Chairman Kang Duk-young of the Korea United Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. in Seoul co-hosted with The Korea Post a gala Year-end Concert and Dinner at its Cultural Center behind the Litz Carlton Hotel in Seoul on Dec. 26, 2013 for the ambassadors and other senior diplomats and madams. The concert was presented by the famed Sunmyung-hoe World Vision Children’s Choir in Seoul.
The World Vision Children’s Choir was formed in 1960 by the late Rev. Han Gyung-jik and Rev. Dr. Bob Pierce originally to help the widows and orphans of the Korean War (1950-53) and won various prestigious awards from around the world, including the Top Award at the ‘Let the Peoples Sing’ competition organized by the BBC in 1978.
The United Pharma Cultural Center consisted of an art gallery at the first floor, venue of the dinner, which had on display at the time dozens of paintings by established and medium-standing artists and some sculptural works by such sculptors. There was about half an hour before the dinner and the visiting ambassadors and senior diplomats with their spouses had a good opportunity to appreciate the paintings and sculptures.
At the discretion of Chairman Kang on the different palates of the visitors from various countries of the world, a buffet dinner was prepared of a good variety of food so that the guests could choose the food and beverage that met their palates.
Speaking to the guests at the dinner, Chairman Kang said: “I express my deepest gratitude to the Excellencies and Madams who are here to grace our music concert this evening. I would also like to thank The Korea Post who has provided us with various support and assistance in hosting this meeting. My sincere gratitude also goes to the leaders and members of the World Vision Children’s Choir.”
Then he said, “It is my ardent wish that this meeting will prove an occasion to look back on the year 2013 and to usher in the New Year with good health, luck and every success for all the guests.”
He also expressed hopes that “through this music concert the exchange and cooperation between the businesses of your countries and Korea will further flourish and music concert this evening will provide you with a pleasant time to be remembered for a long time, and I wish you all a bright future.”
In response to the welcome speech, Ambassador Ceferino Valdez Peralta of the Republic of Paraguay to Korea, dean of the visiting members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps that evening, said: “I feel very much honored to be invited to this Gala year end dinner and concert festival, held by the chairman of Korea United Pharmaceutical.
“I like to extend on behalf of my colleagues of the Diplomatic Corps my warmest congratulations to all organizers and my sincere appreciation for the kind invitation and for their excellent job with generosity and hospitality displayed. My thanks also to Mr. Mr. Lee Kyung Sik Publisher and Chairman of The Korea Post and his staff for his hard work.
“This joyful and pleasant festival brings together friendship and culture appreciation of from Korea United Pharmaceutical and gives us delights and the opportunity to enjoy wonderful songs by a brilliant choir of World Vision Sunmyung-hoe Children’s of Korea, who has bringing message of hope and love for children around the world since 1960 and will be directed by Professor Kim Hee Churl and we will enjoy Christmas carol, music of Han River Taryung, Arirang, Vivaldi, Henderson and others.”
Then he said that “this beautiful time of lights and white snow is a perfect occasion for us to enjoy the season’s celebrations from different countries in the spirit of friendship.”
“Finally,” he said, “on this festive occasion I wish a continuous success to Korea United Pharmaceutical and good health prosperity and happiness to everybody and your family.”
Ambassador Valdez has a special regard for Korea and has many Korean friends in the government, business circles and various other segments of Korean society out of his personal interest in the promotion of relations and friendship between Korea and Paraguay, perhaps partly due to his Korean name, Park Dae-Soo, which has phonetic resemblance to his own name, Pal De-z.
The concert consisted of three parts.
The Part I included Han-River Taryung (arr. Lee, Hyun Chul), an arrangement of Korean folk song Han River Taryung winning the '2013 Andrea O. Veneracion International Choral Festival' in Folk Song category. Using Korean traditional musical techniques and colors, it demonstrated the beauty and prosperity of Han River. There also was a fan dance emphasizing the beauty of the Han River.
Next came Surround A-Ri-Rang (arr. Lee, Sun Taek). Divided into three groups, it started with dramatically developed echoes.
Then there was one of the most famous and most frequently-sung semi-classic, Gagopa (arr. Lee, Hyun Chul). Originally composed by Kim Dong Jin, Gagopa was re-arranged to emphasize its beauty. Longing for homeland and old friends, the lyrical melody line showed the emotion of sadness and also happiness.
