Heartful, the annual Korean Culture Night celebrating Korean-American talent and culture, is fast approaching. Held on Wednesday night at Freeborn Hall, the event is a collaborative effort put on by the UC Davis Korean American Student Association and UCD Sigma Kappa Rho.
The show will feature various campus organizations, as well as popular up- and- coming artists from all around the nation. Some performers include MK Modern, the UC Davis hip-hop dance team, Fong Tran, Ben and the Shooting Stars and Mickey Cho. The headliners are Dumbfoundead and Clara C. Most of the headliners will be singing, but there will also be dance, spoken word and comedy. The event will encompass everything in the media -related to Korean Americans today.
Kenny Kato, a junior in Sigma Kappa Rho, was one of the main organizers of the event. For him, getting artists to perform was a way to reach out to the students at UC Davis.
“It’s geared more towards the younger crowd which is basically the college age group,” Kato said. “That’s the reason why we wanted to do KCN. Part of it is to focus on that age group, the new generation of Korean Americans today. It’s showing them that if these people can do it, you can do the same thing from where you are.”
There is a VIP ticket available that allows people to see the program from the first row and meet the artists after the show. However, this isn’t the main reason for the show. The key motive for putting on the event is to fundraise.
All of the proceeds from the show will be donated to the LiNK organization, which stands for Liberty in North Korea. This is one of the only full- time grassroots organizations dedicated to helping North Korean refugees and offering them humanitarian aid. They provide protection to North Korean refugees hiding in China, and by utilizing a modern-day underground railroad throughout Southeast Asia, they rescue refugees and help them reach freedom. Also, a portion of the proceeds will go to the Japan Earthquake relief fund.
“We can’t stress enough how much it is about the cause. As cool as it is to see all these artists and things like that, it’s always important to remind ourselves of why we’re doing it and not to get caught up,” Kato said.
Making the show a fundraiser for LiNK will also help inform people about the cause and the dire situation in North Korea. As Kato was making the Facebook page for the event, he wanted to include a history section, and it struck him how much people don’t’ know about the situation.
“It just takes a few statistics to realize and come to grips with what’s going on over there,” Kato said.
Planning the event has been both a challenge and a learning experience. Financing the event has been a major obstacle. It has been an eye opener to the organizers about what is available on campus and what is not.
Two student organizations, UC Davis KASA and Sigma Kappa Rho, collaborated to put on the event, and they’ve been able to make it more elaborate than any of the previous years. In the past, the event has been held at Wright Hall or Varsity Theatre downtown, because they only expected around 200 people. This year they are expecting a bigger crowd.
James Oh, a senior in Sigma Kappa Rho, has helped put on the event in hopes that it will have a greater impact on the audience now than in previous years.
“What I want the audience to take away is that if these people can do something they really care about and take it to the next level, then we’re all in school trying to learn something and we can take our aspirations to the next level as well,” Oh said.
This year they are hoping KCN will be bigger and better than before. It has taken six months to plan and organize the show.
“It’s five times as big, five times the work, five times the cost, but hopefully it’s all worth it. It’s basically five times the risk for five times the reward,” Kato said.
The organizers hope the hard work will pay off when the proceeds are donated to LiNK and the Japan Earthquake relief fund.
“Any help can bless the souls back in North Korea. There are people way worse off than we are now. I want everyone to know that they can do something to help out,” said Mingi Kang, a junior in the UC Davis KASA organization.
Tickets are available at the Freeborn Ticket office. They are $12 presale and $15 at the door, and VIP tickets are $30. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.
PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at email@example.com.