From the 2015 ACDA National Conference in Salt Lake City
Review of the Ansan City Choir, directed by Dr. Shin-Hwa Park
Friday the Ansan City Choir from South Korea, performed in Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City. Sporting colorful, flowing costumes, the choir entered and sang a delightfully eclectic program to an appreciative audience.
Sanctus by Frank Martin
Agnus Dei by Francis Poulenc
The Fisherman's Song by Ji-Hun Park
Arirang traditional folk song arr. by Kyu-Yung Chin
The Martin and Poulenc were sung with high sensitivity by the choir, which numbers around forty singers. It was nice to hear some mid-twentieth century repertoire, as the focus so much lately at ACDA conferences has been so heavily on American works from about 1995 to the present.
The Fisherman's Song, in seven short movements, paints the passion and, at times, grief and struggle of generations of Korean fishermen and their families. Though the struggle at this difficult life is a big part of the story here, the music often shines brightly as the fishermen sail joyously on the sea and dream of catching epic numbers of fish. This was a highly evocative piece which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The concert concluded with the ubiquitous Arirang, yet this arrangement developed the old chestnut into a sort of theme and variations, all choreographed with imagination and supple movements by the graceful singers. When I saw Arirang on the program I winced a bit, having heard it a million times. But this was a very fresh new take, spinning out over ten minutes or so, and the audience ate it up like candy.