Edmonds School District to receive Korean instrument donation

The Korean American Historical Society is donating 17 Korean drums, gongs and cymbals to Edmonds School District for the Visual and Performing Arts Department’s 2012 Summer Music School.

The instruments will be formally donated at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 1, at school district headquarters in Lynnwood.

The camp will feature two p’ungmul elective classes. P’ungmul (also known as samulnori or nongak) is a genre of music and dance featuring four types of percussion instruments: ggwaeng-gwari (small gongs), janggu (hourglass drums), jing (large gongs), and buk (barrel drums). The instruments symbolize four elements of weather that are important for agriculture: thunder, rain, clouds and wind.

The p’ungmul electives will be taught by Peter Joon Park, a Ph.D. candidate in Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. Park has been performing Korean traditional music since 1995. He has taught p’ungmul as part of the Smithsonian Folkways Certification Course in World Music Pedagogy for several years and has also taught music courses at the UW, Seattle Pacific University and Pacific Lutheran University.

“This is an historic occasion because this will be the first time in Washington State that a K-12 school music program will include Korean percussion,” said Matthew Benuska, secretary/treasurer of the Korean American Historical Society, a local nonprofit heritage organization. “It is my hope that students enjoy playing this music for many years to come,” he said.

“These authentic instruments will provide an incredible opportunity for our students to experience the cultural and musical traditions of a Korean P’ungmul Ensemble,” said Scott Barnes, the district’s Visual and Performing Arts Manager. “We anticipate having two performing groups developed in our Summer Music School, and hope to continue this experience throughout the school year.”

Barnes also expressed his gratitude for the generosity and support that the Seattle-area Korean community has given this project, and looks forward to an ongoing positive relationship with that community.

The instruments are funded by a grant from the Korea Culture and Information Service, secured through the initiative of the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Seattle. They were purchased from Hanullim Instrument Company in Korea, which also donated accessories for the drums. In addition, Lynnwood-based Sheldon’s Custom Cabinets, built and donated an instrument rack for the drums.

The Summer Music School will run June 27 to July 13 for students in grades 6-12. To register for the camp, or for more information, contact Laurie Piper at 425-431-7118.

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