Starting with Nae gohyang namjjok bada (My home town in the southern sea), the song made refugees from North Korea nostalgic and get homesick as they had left North Korea to escape communist persecution remained in South unable to return to their home towns for nearly 70 years since the Korean peninsula was partitioned into two separate parts over the 38th parallel the following the end of World War II, the northern part occupied by the then USSR Red Army and the southern half by the United States Armed Forces.
The third part includes When I Sing (B. Henderson), "When you feel blue or depressed, sing a song, then you will feel much better and be happy." There were many more.
After each performance, the members of the children’s choir were accorded with warm applauses as well as the conductor and other performers such pianists and soloists.
Ambassador Manuel E. L?pez Trigo of the Republic of Costa Rica said: “Impressive! Excellent! Amazing! These are only a few of many adjectives that come to mind while remembering the extraordinary performance of the Sunmyung-hoe World Vision Children's Choir which we were fortunate enough to attend, thanks to the kind invitation of The Korea Post and Pharma Industries on December 26th. It was, indeed, a great privilege to attend this important cultural presentation, which reached great heights due to the able and harmonious combination of experienced and capable direction, beautiful voices, admirable musical execution and delicate choreography. While reiterating our most sincere thanks for the kind invitation which enabled us, and all the attendees, to enjoy such unforgettable experience, I allow myself to wish - and predict - immense satisfactions and achievements to the Sunmyung-hoe World Vision Children's Choir.”
There were many other admirers of the performances.
Charge d’Affaires Branko Marjanac of the Republic of Serbia mad the following comment on the performances of the Sunmyung-hoe Children’s Choir: “The year-end concert by the World Vision Korea Children's Choir was very pleasant and entertaining event held during the festivities season - between Christmas and New Year. Congratulations to The Korea Post and Korea United Pharm who organized and hosted this memorable concert.
“The performance of the Children's Choir was extraordinary. Everybody in the audience was quite impressed by their musicality, discipline and above all, beautiful sound of their voices. One could hardly believe that such mature and strong performance was given by young children - most of them probably still attending elementary schools.
“I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate their artistic director, Mr. Kim Hee Churl, for extraordinary job in leading and conducting this choir, as well as to commend all accompanying musicians who greatly contributed to this memorable concert.
“I wish a Happy New Year and lot of success to World Vision Korea Children's Choir in their noble mission of sharing hope, love, beauty and messages of peace throughout world.”
Another admirer, Deputy Head of Mission Shahbaz M. Malik of the Pakistani Embassy, said: “My spouse and I were very happy to attend the choir. The performance was excellent and very professional which depicted the hard work put in by the children, their instructors and the organizers.”
There were about 50 ambassadors and other senior diplomats with their spouses, who included Ambassadors Ceferino Adrian Valdez Peralta of Paraguay (with Mrs. Valdez and their son-in-law), Mohamed Salim Alharthy of Oman, Paul Menkveld of the Netherlands (with Mrs. Anna Menkveld), Vasyl Marmazov of Ukraine, Ganbold Baasanjav of Mongolia (with Mrs. Baasanjav and family), Manuel Lopez Trigo of Costa Rica (with Mrs. Marta Nunez Madriz), Nikoloz Apkhazava of Georgia, Kaman Singh Lama (with Mrs. Lama) and Mohamed Ali Nafti of Tunisia.
There also were Charge d’Affaires Branko Marjanac of Serbia (with Mrs. Nada Marjanac); Deputy Heads of Mission Bakhtier N. Ibragimov of Uzbekistan, Shahbas M. Malik of Pakistan and Nguyen Manh Dong of Vietnam; Defense Attache Brig. Gen. Guzmar Angel Gonzalez Castillo of Mexico and Investment Counsellor Mrs. Hien Thi Minh Nguyen of Vietman.
There also was a special guest, a former Cabinet Minister Mr. and Mrs. Armando Vargas Araya of Costa Rica, and another special guest, the son-in-law, of the Paraguayan ambassador. There also was a Korean special guest, Director Chang Ik-kyung of WOW TV, a TV broadcasting arm of the prestigious Korean-language business daily, Hankuk Kyungje, who also heads the Medical Editors Association of Korea.