Like many artists, Charles "Micah" Christian ’06, lead singer of Sons of Serendip, had to pivot and discover new ways to create and connect with his audience during the pandemic. Now, the group is back on tour, traveling throughout the U.S. and participating in Expo 2020 in Dubai. We checked in with Christian to hear about tour life, a meaningful moment with “America’s Got Talent” judge Simon Cowell, his service work at Stonehill, and the song lyric that he most appreciates.

As an artist, how did you deal with quarantine?

When the pandemic first hit, Sons of Serendip was on tour in Texas. We didn’t realize how serious things were until 20 concerts were canceled overnight. Even then, we were still hopeful that the situation would only last a few months. But within a month, the rest of the year of touring was canceled, which was a devastating hit both financially and emotionally. Not only did we lose 80% of our income, but we also lost the opportunity to tour, which has provided me with a deep sense of purpose over the years. We ended up making adjustments and invested in equipment and software that allowed us to perform and connect with audiences virtually as well as to record in our homes. We were then able to be productive and creative. During our time in quarantine, we wrote and arranged a good number of songs and ended up putting together an album, “Mosaic,” that we released in November of that year.

Outside of the group, each of us also pursued individual creative passions. One of the personal dreams that I pursued was to learn how to write music for television and films. Cordaro Rodriguez [pianist for Sons of Serendip] and I ended up starting a morning routine that we called, Lab Hour. We met on Zoom—seven days a week—and set a timer for one hour. During that hour, we each would try to produce an instrumental track that could potentially be used for television and films. Creatively, the time limit was important because it helped to silence the inner critic within us, which led to an incredibly productive season for both of us.

After about four months of our morning meetings, we realized that we had enough music to start our own production library music company, Thinking Willow Productions. During the quarantine, we were also able to get into film scoring and have co-scored a short film and a feature. Neither have been released yet, but we’re very excited about the possibilities there, too.

All in all, the year in quarantine was a deep emotional and financial challenge, but the silver lining was that we were able to adjust, stay creative and productive, and grow through the experience.

What is it like to be performing live again and touring?

Touring with Sons of Serendip has always been an incredible source of joy and fulfillment in my life. After a year like 2020, when we first stepped on the stage in front of a live audience again, I felt nothing but deep gratitude. I don’t take it for granted to have the opportunity to tour and perform live because, as we learned, it can all be taken away overnight.

Your photos on Instagram are amazing. Have you been awestruck by any location, in particular?

Thank you! Honestly, before touring with Sons of Serendip, I had no idea just how beautiful our country is. The first moment when I felt awestruck was while we were driving through the canyons and mountains in Colorado. Since then, there have been a good number of moments on our tour when we’ve had to stop the van, get out and take it all in. It’s happened in the mountains and canyons of Arizona, Utah, Montana, and Wyoming, in Joshua Tree, in the Redwoods in California, and along the mystical beaches and rivers in Oregon and Washington.

Sons of Serendip was invited to perform at Expo 2020 in Dubai. Can you please share more about this?

Yes, we’re very excited about this opportunity! The Expo 2020 is made up of 192 countries coming together to showcase innovations that are happening within each country in a number of fields, including the arts. We were invited to be one the artists representing the U.S. We’ll be heading there at the end of March for the last week of the Expo.

What is your favorite memory of your time on “America’s Got Talent”?

My favorite memory is when we were invited back for “America’s Got Talent: The Champions.” That was a huge honor because only 50 acts were selected from all the “Got Talents” globally. It was exciting for us to have the opportunity to show how much we had grown over the years because the first time we were on the show, we were barely even a group. After our performance, Simon Cowell, who we were nervous about, said that he “felt something.” And after the cameras stopped, he came up to the stage and gave each of us a hug. It was a meaningful moment for all of us.

When you think of your Stonehill experience, what comes to mind?

I think of a community that helped me to find and nurture my gifts and to discover how I can best be of service to the world. While I was there, I gained lifelong mentors who, to this day, I turn to for guidance and inspiration. Also, my wife, Jocelyn (Vierra) ’08, and I met at Stonehill and got married at the Chapel of Mary. Both of us have had two to three years of deeply formative volunteering experiences both domestically and abroad. These experiences stemmed from our time at Stonehill, volunteering with H.O.P.E. and Into the Streets.

Wondering if you have run into any Stonehill alums on tour or at your concerts?

Yes, Stonehill alums have shown up to our concerts!

Sons of Serendip perform in May Hall's McCarthy Auditorium in November 2018.

Micah Christian sings to the Stonehill community at a 2016 Sons of Serendip Christmas performance in the Petit Atrium.

If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?

I’d love to collaborate with The Piano Guys. We spent some time with them when they were in town for a concert just before the pandemic. And one of the members came to one of our concerts in Utah. They are wonderful human beings. It’s been a dream to work with them on a song or a music video. 

Favorite song lyric?

It’s from Leonard Cohen’s song, “Hallelujah.” “Love is not a victory march. It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.” What I appreciate is the humility in these words. It also captures the underlying ache—and maybe even a little suffering—that comes with loving deeply.