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SEOUL SINGER : Duk Soon Nam Will Add Sentimental Note to Garden Grover Concert


Expect some sentimental and delicate singing before the live cannons and bells blow away you and the neighbors around the Village Green Park in Garden Grove on Saturday.

The noisy part will come when the Garden Grove Symphony puts the finishing touches on its annual "Summer Symphony in the Park" concert with Tchaikovsky's rousing, patriotic "1812" Overture.

Nobody these days dreams of playing this music without real cannons blasting and big bells clanging. Certainly not conductor Edward Peterson and the Garden Grove Symphony.

They're all part of the composer's celebratory portrait of the Muscovites' triumph over Bonaparte and of his humiliated, defeated troops burning the city as they withdraw from it.

But earlier in the concert, there will be the harmonious, barbershop-style singing by the 40-member Orange Empire Chorus and two Korean folk songs sung by soprano Duk Soon Nam.

Nam will sing "Diamond Mountain" and "Lovely Flower," and if her eyes grow a little misty during the first of these, it's because she's thinking of her parents.

There is a real Diamond Mountain, Nam said through a translator this week. But it's located in closed-off North Korea.

"Anyone who looks at Diamond Mountain feels wonderful," Nam said. "It is a little different from any other mountain in Korea. Nothing else is like it.

"Every time I sing this song, I remember my parents, who (fled) from North Korea. They miss it."

The song, says Nam, tells "in a beautiful melody" the effect the mountain has on people. "But there is also a little story about freedom and unity," Nam said.

Still, the soprano is not greatly optimistic that she or her parents will soon have a chance to see the mountain again.

Unity of the two Koreas remains a distant goal, she feels.

"We can unite through music," Nam ventured cautiously.

A dramatic soprano who sings opera and lieder, Nam studied in Germany and Italy as well as in her native county. She splits her time between Orange County--which has one of the largest congregations of Korean-Americans in the nation--and her home in Seoul, Korea.

She last sang with the Garden Grove Symphony on a New Year's Eve program in 1989.

Nam also is one of the founding directors of the Orange County Korean-American Children's Choir, a chorus of about 50 kids, which was started last year.

Future plans include singing in a new opera in Seoul and with the Santa Ana Symphony, directed by Chong J. Park, on a date not yet set next year.

Who: Korean soprano Duk Soon Nam will sing on the Garden Grove Symphony's "Summer in Park" program.

When: Saturday, Aug. 25, at 5 p.m.

Where: Village Green Park, Euclid and Main Streets, Garden Grove.

Whereabouts: Garden Grove Freeway (22) to Euclid exit; north to Main Street.

Wherewithal: Admission is free.

Where to call: (714) 534-1103.

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