PEORIA — The next concert of the Peoria International Choir will celebrate a topic people all over the world can relate to, a mother’s love.

A contemporary arrangement of Stabat Mater and a selection of other works will be performed at 7 p.m. May 4 at First Christian Church, 6400 N. University St. Proceeds from the concert will support OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois.

The Peoria International Choir was founded by Japanese native Masako Samano Johnson. Many of the choir’s 23 members are also foreign-born, from countries all over the world. The choir celebrates world music and culture, performing songs in different genres and languages.

“For many different reasons we are all in Peoria, and we all love to sing,” said Johnson. “It’s nice to have a reason for so many different people to come together. I wanted to make it like a second home for them. That’s why I started the choir.”

Johnson lives in Peoria with her husband, Jim Johnson, and their two sons. Jim is the former Caterpillar Inc. vice president in Singapore and is now retired. The couple met when Jim worked in Japan.

“We met in 1999. We did a spaghetti opera at a church for fundraising, where we would sing between the three course meal, and he was there,” said Johnson. The pair married in 2000.

In 2013, when her husband was transferred to Singapore, Johnson started a choir there. Two years later when the family relocated to Peoria, she started the Peoria International Choir. Johnson has a bachelor’s degree in music education at Yokohama National University and has also studied voice at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

Johnson chose a contemporary arrangement of the Stabat Mater by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins because it lends the ancient work an international flair. The Stabat Mater is a 13th-century Christian hymn which portrays Mary’s suffering during the crucifixion of her son Jesus Christ. Jenkins incorporates both traditional Western music and ethnic instruments to create a unique arrangement for the text, which will be sung in Latin, English, Greek and Aramaic.

“Karl Jenkins uses Middle Eastern harmonies, like you are in a mosque or something,” said Johnson.

Though the origin of the text is Christian, the sentiment it explores is universal. The feelings Mary experienced while her son was on the cross are feelings any mother would understand, regardless of religious beliefs.

“All nationalities can have the same feeling, so that’s why I wanted to sing this one,” said Johnson.

Soloists include Carrie Tilly and Carmen McCarthy. Music will be provided by pianist Justin Kothenbeutel, percussionist Imaad Junaidi, George Johnson and Ken Johnson on strings, and Jessica Li on oboe. Xuan Simon will also dance during the performance.

The second half of the concert will feature five other tunes, including a traditional Lesotho lullaby, “The Seal Lullaby,” “Stand By Me,” “Try Everything” from the movie “Zootopia,” and “Homeward Bound.”

Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for seniors, and $20 for families (immediate family members only), and are available at the door, online at www.PeoriaInternationalChoir.org, or by calling 657-9384.

Leslie Renken can be reached at 686-3250 or lrenken@pjstar.com. Follow her on Twitter.com/LeslieRenken, and subscribe to her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.