Though it is easy to assume that the issue of utmost importance for a group of professional cellists is to perform outstanding music, Ewha Celli seeks to do more than just that. Wherever a concert is held, Ewha Celli always interacts with their audience afterwards and reaches out to the helpless and needy.
“When we perform at a nursing home for the disabled, we help them with their activities and spend time with them afterwards,” said Yoon So-jung (Orchestral Instruments, 4), the semi-leader of Ewha Celli. “Sometimes, we even practice and bring recorders to the children in foreign countries as gifts.”
These acts of sharing are part of what Ewha Celli founder and professor Bae consider “donating one’s talent,” a rightful and necessary step to contributing to building a better society. The special bond they develop with their audience is even more pronounced among its members.
“Once someone becomes a cello major at Ewha, she is automatically added to the Ewha Celli family,” said Shin Ji-hye (Orchestral Instruments, 4), a member of Ewha Celli. “Since the cello department receives only five new students each year, everybody naturally develops a close-knit relationship, and Ewha Celli comes to mean a big part of one’s school life.”
Their fondness is also evident in the way they address professor Bae; as Bae-sam, which is short for the word seon-saeng-nim (teacher), implying more intimacy and friendliness compared to the word “professor.”
As much as the Ewha Celli members love sharing their talents and meeting new faces around the world, Yoon and Shin admit that sometimes the special attention instruments require and and the inevitable circumstances of travelling abroad do not go together so well. The two then pointed to their recent performance in Yanbian as the most disastrous episode ever.
Knowing the harsh conditions instruments are placed in during flights, Ewha Celli members usually bring their second best instruments when they perform abroad. But the members were notified ahead of time that the Yanbian concert would be an important one, and decided to take their best instruments.
Unfortunately, murky and unstable weather greeted Ewha Celli in China, and once the performance began, they were pelted by fat raindrops. Having never let their instruments be exposed to such a crude and unmeasured environment, Ewha Celli and Bae-sam were just plain shocked.
“We were caught between the urge to dart off the stage with our cellos and the sense of duty to finish performing for the audience,” Yoon said.
“We somehow reached a mutual agreement and managed to stick through with the performance, but after the concert, all of us remained speechless for a pretty long timeThen the first thing we did upon our return to Korea was to stop by the instrument shop.”
In addition to performing and lending a helping hand to their community, the group also records and releases albums of their music. Recently, Ewha Celli released its second album “Share the Love.” In sync with Ewha Celli’s motive, “Share the Love” is a project to help famished children, and all the profits will be donated to Korea Food for the Hungry International.
Now heading into their final year at Ewha, Yoon and Shin are not certain what lies in store for their careers and future lives. However, both are confident that the cello will always remain as a companion on their road through the years, thanks to what they have learned and gained through Ewha Celli.
“Performing and sharing as one of the Ewha Celli members was not always easy. However, through this experience, I have learned the meaning and importance of donating my talent, and every moment of it remains a continuous replay of love that I want to remember forever,” Shin said.