On Wednesday evening, I performed for U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo at their private dinner meeting at the U.S. Institute of Peace here in Washington.
His Excellency Han Min-koo was here to attend the 46th Security Consultative Meeting at the Pentagon.
I was asked to include music to help reduce tensions between the two countries and to symbolize friendship. Before I performed, I joined 40 or so officials and guests from both South Korea and the United States for dinner at the Institute of Peace.
I was born in South Korea but moved to the US when I was 10. I am now a US Citizen and knew which side of the table to sit on!
I spoke softly and respectfully or even refrained from talking to fit into the serious atmosphere at this elegant dinner.
I started to relax when I finished my first piece. And after I played “That’s What Friends Are For,” people were smiling, clapping and talking. Even U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was joking with the guests...
Written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager and first recorded in 1982 by my idol Rod Stewart, “That’s What Friends Are For” is better known today for the version by Dionne Warwick and Friends.
Music and the arts can bridge the differences between people and cultures. Ideas and opinions flow more easily through the language of music and culture. I’m proud to have contributed to the peace talks between U.S. and South Korea through my music.