Kevin Choi, Yoojin Ahn, Eunice Ko, Julia Park, and Yoojin Kim KCVO

 

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    We were very lucky to have some talented musicians in the group – namely, Yoojin Ahn (violin), Julia Park (viola), Eunice Ko (violin), Yoojin Kim (flute), and Kevin Choi (classical guitar). While from various backgrounds, we all shared a common goal, which was to share the richness of Korean music that has been shared down from generation to generation. We were very excited that the project would allow us to showcase our musical talents through Korean music. It was a great opportunity for us to produce a CD that would reflect our passion in music as well as our country. Once the deadline was fixed, though, we realized that the process of getting every member of the chamber group together amid hectic schedules, deciding and practicing on the music, and recording as our final product was surely difficult. Nonetheless, with everyone’s enthusiasm and hard work, we were able to take a beautiful recording of 7 songs that well-represent the cultural musicality of South Korea.

    Leading the team overall, Yoojin Ahn and Julia Park were in charge of arranging and organizing a time schedule so that we would have the CD in time for a tentative concert in April of 2013. As high school students, it was not an easy process in which we learned the importance of communication, especially of clarifying details and keeping everyone in the group posted through simple, daily reminders. Because there had been a few miscommunications in the beginning, the maximum number of people who came to practice at the Korean Church of Boston in Brookline was only three out of five in the first few weeks. Then when we did have an effective rehearsal – after communicating through emails, texts, and Facebook – everyone had to stay focused for about three to four hours, which involved some criticism at the time that slowly turned into praise. By reading the music as a group, we each shared musical ideas with one another, discussing what the emotion of the piece was and what articulation would help evoke it. The fair distribution of the music among five of us, moreover, allowed different songs with different styles. Because of this slow and thoughtful system, we were able to make a recording that reflected each of our characteristics in the traditional Korean music we played.
 

   On the recording day, we were indeed nervous about the minor imperfections we had not been able to fix in the last rehearsal. Furthermore, we lacked technical equipments at the actual place where we had to make the most of a podium and a small table to compensate for the two stands we had for five people. When Mr. H. Maegawa, the recording engineer whom Yoojin Ahn contacted beforehand, arrived, we got even more tensed up. However, once we eased our way into the first song, which was the national anthem of South Korea, we were able to relax and regain focus. After each take, we ran each song 2 to 4 times – especially for the last song called “Cho Lok Bada,” which was relatively shaky – in order to achieve our best although some of us were readily satisfied with how it sounded on the playback. As a result, time flew by, and we were able to finish the recording with success. Because we were under constraints of time, place, budget, and skills, we knew that we were not perfect. Perfection was not so much important as cooperation, however. The way we all worked together to push the tempo and create crescendos was something exciting and special. Ultimately, the essence of the project was not only to share Korean music with a recording, but also to manage the entire process autonomously without given guidelines that we could follow. It was indeed meaningful that we have made what we envisioned possible by communicating with each other and cooperating until the very end.
 

   As planned, we were able to finish the recording before March. Though we admit that we have some lingering regrets regarding the result, we are proud to have participated in a meaningful project that we firmly believe will contribute in our efforts to raise awareness about Korea in America.