This week, Ambassador Jack describes a couple of his favorite organizations on campus.
By Jack Liufu ’21, Chemistry and Classics major
Cornell, unsurprisingly, is a busy place. Classes and academic obligations are certainly dominant consumers of time, but I also think it’s of incredible importance that I don’t dedicate myself solely to those endeavors. In my “non-academic” time, I spend much time with both the Cornell University Glee Club and with HanChum Traditional Korean Dance Team.
Here I am (left) with a senior who has now graduated, at our spring 2018 annual HanChum showcase. We’re in positions to start Halyangmu, a dance of scholars, in our traditional outfits and fans.
The Cornell University Glee Club is a storied group. Started in 1868, it was the university’s first student organization, and as so, it is currently the university’s oldest club! I sang for seven years in a community choir before coming to Cornell, and I knew that when I went to college, it was something that I needed to keep in my life. I wasn’t sure how the audition was going to go, and I was definitely nervous to go through the audition process, but one thing is for certain: I’m so glad I did it. I’ve now been a part of the Glee Club for 4 semesters and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. To be able to see with 50 other tenors and basses, to be able to tour domestically and internationally every single year with them, to put on amazing concerts multiple times a year, to be able to host workshops with high school young singing men and spread the love of singing… all are absolutely invaluable and truly incredible experiences that are so unique to being a part of the Glee Club. Being entirely student run, there are plenty of opportunities to be both a member and a planner in the Club. I served as Secretary in this year — my sophomore year — and next year I’ll be serving as President, and I couldn’t be more excited. The Glee Club has given me not only a bounty of singing and performing experience, but has also provided me with an incredible group of people that I’m proud to call my friends and leadership experience that I can carry forward.
Here I am (middle, second row, green shirt) with the Cornell Glee Club of 2017-2018, on tour in Chicago during spring break. It was part of our week-long tour of the American Midwest. We also had stops in Cleveland, Milwaukee, Lafayette, and Cincinnati.
If in high school, you had told me that I would be a part of HanChum Korean Traditional Dance Team, I wouldn’t have believed you. First of all, I’m not Korean, but most of the 12 of us aren’t Korean, either! It started at my first-year, first semester ClubFest, and a senior in this incredible Korean hanbok (traditional Korean dress) approached my friend and I and asked us if we wanted to participate in dance. We were both a little taken aback; both of us had previous dancing experience — her more in ballet and me more in musical theater — but certainly neither of us had experience in traditional Korean dancing. Nonetheless, we signed up, and one thing led to another… and now we’ve both been participating in HanChum for almost 2 years. It’s amazing to be able to experience, learn, and admire a culture that may not necessarily be your own. We have an annual performance to showcase all the practicing and efforts we put in during the year. I am so appreciative of HanChum not only for giving me a set of amazing people that I connect and hang out with, but also for allowing me to explore and appreciate a new culture, that otherwise I truly would not have experienced.
Here’s a photo of the Glee Club performing our Fall Concert in November 2019 in Sage Chapel. It was a free concert to celebrate our 150th anniversary year! If you look closely you can see me in the front row, middle right.
The Glee Club and HanChum are two groups that I spend a lot of time with at Cornell, and they are integral and invaluable pieces of my experience here. There’s no doubt that when I think back on Cornell, these will be two of the very first things that I think about. These groups have given me opportunities to develop personally and professionally as well as give me opportunities to study something incredible. So, here we are, singing and dancing, and we couldn’t be happier.