A Summer to Remember

First an explanation: After a not so brief encounter with cyber stalking (for lack of a better term) I decided to take a step back from publicly detailing my life. I didn’t abandon social networks but I did decide to put the blog on hiatus for a while and kept in touch with only a few people. Now that ties have been cut as extensively as possible with said stalker, for a couple of months, I’m feeling nervous, yet comfortable enough to continue the tale of my marvelous life here in Korea.

It was spring time when I last wrote, and now summer – my first summer in 18 months – has come and gone. My poor skin didn’t know how to handle the pressure and left me sun-ripened for a couple of weeks after climbing Halla-san, South Korea’s tallest mountain, and lazing  about on Jeju island:

I also made my (assistant) directorial debut for the farce “Rumors!” by Neil Simon, which turned out to be a fantastic success and learning experience. Furthermore I wrote and conducted my own arrangement of “geek” songs, after a commission from the council of Alleycon 2014, a western style comic convention in Gwangju:

Gwangju, as I’m sure you have noticed has become my second home in Korea and I’m happy to announce that I will be moving there in just 7 weeks. 99% of my friends live in Gwangju and my “second job”, managing a choir/performing arts organisation, is centred there. Whilst working full-time next year I will also be studying a Master of Applied Linguistics online, with a part in literature, so that I can eventually come back to study Science and English education. After the stress of the last few months defined goals for my career, savings, and life in Korea have done wonders for my health, mentally and physically.

I won’t write anymore today. I just wanted to get back into the swing of it. My friend Anna and I are intending to blog once a day in November for the blogging version of nanowrimo (na-no-blog-mo). I’m sure I will have lots to write as my latest project is directing a cabaret and dessert night to be held at the end of November. I don’t have to time to pause and that’s just how I like it!

Oh yeah. I’m also in a rock band and was in a k-pop contest winning team. lol.

Rumors and K-pop contest photo credit to R. Kojic; choir to L. Crone

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Adventures in Choral Gwangju

Those of you who know me well, know that it doesn’t take long  for me to find a project, or five, related to the arts. So it was, that I found myself becoming a “Player” (committee member) of the Gwangju Performance Project and starting a choir under that umbrella with a girl Caitlin, who has become a dear friend. This all happened rather fast, I had been planning to start a choir once play rehearsals were up and running, yet after Caitlin posted on Facebook asking whether a choir existed, I knew I had to get the ball running fast.

Approximately a month ago we had our first rehearsal. I’d planned a bunch of fun, easy pieces to get our new members excited and ready to create the relaxed Saturday afternoon activity we wanted. Of course, this is Korea. “Easing into it” is not a well known concept.

It didn’t start well. Stepping into a taxi I slipped and sprained my ankle worse than I had since my dancing days, and I ended up being late for the rehearsal! About 5 minutes after I finally arrived, Dr Shin of the Gwangju International Center walked in holding an ominous looking score. He asked us whether we would be interested in performing with the Hoshin Choir (a semi-professional choir in Gwangju) for the May Concert. My face fell; everyone else’s lit up. I was terrified; they were excited. Dr Shin gave me a 35 page score of Korean patriotic songs I had never heard and told me to conduct. I… stumbled through it. For a month we practiced these pieces, not really knowing if we were doing the right thing because we wouldn’t meet the Hoshin conductor until about a week before the concert.

I became an invigorated, stressed out, sleepless being. I was determined that we would get these pieces down. Terrified that we would fail; confident that we wouldn’t.

A week before the concert we discovered that we were to sing almost the entire score in Korean rather than the provided translation! I was also told that I was to sing the opening solo – in Korean!

After a month of pushing these poor choristers to their limits, the concert day arrived. It was an incredible event. A host of classically trained musicians performed throughout the evening and we were to close the concert. I must say, I’m not sure I’ve ever been prouder of myself or others. If anyone would like to see a video of the performance, just send me a message and I’ll send it along.

On Friday, for the first time in a month, I managed to clean, hang out the laundry, wash the dishes and prepare a meal at home. I was even able to test my ankle out with a short jog after work. I’ve been going non-stop. Even on my recent holiday to the East Coast of Korea, I had itchy feet and felt the need to keep moving. It may sound tiresome to some, and it is, but I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.

I’m starting to think I’ve landed on my feet.

It's all a farce.

It’s all a farce.