By Sgt. Sung Il Choi (IMCOM)July 16, 2012
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- Enormous rich sounds coming from an orchestra wooed Community members on U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, July 11. The Empire State Youth Orchestra made a visit to the garrison to share their love for music and deep gratitude for the Servicemembers, Families and Civilians serving on the Korean peninsula.
What was surprising about this orchestra was that the performers were young musicians ranging from ages 13 to 18.
ESYO reached a global audience by visiting China and Korea during their first Asia tour. As the ambassadors for American culture and universal music culture, ESYO performers put on shows at the Yeosu World Expo and on Sorok Island. Yongsan garrison was their final destination to hold their concert.
Helen Cha-Pyo, director and conductor of ESYO proudly announced how emotionally attached she was to perform for the Servicemembers in South Korea.
Pyo recounted the story of her dad, who as a teenager had been evacuated into a church with other Korean villagers during the Korean War. Although they were in danger, the U.S. Army had come to their rescue, allowing them to live through the devastating war.
"My dad has often reminded me that I wouldn't be standing here and my brother and nephew wouldn't also be serving as U.S. Soldiers, had he not survived the war," Pyo said.
Having received first place in the youth orchestra division and providing 30 public performances each season, ESYO has trained its crew of highly talented young musicians with quality music lessons. The 85 talented performers taking part in the Asia tour showed their skill and harmony through their masterful performances.
Community members including members of Good Neighbor Program and Yongsan-gu Civilians who filled the concert hall to experience the professional performance gave a standing ovation when the last ensemble ended.
"Thank you so much to the Yongsan Community and for your hospitality," said Susan Brome, executive director for ESYO. "How amazingly grateful we are to them for what the Soldiers do for us and for the rest of the world. To see them all here, it is very moving."