Envoys’ spouses sing for the benefit of charityOn Tuesday night, ambassadors to Korea and their spouses from 52 nations held a party, labeled the “Parade of Nations.” The dinner and concert were hosted by Diplomatic Community, a group of spouses of ambassadors to Korea.
The group decided to donate the proceeds from the event to the 100 Won-a-Day Association, the Planting Love Association and the Korean Leukemia & Child Cancer Society.
“We feel there is no better way to reciprocate the generous hospitality and friendship shown to us by the Korean people than by giving a helping hand to some of those less fortunate in society,” said Yolanda F. de Ungo, the doyenne, or senior member, of Diplomatic Community and the spouse of Ambassador of El Salvador, at the opening remarks. She added that she believes such sharing would make the world just a little better.
“Ambassadors are the representatives of nations, so we, their spouses, decided to hold such charity event to try to help the ambassadors,” Ms. Ungo told the JoongAng Daily. She organized the event after becoming the doyenne of the community last year. It was the group’s second such event.
In Soon-i, a Korean singer who performed at the opening, said that she would also donate her paycheck for the night to the charity.
At the party, Diplomatic Community granted the wardship of Goodwill Commissioner to Kim Young-tae, chairman of the Daesung Group. The award goes to the biggest sponsor of Diplomatic Community.
During the dinner, the audience enjoyed traditional music and dances from Russia, Lebanon, Argentina, China, Uzbekistan and Nigeria, and at the gala concert, Delfin Colome, Spanish Ambassador to Korea, played jazz on the piano. Tim Strong, the husband of New Zealand Ambassador Jane Coombs and a professional jazz singer, sang “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” accompanying Naomi Midhadi, who played the piano. Ms. Midhadi, the wife of the Qatari Ambassador, also played a solo piano piece ― “Greeting Korea” ― that she had composed.
The show was followed by a joint concert of the night’s drummer, Alexander Vershbow, U.S. envoy to Seoul and the Mofat Band, a musical group comprising members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
They were scheduled to sing only two songs, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones. But in the middle of the concert, Mr. Vershbow said the band would sing “Back in USSR,” joking that it was a suggestion from U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.
For the finale of the “Parade of Nations,” ambassadors and their spouses from 52 nations came upon the stage and sang “Arirang,” a Korean traditional song, to Mr. Prince’s piano accompaniment under the baton of Mr. Colome.
by Park Sung-ha