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El Sistema Korea performs at opening of Yongsan Children’s Garden

El Sistema Korea performs at opening of Yongsan Children’s Garden

Posted May. 15, 2023 07:56,   

Updated May. 15, 2023 07:56


“When I joined El Sistema Korea five years ago in fifth grade and learned how to play the clarinet for the first time, I had no idea that I would perform in front of such a big audience. I felt very nervous performing in front of 1,200 people, but it was an amazing experience that I felt very proud of,” said Ji Ha-eun (age 14, third year of Maehol Middle School), who joined the El Sistema Korea’s performance held at the “El Sistema Korea’s with the People” held at the Grass Plaza in the Yongsan Children’s Garden in Seoul. The performance was held to celebrate the opening of the Yongsan Children’s Garden, formerly the location for the U.S. Forces in Korea, and as the pre-event for the UNESCO-designated Global Cultural Arts Education Week (fourth year in May). Around 1,200 guests attended the event, including Afghan special contributors, multi-cultural families, and families of veterans.

El Sistema Korea from Osan of Gyeonggi, Yongyeong of South Gyeongsang, and the Milky Way Percussions Ensemble consisting of physically challenged musicians, performed classical music and original movie soundtracks such as the Avengers and Pirate of the Caribbean.

“I was very moved by their unique performance, which was special in its own way and different from that of professional musicians,” said Lee Jeong-mi (age 46), who attended the performance with her young children attending elementary school.

El Sistema Korea is a cultural arts program that provides musical education to children and adolescents of local communities, including those of vulnerable social groups. The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and Korea Arts and Culture Education Service host the program. It started with 470 members at eight institutions in 2010, which expanded to around 4,700 members with 49 institutions. Accumulated members reached more than 20,000.

“This performance was meaningful in that orchestra members could share their growth and experience with the audience,” said Park Eun-sil, the head of the Korea Arts and Culture Education Service. "We are planning to expand arts education in various different ways such as the 'Dance Team of Dreams' in addition to El Sistema Korea."

Jeong-Eun Kim kimje@donga.com