Ewha Woman's University's College of Music hosted its first concert titled “Concert for Peace” in front of the Russian Embassy on March 21 to support Ukraine amid the Russian invasion, which began on Feb. 24, 2022.
Led by Professor Bai Il-hwan from Ewha’s College of Music, the concert is held every weekday from 12:30 p.m. and lasts around 30 minutes if the weather permits. Professor Bai and his student performers plans to continue the weekday concert until the end of the war in Ukraine.
While the majority of the performers are students and alumni of Ewha’s College of Music, students from the Department of Orchestral Instruments and Department of Korean Music also held relay performances with Professor Bai.
Professor Bai believes the role of music is to draw the audience’s attention to social problems, give comfort to many people as possible, and provide a heartwarming experience. He expressed his gratitude to members of Ewha Celli and Ewha Daum, musical charity clubs of Ewha consisting of cellos and musical instruments with vocals respectively, who voluntarily joined him to perform at the concert. He also gave special thanks to the police and staff of Ewha’s College of Music who helped secure a concert venue.
“As a child, my parents told me to help others if I had what they did not, whether it be wealth, talent, time, or simply anything,” Professor Bai said.
Based on his parents’ teachings and his belief in the role of music, Bai has organized volunteer performances throughout his life. He organized and took part in various charity concerts for children, people with disabilities, and for refugees in camps in Syria and Pakistan. Bai emphasized the immeasurable joy he could earn by delivering hope and happiness through music and highlighted the significance of the interaction between individuals and the society in forming an ideal community.
Bai shared his most memorable moment from the concerts, which was when one citizen provided Ukrainian-flag-imprinted face masks to wear during the concert, as well as when the audience remained to support the concert despite the rainy weather.
“Of course, my fondest wish is to be able to end the concert as soon as possible,” Bai said. “This can only be done with the end of the war, and so I wish there to be more kindness in the world.”
Lim Sang-ha, a member of Ewha Celli, is one of the student performers in the Concert for Peace. Lim frequently shares her thoughts on various issues with Professor Bai, and during a talk they had regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Lim was asked if she wanted to partake in a concert for Ukraine. Their discussion brought about Lim’s firm resolution to join the Concert for Peace.
Because the performance takes place only on weekdays, Lim found it difficult to balance her personal schedule with cello practice as concert days overlapped with her existing schedules. Nevertheless, as she prepared for the concert, Lim realized that she was lending a portion of her days in exchange for an extraordinary experience to show support for Ukraine.
When Lim first performed in the Concert for Peace, her biggest wish was to bring comfort to the suffering Ukrainian people with the orchestra’s music. While doing so, Lim witnessed people on the streets stopping by to hear her music, shedding tears, and expressing their gratitude.
“I am aware that a musical performance itself does not have the power to stop a war,” Lim said. “But music does have the power to console people. Through Ewha’s Concert for Peace, I hope we can send our hearts out to the people who need comfort.”