Musician makes dream a reality

Incoming student David Chung fundraises to achieve his dream and addresses obstacles he will face due to his visual impairment.

Jenna Kubiak, Writer

Incoming student David Chung said Biola is his dream school. However, he was originally unable to attend Biola because he was an undocumented citizen. Chung gained his citizenship in 2013, and after Governor Jerry Brown passed the California Dream Act, he was eligible to receive funding for his tuition through Cal Grant. In addition, he received a scholarship from the Conservatory of Music and is raising the remainder of his tuition by fundraising online.

“My chances of coming to Biola looked very realistic this semester, and I wanted to do everything that I can to come to Biola,” Chung said.

Three weeks ago, Chung started a public fundraising campaign on YouCaring. He has raised approximately $1,600 out of his goal of $5,550 in three weeks with help from mostly friends and family. He said the fundraiser proved successful, and after all the effort and work he put in to attend Biola, Chung looks forward to seeing his dream unfold.

“Biola has and always will be my home. To finally embrace the reality as mine — to fully enjoy the benefits to the fullest, I look forward to that the most,” Chung said.


Chung plans to become an opera singer with a major in operatic voice performance, using his musical talents to minister to others. He was also born prematurely and lost nearly all his vision, which will impact his studies as a music major. Chung expects to face challenges, one of which will be reading music. Because he is visually impaired, he cannot read the bass clef and treble clef simultaneously, which will cause him to take longer than other students to read and learn the music. Rather than using braille music, Chung memorized all of the pieces he performed — as a music major, however, he will have to read braille music.

“There’s very limited amount of braille music that is available. To create new braille music is pretty difficult work — I see that as a challenge, being able to learn braille music again because I have to take music theory, so I think for that, I will need braille music even though I use mostly my memory to memorize music,” Chung said.


Photo courtesy of David Chung.

As a music major, Chung is also required to take a beginning conducting class. His vision is almost nonexistent and he can only distinguish between light and darkness from shadows. Due to this, he has not been able to see body movement in a natural way, and said this would impact the way he conducts.

“In conducting, it’s very imperative for your movements to be fluid and very graceful, and so for me to be able to do that is going to be a challenge,” Chung said.

Being visually impaired, Chung said people treated him differently from his peers, and when his impairment was not healed from prayer, they attributed the result to a lack of faith.

“Most of the people treated me as an object to see a miracle. So when God didn’t heal me, they treated me in a way that was very harmful,” Chung said.


Chung plans to interact other students individually and talk with them about what it is like to have a disability and what they can do to love and help others with disabilities and help them by answering any questions they have, but he is also open to speaking on the topic at Biola.

“It’s best through individual interaction because then I can make more time to explain to this person more in depth about what it’s like to have a disability and what that person can do — to be a loving hand of Christ to that person,” Chung said.

Having experienced the difficulties and obstacles of living with a disability, Chung plans to minister to other students with disabilities at Biola and spread more awareness about disabilities on campus.

“I believe that people with disabilities at Biola should be loved on and cared for to the best that Biola can do. So I think one of the biggest things that I will actually be doing is to spread more awareness on what it’s like to be living with a disability and what it looks like to love someone who has disability,” Chung said.


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