“Cheondoong” originated in 2004 at St. Andrew Kim Catholic Church. The association is founded by Master Kim Sung Il, who recognized the need to recruit dedicated individuals to perform Korean music in Canada. In 2008, the organization officially debuted as “Cheondoong Performing Arts Society” and known for Korean percussion instruments performing team. The mission is to demonstrate dynamic and unique melody of Korean percussion while fostering international relations between Canada and Korea. Cheondoong, translated to thunder, is such a mysterious yet strong name.
“Thunder is the sound of Earthly Nature that holds power and dignity. The team ‘Cheondoong’ is Korean Traditional Percussion Music Performance recruit that presents powerful and dignifying Korean music.”
The spacious practicing studio is filled up with hot air and echo of drumming. It was certainly entertaining. Under the supervision of two Cheondoong leaders, performers commenced to embed themselves into the rhythmic beating of drums.
What are the strengths of Cheondoong?
“I’ve always been interested in traditional arts, and now I stand to present it. I’m very proud of myself.”
“I gained courage and family by joining the group.”
“I tell people around me that I am the member of Cheondoong. That’s how proud I feel.”
“The sound of powerful drumming and freely swaying performers to percussion beats shocked me. Anyone would’ve felt the same and I just had to join the group!”
“I was a shy boy. However, ever since I joined Cheondoong, I’ve changed. The team creates friendly atmosphere. Just sit down and watch, you’ll know what I mean!”
“Cheondoong keeps us healthy. Because we are students, we get stressed at school, and work. By beating down on the drums, stress is released out.”
What are the weaknesses?
“Because the performances are usually scheduled during day times, some members have overlapping schedules. Other available members would take over the spots, but we still feel bad…”
“Cheondoong is to perform Korean traditional music, yet no support is provided. We borrow trucks to pick up the instruments and performers. The condition is very poor.”
“I really have nothing to say. I am lucky to take a part!”
“Memorizing the beats for every project is the hardest.”
“Before performance, the team spend 10 hours practicing for few days. We get exhausted, hungry, and discouraged. Though, when I see audiences cheering and applauding at stages, I am on top of the world!”
Final speech from the Master:
“The Cheondoong performers are the real patriots. We underwent numerous hardships to stand where we are today. At the beginning, there were no proper instruments that we beat on tables. We cried a lot and endeavored together. Performers are willing to dedicate themselves in learning and promoting Korean traditional music. They are the real cultural ambassador of Korea.”