Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Yaenoeul Choir Concert and Easter

Yaenoeul Choir (얘노을 합창단) at their 12th annual concert. Can you spot the white guy?
My friend and fellow Fulbrighter Adam has busied himself this past year with teaching at a large middle school, studying taekwondo, and singing in a choir. I thought that that alone was cool. But then I learned that this choir was, like, seriously legit: directed by a famous Korean maestro and everything. And I learned that Adam was the first foreigner to sing with them in their illustrious twelve year history. Dang! All of this made me even more excited that I was going to their annual concert!

The choir rehearses all year for just one performance. (One large performance, for an audience of thousands.) Their repertoire was incredibly vast: one set of traditional choral pieces, one set of arranged Korean songs, one set of gospel music and spirituals, and one set of modern pop music done in glamorous show choir fashion. Ten of us Fulbrighters came to support Adam, watched him rock the bass parts like a boss, and squealed in delight when he stepped out to deliver solo lines as Javert in the final piece, "One Day More" from Les Mis.

The whole thing really was wonderful. As Cecile put it, if there were anything that really epitomized the notion of "cultural exchange" that we Fulbrighters are supposed to promote, it's this talented white guy from the States taking part in a first-rate performance that itself represented a hodgepodge of cultures and musical styles. Good feels all around, not least due to the quality of the music that night.
Adam's in the center, with the black bag. On his right is his conductor, a nice man with a magnificent perm. Surrounded by friends!
Videos will come soon, I promise.

Well, after the concert, we all went out for dinner and drinks (extremely late, just like the day before). I had "scoop pizza", a ridiculous concoction of dough, cheese, bacon, and French fries, that was heavenly and quite sinful at the same time. So much cheese... We stayed at the restaurant until after midnight, and back at the hostel, I chatted with Adam, Julia, and Alanna until four in the morning. Ridiculous. No wonder I've been so drained this week...

On Sunday afternoon (Easter!), I went to church at Dongshin's English service. There, I met up with Jaeyeon and Bridget, and we also ran into Megan, whom I did not expect to see there! The Easter service was really nice, like a breath of fresh air. It felt great to sing and worship and feel a bit of joy again, after so many weeks of going through the motions, in a sense. I think Megan is very lucky to have a large and vibrant church community in her city. I do have a church community in Changwon, but it's not quite the tight-knit family that Megan seems to have found. Well, I'm not going to complain. The visit was really nice, anyhow.
Me, Jaeyeon, Bridget, and Megan at Dongshin. If we look a bit tired... you know why.
Then, it was time for goodbyes! I'd already parted ways with most of the dozens of friends I'd met over the weekend, but for all of us it was only a brief valediction, since this weekend we will all gather again for spring conference on Jeju Island! Woohoo! It's going to be great.

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