2019 Dallas Korean Festival
As many of you have already seen in my previous posts, I had the exciting opportunity to play as a soloist at the Dallas Korean Festival this past Saturday, November 16. I want to take a little time to share some details about my experience.
Ricky and I arrived at around 3:30 p.m. and found the festival grounds already buzzing with activity. Programming started in the morning so we missed the earliest events, but I thought it wise to conserve my energy for the performance later. After we'd arrived and scoped everything out, we settled on Korean BBQ for lunch at the Gui-Rock food stall. I had samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly) , japchae (stir-fried noodles), kimchi (fermented cabbage), and tteok-bokki (spicy rice cakes). I actually spelled all those right on the first try but don't ask me to pronounce them!
I also got an iced Thai tea but it was probably not the best choice since holding it made my hands cold, and I was not dressed warmly enough to be comfortable in the chilly weather. As it happened Ricky and I ended up going home and coming back since we live within about a ten-minute drive of the festival grounds. So I put on a sweater and huddled in a blanket for an hour, and then we made our way back to the festival.
When we arrived (again), there were dancers on stage performing traditional Korean dances in beautiful, ornamented hanbok. I didn't get many pictures during this time because I was getting ready to go on stage (and feeling the nerves because the crowd was huge!), but I DID get some cool backstage shots of Movement Korea.
This group really amped up the crowd (and me!) with a dazzling combination of traditional dance and breakdancing. I even got pulled onstage by one of the performers and spun a plate for a couple of seconds. (Not that it took any skill whatsoever on my part; he literally got it spinning and then let me hold it.)
Then it was time to go on for my own performance. Yikes. I remember thinking how thankful I was that I'd had the opportunity to practice performing on a large stage a few months ago at GrapeFest. I had been SO nervous that day, since it was to be my first time playing solo with my looper setup on a huge stage like that. I'm glad I had the opportunity to get some nerves out then.... The mental effect of stepping onto a stage like that isn't minor.
The biggest thing I remember was the way the crowd responded to me. They were SO generous. They didn't have to be so responsive to me, a total unknown who wasn't even there to perform anything remotely related to K-pop. But I felt so energized by everyone that I was "inspired to hit some high notes," as my mom put it. It was a joyful, thankful stage for me.
Truth be told, I am a very self-critical performer. (You might know that after reading previous posts.) So I was afraid to watch the video for a few days afterward, thinking that by hearing the unforgiving truth of how it *actually* went as opposed to how it went in my head, I'd be disappointed. In reality, I think it went fine. If anything, I'd say my violin playing was a bit safe. I'd like to be a bit more adventurous in the improvisation that I do. But then again, I've only been practicing improvising over the last two years or so. The fact that I dared to get up on a stage and make stuff up in front of a crowd that big is actually.... Dang, I can't believe I did that. Maybe I should've written something out beforehand???
For a full video of my performance, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkKPdL4yJEk
All said I had a terrific time and hope I have the opportunity to do it again next year. In the meantime, I have a few projects I'm working on that I look forward to discussing in future posts.
Here's to trying new things.
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