The night started with a K-pop cover. A UW-Milwaukee student covered Gashina by Sunmi. In this performance, she danced to the music, which is different than most covers. Most covers involve singing but dance is a big part of Korean pop culture.
Korea Day is a celebration of culture. The Korean culture is filled with food, music and art.
Every year, UW-Milwaukee celebrates Korean culture by hosting UWM Korea day. This year UWM Korea Day was hosted by the UWM Korean professors and Korean American Association of Milwaukee. The event took place at the Helen Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts. There were numerous cultural events which included, K-Pop, Taekwondo, and a Korean percussion performance.
K-pop is Korean Pop music that originated in South Korea. K-pop reaches a world-wide audience. It combines elements of song, dance and rap. Korean pop uses audio-visual elements and draws inspiration from a range of styles and genres.
A part of K-pop is using catchy dances that fans learn and recreate. Popular K-pop artists are EXO, BTS, Red Velvet, Got7 and BlackPink. Korean pop has recently become popular in America due to the group BTS winning their first award at the Billboard Music Awards.
Nia Twaddle, a High School student who attended the event says, “My favorite parts were the K-pop covers because I enjoy listening Korean pop.” Nia is a student at Rufus King High school but says she likes to come to events at UWM. Nia also said, “My favorite K-pop artist is EXO.”
UW-Milwaukee is a campus with about 27,000 people. Each person has a different story, background and culture. According to UWM’S 2016-17 Facts and Impact statement, the campus has about 1,500 international students and that number is constantly growing. Those students come from 89 countries.
UW-Milwaukee’s foreign language program has 11 languages and 9 majors. The Korean program is UWM’s fastest growing foreign language program.
The second event at Korea Day was a presentation about studying abroad in Korea. UWM gives many opportunities for students to venture out and study different cultures. There are two universities that UWM partners with.
UWM offers international academic opportunities for students. The Center for International Education provides students with the information they need to get involved with studying abroad. There are more than 170 study abroad programs that UWM offers. Students have the opportunity to choose from 35 countries and 108 cities.
The third event was a cultural demonstration. The Cho’s Martial Arts company gave a taekwondo performance. Cho’s Martial Arts has schools all over the United States.
Taekwondo is a physical, mental and spiritual workout. The group is made up of students of all ages who practice very hard. Taekwondo teaches strength and patience. Their demonstration included board breaking and a series of sets that they must perform correctly without hesitation. Taekwondo is very similar to kickboxing. The class also performed high jumps and other special moves.
Their master, Master Corey McClure is a world recognized and a certified 5th degree Black Belt.
The final cultural event was a presentation of traditional percussion performance. Students were traditionally dressed and used cultural instruments to perform music. The drums echoed throughout the concert hall.
People at the event got to enjoy a taste of Korean food. The meal included traditional sushi, Korean BBQ and rice cakes. Cupcakes were also provided. Over 100 people gathered after the event to enjoy food and view artwork by students. Traditional food in Korea are vegetable dishes, rice cakes and noodles.
After award-winning violinist Bomsori Kim performed with the UW Symphony Orchestra at the ticketed event that took place after the free celebration.
Bomsori Kim is the winner of the ARD music competition and the youngest prize winner of the fourth Sendai international music competition.
A UWM student, Gekayla Telford said, “UWM is such a big place and it feels good to know that they hold space for different cultures.”
UWM celebrates many cultures throughout the school year. You can visit the UWM events page for up to date information on scheduled events.