On Saturday August 24th, I was part of a traditional Korean drum team, Y Nanta, which performed at the 7th Annual Korean Traditional Music & Arts Competition. Our team, led by our teacher Hiza Yoo, included 17 middle and high school students. The competition was held at Barnsdall Theatre, with about 34 contestants in total. The whole competition lasted from 1:00 in the afternoon to 7:30 in the evening. Our group performed second to last, so we used this time to practice and polish our act so that we were ready to go.
Throughout this event, many teams ranging from soloists to groups of 20, performed traditional Korean acts—singing, performing the Gayageum (a Korean string instrument), and many more. The contest had a panel of 10 judges featuring Myo Sun Kim, a professional Korean traditional dancer, Su Gwan Park, a professional traditional singer, and Sook Sun An, who is also a famous traditional singer and dancer. The judges voted together on the winners from 5 categories: Singing, Dancing, Instrumental Music, Percussion, and Creative Acts. They also chose one winner from the whole competition for a grand prize of $2,000 dollars. The grand winner was a 12 year-old girl named Jin Young Na, who wowed the crowd by singing an amazing Korean traditional song. Our team also performed well enough to win second place in our category of Creative Acts. After the winners were announced and the prizes were handed out, everyone got to experience a special performance from guest judges: Su Gwan Park, Young Nam Lee, and Myo Sun Kim. The first act of the performance, by Young Nam Lee, was Gyobangmu, a traditional Korean dance involving smooth movements and performed to mimic a graceful flower. To conclude the event, Su Gwan Park sang a song called “Ongheya”, which was sung in Korea to relieve hard work while threshing barley. Overall, as a Korean American, I had a great experience learning, practicing, and performing our traditional act. I was really proud to represent this Korean tradition and express it through the performance of our drums.
Jonathan Chun, 10th Grade
West Ranch High School