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Choir festival hopes to boost companionship among multicultural youth

2021 Huddling Youth Choir Festival calls for new members

Choir groups together perform during the Huddling Youth Choir Festival. (HuddlingTV)
Choir groups together perform during the Huddling Youth Choir Festival. (HuddlingTV)
The 5th Huddling Youth Choir Festival is calling for applications from individuals or teams.

The multicultural festival first took place in 2017, with hopes of bringing together youth from different cultural backgrounds through music.

“The act of huddling symbolizes community awareness, togetherness, and consideration,” Shim Eun-sook, Chief Art Director for the festival during told The Korea Herald. “This matched our aim of the Huddling Choir Fest, to lead youth to change their social perceptions and stigma on different cultural backgrounds. The process of developing harmony in singing needs both self-confidence and appreciation towards others.”

The festival’s name is a reference to the way emperor penguins cope with the harsh cold of Antarctica, where temperatures often plummet below minus 30 degrees Celsius.

The penguins take turns while huddling together in packed groups: at times staying inside the pack, then moving outside for others to come in, to maintain their body temperatures and shield their eggs against the cold winds.

Training is offered, though it might not be in the usual large camp format, and the festival also hopes to encourage a sense of companionship within the groups as they prepare for the event.

“Though we have yet decided whether to open an offline training camp as we are closely watching the situation of pandemic, online mentoring sessions are all set up, so that participants can keep in track of progress no matter which region they are residing in,” Shim said, explaining that creating an environment for youth from different parts of the nation to mingle together is the first step in breaking barriers.

The 4th Huddling Youth Choir Festival held last year, consisted of 330 participants in 33 different teams. With the spread of pandemic at its peak, the final concert in March was held without audience, and live-streamed at KBS hall. After the concert, multiple broadcasters and social media outlets have highlighted the journey of the choir teams.

Hosted by The Bright Youth corporation and co-sponsored by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, the festival expects to recruit some 250 participants with 25 different teams this year. A single team should consist of 10 members or fewer, with an age range of from the 4th year of elementary school to the 3rd year of middle school. Individual entrants should have multicultural backgrounds, as should at least half of a team’s members.

This year, the training sessions are expected to be partially held online, with in-person coaching sessions twice a week with choir experts. The overall preparation process, along with the concert will consecutively be filmed and aired as a documentary. The final concert is scheduled to be held on January next year, at the Seoul Arts Center’s main concert hall. For the three winning teams, certificates and scholarships will be given by the education minister.

Meanwhile, according to Multicultural Family Support Center, Danuri, as of April, the number of children from multicultural families have reached 264,000 domestically, which is nearly a threefold increase from a decade ago. Considering the nation’s number of children under age of 19 amounts to 8.76 million, 3 percent are from multicultural families.

Applications are accepted form May 10 to July 15 through yoursecenter@hanmail.net, and results will be announced July 19 on website, www.huddlingtv.com.

By Kim Hae-yeon (hykim@heraldcorp.com)
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