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Korean and foreign envoys perform charity concert

Korean and foreign envoys perform charity concert

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Published : 2013-12-29 19:58
Updated : 2013-12-29 20:39

New Zealand Ambassador to South Korea Patrick Rata (second from right) on guitar jams with The New Zealand Embassy Band and Friends during a charity concert at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul on Dec. 13.
(Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a charity concert with the diplomatic corps that showcased a multicultural array of talent and amity among South Korean and foreign envoys and their families in Seoul on Dec. 13.

Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Paraguayan Ambassador to South Korea Ceferino Valdez, who is also deputy dean of the Diplomatic Corps, opened the holiday event with heartfelt speeches that lauded multiculturalism and promoted the spirit of charity during the holiday season.

“This joyful and pleasant occasion brings together our global heritage with various forms of artistic expressions, and gives us the delightful opportunity to enjoy them and to promote cultural exchange,” Valdez said. “This is a meaningful event that goes beyond a mere concert, because it also promotes mutual awareness, understanding and appreciation for different cultures.”

As many as 50 foreign envoys and their families attended the event. Even U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim, who almost never attends foreign diplomatic community-wide functions, could be seen mingling with the other foreign envoys at the event and soaking up the ample holiday cheer.

Scores of Foreign Service officers from South Korea and nations around the world charmed a packed house with their musical acumen at an auditorium inside the foreign ministry building in downtown Seoul.

Johannes Regenbrecht, deputy head of mission of the German Embassy, played movements from Bach. Families of half a dozen diplomats from the Bangladeshi Embassy here regaled the audience with traditional music and costumes from the South Asian nation.

But it was the New Zealand Embassy and Friends Band that included Ambassador Patrick Rata and his No. 2, Deputy Head of Mission John Denis Riley, that may have stolen the show with knockdown renditions of both South Korean and Western pop tunes.

Diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs proved South Korea’s Foreign Service has got talent, too.

Diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs put together a really cool blues band and a tight jazz band: The Uncrossable River, a blues band composed of six South Korean diplomats, and Mo’ Better Blues, which played the Branford Marsalis Quartet song “Mo’ Better Blues,” which was featured in the eponymous 1990 Spike Lee film.

The money that the charity concert raised will go to the Community Chest of Korea’s Hope 2014 Sharing Campaign, said an official at the foreign ministry.

By Philip Iglauer (ephilip2011@heraldcorp.com)

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