Yonsei Academy students won eight gold medals and five silver medals at the Tumon Bay Music Festival in Guam last February.
Students that received gold medals are Kate Ishida, 18, Marianas High School; Grace Li Zhang, 17, MHS; Grace Kim, 15, MHS; Steven Chen, 16, Saipan International School; Eric Lai, 14, Grace Christian Academy; Ruby Zhang, 16, Agape Christian School; Cherry Lui, ACS; and Abbie Kim, 11, Saipan Community School.
Students that received silver are Tina Zhen, 15, MHS; Seiyul Hong, 13; SIS, Olivia Hwang,14 SCS; Nancy Han, 17, ACS; and Jennifer Hart, 9, Brilliant Star School.
Ishida, who is graduating high school this year in June, said, “I have been performing as a soloist in the Tumon Bay Music Festival since the 5th grade, so it was sad going up on that stage for the last time. When I first joined TBMF, I was not a good player compared to other kids my age. But looking back, I realized that I grew so much as a musician every time I came back from the festival.”
She also participated in their Young Artists Competition, played in their pit orchestra when they played Les Miserables, and joined them on their trip to perform at the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
“The music community is very small on Saipan, and I would not be where I am right now if it weren’t for TBMF,” she added.
This year nine students participated for the first time. Chen, one of those who competed for the first time, said, “I was lucky enough to participate in TBMF. It was my first time to join a music festival. I felt like this competition was challenging for me, but also a good experience.”
Hart is the youngest competitor from Yonsei Academy and, despite it being her first time to compete, she still managed to go home with a silver medal.
Yonsei Academy did so well at the music festival this year that academy president Yoon Ji Hye is already preparing more students to participate in next year’s music festival.
Yoon, who finished her bachelor’s degree in Hamburg, Germany, has been running the Yonsei Academy for four years on Saipan. The music school draws students from different schools on Saipan and has been a regular participant in the Guam music festival
Yonsei Academy produced the first ever student to be accepted into a music university: Hee Chan Kim, 20. And this year, Ishida got accepted to Bordin Arts & Music College on a full scholarship. (Chevy Alipio)