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Five Reasons Why I Love CultureALL (and Why You Should Too) – Part 2

In my last post I talked about CultureALL’s CultureALL In The Classroom school program.  While this is the organization’s signature program, its not the only reason why I love CultureALL.

 Reason Two:  The Living Cultures Series:

If you haven’t been to one of CultureALL’s Living Cultures Series events (aka House Concerts), you are missing out on something wonderful.   The program actually started with small events in private homes, but has now moved to larger venues to accommodate a larger audience.

Every Living Cultures event is different, but each one focuses on a particular culture.  Some include a full dinner.  Some include performances by professional artists (including international touring groups.)  Sing-alongs, dancing, plays, storytelling, games – you never know quite what to expect at one of these events, but you always learn a little something, and you always have a great time.

In March, I brought my Little Sister (a young lady I mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters) to CultureALL’s Living Cultures Irish House Concert at the Des Moines Social Club.  The featured artists – a two-person musical powerhouse called Four Shillings Short – not only  gave us an evening of beautifully rendered Celtic music (along with a unique fusion of music and instruments from other cultures – including an Indian sitar), they took the time to explain where each song came from, and how each of their instruments was played (and I counted more than a dozen different ones played that evening.)  It was a fantastic (and fascinating) evening of entertainment – and all for the bargain price of $12 per person.  Less than what you would pay to go to the movies (if you also buy popcorn.)

My Little Sis – who loves music and plays in her school band – had never heard Celtic music before, and she was mesmerized.  She went home with two of the band’s CDs.  These are the kinds of experiences that, as a mentor, I want to provide for her.  I want to open up her view of the world.  And mine, too.  CultureALL helps me do that.

The next Living Cultures Series event is just around the corner:  Friday, June 14, at 6:30pm at the Windsor Heights Community & Events Center.  The event, which features the culture of South Korea, is hosted by Dr. Kumsan Song.  Dr. Song was studying at medical school in Pusan when the North Koreans pushed the South and its allies into a small corner of the South Korean peninsula. As the oldest of eight children, she became responsible for the family, their finances and education after her father was killed by North Korean secret service soldiers. When the war ended in 1953, she came to the U.S. to complete her residency training. Since living in Iowa, Dr. Song has served as a interpreter of both Japanese and Korean.  She has been a member of many community boards and taught classes that bridge cultural understanding.  I’m sure she will have much to share during the event.

Living Cultures: South Korea will also feature a full dinner of traditional dishes, catered by Jay Lee, founder/executive chef of KoreanCopia, an organization that holds traditional Korean food events and educates people who are interested in Korean food and culture. With his passion and knowledge of traditional Korean culinary arts, Jay strives to expand his cultural horizons as he raises his own family as Korean-American. He moved from Los Angeles to Iowa in 2008, when he became an owner/chef of the West End Diner in West Des Moines.  Jay recently volunteered for the Korean Cultural Center of Iowa and supervised the food sector of Korean Village at the Asian Heritage Festival (CelebrAsian), exposing and introducing traditional tastes of Korean food to over 40,000 visitors. He also teaches cooking classes demonstrating Korean cooking styles and introducing its traditional dishes.  Here’s Jay’s menu for the evening (you can see photos of the dishes by clicking here):

  •  Choice of Bulgogi (thin-sliced rib-eye beef marinated and grilled with onion) or Japchae (sweet potato noodles with stir-fried carrot, onion, mushroom & green pepper)
  • Steamed short-grain White Rice
  • Kimchi (fermented spicy Napa cabbage)
  • Sikeumchi Namul (lightly blanched spinach seasoned with sesame oil, minced garlic and soy sauce)
  • Sookju Namul (lightly blanched mung bean sprouts seasoned with sesame oil, minced garlic, and salt

Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

Tickets are still available for this unique (and delicious) evening of South Korean culture – you can buy them by clicking here.

Come back for Reason #3…

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