June 14th, 2024

Korean family lending musical talent to patient performances

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on December 10, 2022.

Herald photos by Al Beeber Sebin Cho performs on cello with his mom Youngim Song on piano and sister Soobin Cho on violin (not pictured) Friday in the atrium at Chinook Regional Hospital.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

A volunteer music program at Chinook Regional Hospital is providing comforting sounds for patients, visitors and staff.

The ongoing program called Music in the Atrium, run by Volunteer Resources, has about 15 musicians coming regularly to the hospital to perform in the atrium and on different floors.

One group of musicians is a family from Korea who play classical music every Friday in the atrium from noon until 1 p.m.

The trio consists of teenagers Sebin Cho on cello, sister Soobin on violin and their mom Youngim Song on piano. The three along with father and husband Ikjin Cho emigrated to Canada late last year.

Song has played piano for more than 30 years, 15-year-old Sebin told media Friday after the group performed. Soobin, 17, has played violin for about eight years while Sebin has performed on the cello for six.

Sebin said the whole family is deeply involved in music and has a “great love” for it.

The family thought volunteering at the hospital would be a good idea.

“We just wanted to kind of spread the love to the patients who are in the hospital,” Sebin said.

“I love music as much as my mom does. Learning from her and playing with her, performing with her is really an enjoyable experience with me because we’re all really passionate about music,” he added.

Music is like a language that people can interpret in their own way, the cellist said.

“Everyone can understand it,” he said.

Playing at the hospital is a chance to bring comfort to patients and their families, the young musician added.

Volunteer Resources co-ordinator Filomena LaPorte-Packer said the family has been performing at the hospital since September and will be playing Christmas Eve in the atrium. They will also be back next Friday.

She said before the pandemic hit, a few musicians did perform in the atrium but everything was halted during restrictions.

A lot of musicians decided not to come back and a year ago, the hospital tried to build a pool of them to play.

“It’s been so wonderful to have people step up from the community and want to serve the community by sharing their talents,” LaPorte-Packer added.

“People have enjoyed it so much,” she said with the program getting great feedback.

The music program started in the summer and picked up speed in September. A notice posted on the piano in the atrium shows who is scheduled to perform.

In December, there is at least one person playing each day.

The Cho family heard the hospital was looking for musicians, she said.

“They’re wonderful, they’re just so great.”

People interested in joining the program can contact the hospital and speak to the volunteer resources department.

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