[HY ERICA] “Love Stretched Out through Music” - Choi Ah-im
KBS National Singing Contest grand prize winner, Choi Ah-im (Department of Applied Music, vocal major 18)
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Hanyang University student, Choi Ah-im (Department of Applied Music, vocal major 18) received the grand prize at the ‘KBS National Singing Contest’ in commemoration of the first anniversary of the 4·27 North-South Joint Statement held on April 23rd in the city of Paju, Gyunggi-do. Choi passed the 32 to 1 competition rate of the preliminary round and sang ‘raguyo (라구요)’ passionately during the final round.
65 teams out of the 485 who applied passed the 2nd preliminary round of 15 teams who stood on the final stage, culminating with Choi receiving the top prize after singing Kang San-ae's ‘raguyo.’ She did not expect to be rewarded, so it was a pleasant surprise for her. “I was satisfied that I had enjoyed the competition, unlike previous ones. I did not expect to be awarded since there were many excellent participants, but it is an honor that I made great memories and received a huge award,” stated Choi.
The process from the preliminary rounds to the final round recall the ‘National Singing Contest’ episode from the drama, ‘Reply 1988.’ Choi felt the same vividness and fun as in the drama. It was more of a harmonious place that everyone, regardless of their generation, enjoyed, rather than as a competition. It was a place where they respectively emitted their talents and gathered together as one community to enjoy music. Choi enjoyed the long waiting time thanks to the stages prepared by other participants and the witty eloquence of the judges. She said, “I saw the performances of other participants as I was waiting for my turn, and everyone seemed happy. I tried to enjoy the experience as well, as it was difficult to feel the value of that moment if you only value the greed of prize money or the award.”
Choi introduced her grandmother as a fan of the National Singing Contest who watches the show live on a weekly basis. She chose to participate as soon as she received the news that the National Singing Contest would be held in Paju-si, to make her grandmother happy. With the passion to prepare a meaningful stage in line with her aim, she chose Kang San-ae's ‘raguyo (라구요)’. There is a passage where you can peek at the musical aspect in her.
“I selected Kang San-ae's ‘raguyo,’ which deals with the pain of separated families in the hopes of reunification. I practiced at the school practice room whenever I had time and inside my father’s moving car.” All the family members were delighted at the unexpected award. Choi brought the grand prize medal to her grandmother who was overjoyed.
Choi Ah-im, the grand prize winner of the competition, stated that she joined for someone else. She made the big decision to donate all the prize money. She wanted to spend the prize money to help those in need within the region, with the thought of her father who works in the public office for the development of Paju-si. The prize money was donated for the needy through the Community Chest of Korea.
The word, ‘competition’ makes us intense. The ambition for results deepens as fierce as we have become. But isn’t the moment itself more important than the result? Through this experience, Choi earned, not honor nor prize money, but a happy experience. She contributed to, not just her own growth, but to the development of community.
What kind of singer would Choi dream of. She let us know that she wants to not stop after the National Singing Contest but gradually grow through this experience. She added, “I want to be a strong singer who can sing good music for a long while, and be the consolation or support that those who are exhausted can rely on.”
** The broadcast in which Choi Ah-im made an appearance can be replayed through the KBS National Singing Contest official site.
(Link / from 23 minute)
*This content was published after a partial revision of the interview from the ERICA campus magazine, ‘HY ERICA’ 2019 Fall Edition.
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