Four male singers suddenly pop on to the stage, giving a confident look at the audience sitting in the Welch-Ryang Auditorium during Chapel. They introduce themselves as F10 (Father 10), a parody of F4, the main characters of a soap opera called Men over Flower. They then begin singing “I am a flowers man.”
At first, students looked stunned by the sudden appearance of the singers as well as the somewhat odd choice of song. Soon, however, the students start to clap and laugh in excitement as they realize that those four males are their professors. The group, who always show up with guitars and microphones to sing for students at school events is the only male professors’ choir, Snow White and Obbas was given by Chaplain Park Won-gi in 1997.
Snow White and Obbas was first formed in 1997, when several male professors of Ewha decided to create a choir, after realizing their harmony sounded quite good. The unique name Snow White and Obbas was given by Chaplain Park Won-gi in 1997.
“Because there were seven members and a very beautiful graduate student majoring in piano, Chaplain Park named us that way at first to make a joke, but we thought it was a creative name, and decided to keep it” said Professor Kim Dong-keun (Chaplain’s office).
In addition to the seven original members of Snow White and Obbas, three additional members were added including Professor Park Seung-soo (Computer Science & Engineering) as the leader, Park Shin-hwa (Music), Woo Won-seok (International Studies), Lee Jong-mok (Korean Painting), Chang Yoon-jae (Christian Studies), Cho Duck-hyun (Painting), Chin Seung-kwon (Sociology), Chae Ki-joon (Computer Science & Engineering), Hong Jong-pil (Media Studies), Hwang Gyu-ho (Education), Kim Dong-keun (Chaplain’s office), and Joo Hee-jung (Graduate School of Music) as accompanist.
“We gather not just when we get to perform but socialize and have fun during vacation or holidays. We go to karaoke to practice and have fun at the same time,” said Professor Park Seung-soo.
“But sometimes, as we always try very hard to make it perfect, it gives us some hard moments. By those practices allowed us to have special recitals at hospitals for patients,” added Kim with a candid laughter.
As the result of such regular practices, Snow White and Obbas has already had two regular concerts solely on their own, and they have frequent performances at school events such as entrance ceremony and chapels.
“One special memory we share is when we sang a song with singer Lee Moon-sae. It was a good opportunity for us,” added Park.
Snow White and Obbas is also very enthusiastic in choosing what songs to perform—songs include from jazz, popular songs and gospel, they never hesitate to give a new genre a try. There is no difficulty in choosing the song, but once a song has been chosen, getting the musical score becomes the source of pressure for the members.
“We mainly get music score from Professor Park Shin-hwa, or we try to get it ourselves when we have opportunity to go abroad,” added Kim. After the score has been prepared, members take it to the next level when they go on the stage to perform in front of audiences.
“It really is just so tense!” said Kim. “We sometimes have to change the songs 10 minutes before the performance, which gives us shivers through our veins.”
However, students only see professionalism in professors’ performance. “I first saw the coir at the entrance ceremony and saw them again at Chapel. At first, I did not know who they were or what they were doing. But after I realized that they were the professors, I really thought they were good, professional and entertaining,” said Kang Hye-ri (Media, 1)
To further enhance their skills and tighten their bonds with each other, they prepare family music summer camps. “Once, we went to Maseok in Gagnwon province to have a special camp with members of our families. We were supposed to have fun outside instead of practicing, but just when we got there, rain started to pour for the entire day, and as a result, we had to stay in and practice all day long [laughter].”
“If time and space allows us, then we are more than willing to perform for Ewha and students. We try to break away from our normal life as professors at school teaching students. By singing songs and dancing, we try to get closer to Ewha students,” said Park.