘The Exorcist’ Star John Cho’s Childhood Memories of Church Music and Architecture

‘The Exorcist’ Star John Cho’s Childhood Memories of Church Music and Architecture September 30, 2017

John-Cho-ExorcistFox’s “The Exorcist” returned last night for a second season, in a new setting and with a new set of people beset by demonic possession. John Cho is cast as Andrew Kim, a former child psychologist who runs a group home for five at-risk foster children. But fear not, Catholic priests and exorcists Father Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels) and Father Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera) are on the way to help

(Yeah, you say, but I thought Father Marcus was excommunicated and is no longer a priest! Sorry, nope. Whether the show gets this right or not, when Marcus says he’s a priest, he’s right. Excommunication or even removal of public priestly functions does not undo the vows a priest takes. Father Marcus is still Father Marcus.)

Cho, who was born in South Korea but grew up in the United States, keeps his own thoughts on faith close to the vest, but he did talk about the experience of growing up the son of a Christian minister. Here’s what he had to say to UCLA’s Asia Pacific Arts blog in 2009:

APA: Your father was a minister. What denomination?

JC: This was a denomination called Church of Christ.

APA: Many of my Asian American friends growing up attended Christian churches where they would have weekend night services filled with singing, playing music, and performances. Was that what your father’s church was like?

JC: Actually no. There were no musical instruments allowed in this church. Their philosophy is based on the absence of the mention of musical instruments in the New Testament. They took it very seriously.

APA: Wow, so no organs or guitars, I’m assuming?

JC: This church would call all that stuff entertainment. And the church wasn’t a place for entertainment. So we didn’t have a choir. It was only communal singing. We sang together from the pews, four-part harmonies, and no one was allowed to get up in front and solo. Or have a special light shown on them.

What do you all — especially church musicians and singers — think about that?

Cho also played an architect in a new indie film called “Columbus.” Here’s what he had to say to Time on church architecture:

In the drama Columbus, the actor, 45, plays the estranged son of an architect who has taken ill. It was filmed in Columbus, Ind., a mecca of modernist architecture.

Did the movie change how you look at architecture?

I thought about how architects can make us feel in the way they design spaces. I’m thinking about North Christian Church, by Eero Saarinen. My father was a preacher. They say the church is not the building, it’s the people in it. In this church, the seating went upward. It was in the round, so the congregants looked at one another and down at the preacher. It was impossible not to conclude that the church was the people around you.

I’d also love to hear from experts on sacred architecture about that!

Click here to read more about the 5 things you needed to know going into season two of “The Exorcist,” stay tuned for future posts on the show.

Here’s a look at “Columbus”:

And at “The Exorcist:”:

Image: Courtesy Fox

Don’t miss a thing: head over to my other home, as Social Media Manager at Family Theater Productions; and check out FTP’s Faith & Family Media Blog.

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