|The 2015 Beautiful Dream Concert, with a Message from President Park|
The Beautiful Dream Concert, with a Message from President Park
It has been nine years since NKHR’s first Beautiful Dream Concert. The Concert began as a discussion with Professor Soh Chang-rok in the spring of 2007. That discussion developed into a collaboration between the Beautiful Foundation and Ehwa Institute of Unification Studies—the founding organizations of the Beautiful Dream Concert—and eventually grew into an annual benefit concert for North Korean youth resettling in South Korea.
NKHR was extremely excited to hold the concert at the Sejong Center for Performing Arts this year, one of the most prestigious concert halls in Korea. NKHR has been fortunate to take advantage of Seoul’s rich cultural scene. Two years ago, in 2013, the Beautiful Dream Concert was held another esteemed arts venue, the Seoul Arts Center.
On the night of the concert, September 8, 2015, the 3,000-seat concert hall was nearly full to capacity. The audience was diverse and included members of Korea’s military, North Korean resettlers, NGO activists and aid workers, government officials, and media.
This year was particularly special. The President of the Republic of Korea, Geun-hye Park, presented a special message at the Beautiful Dream Concert. Although President Park was unable to attend herself, the South Korea’s Minister of Unification, Yong-pyo Hong, delivered the message on her behalf. She expressed her gratitude for the courageous North Korean youth came to South Korea. Her message conveyed not only her support to North Korean youth, but showed the important role South Korean must play in the path toward unification. (Read the message here.)
With a performance by South Korean musicians from the 1970s and 1980s April & May, the concert began with classic folk songs from Korea’s recent history. The songs brought back warm memories for many in the audience. NKHR also screened a short film about Sung-ju Lee, a North Korean resettler who overcame many challenges both in North Korea and after he arrived in South Korea. Sung-ju is now enrolled in a master’s program in the U.K. NKHR’s programs for North Korean youth—funded in part by the Beautiful Dream Concert—helped Sung-ju achieve his dream of graduating from university and attending graduate school abroad. The concert also featured thoughtful classical music selections by the Nolraon Orchestra, led by conductor Hee Tae Seo. The Nolraon Orchestra closed the concert with a version of ‘Arirang,’ a classic Korean folk song about the long history of pain and suffering on the Korean peninsula.
From ticket sales and generous donations, NKHR raised 174,447,920 Korean won (roughly 150,000 USD) to support NKHR’s programs for North Korean youth. NKHR expresses its sincerest gratitude to everyone who attended the concert and supported NKHR. Thank you also to all the supporters and volunteers who helped make the concert a success.
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