Halla Huhm Foundation

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December 2018


Although this was in many ways a quiet year for our foundation, we did host five researchers over the two-month period of August-September. Two were from Japan, two from Korea, and one from Germany. The two from Japan have been here on previous occasions and have either used some of our archival materials for their own research papers or have shared with us information that they were able to find in Japan. The others were here for the first time. We are looking forward to learning how the history of our studio and the materials in the Halla Huhm Dance Collection will be utilized in their projects.

Our foundation, among others, will be supporting an upcoming Korean project sponsored by the East-West Center in February. The Greatest Masque Company will perform at Orvis Auditorium, present school programs on Maui and Oahu, and do at least one workshop while in residence. The company consists of three dancers who will perform mask dances from different regions in Korea as well as other dances. They will be accompanied by five musicians who will also perform their own music. Keep on the look-out for more information in February and feel free to call us closer to the time for more details.

The studio has had many programs throughout the year including a performance for the Korean American Foundation's 115th immigration anniversary dinner, two Lunar New Year's programs at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, and a major program to celebrate Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) at the Honolulu Museum of Art. In addition, Mary Jo taught students at the Center for Korean Studies for Korean Culture Day and also taught a workshop for the Korean Flagship students on the UH campus.

I was humbled to be honored as one of five Living Treasures of Hawai'i by the Hongpa Honwanji Mission of Hawai'i in February. Many thanks to Halla Huhm students and Foundation board members and other friends for making this a memorable event.

As we approach another year, we are always grateful for your donations to our foundation, which is a 50l(c)(3) non-profit organization, as we continue to promote traditional Korean dance and music in our community and throughout the state. We would be delighted if more young children would come to our studio to learn Korean dance but all ages are welcome.

Wishing all of you a joyful holiday and a healthy and peaceful 2019.

Mary Jo Freshley
President, Halla Huhm Foundation


December 2017


The Halla Huhm Foundation has had an interesting year starting with the sponsorship of the Halla Huhm Dance Studio's recital, "Legacies" in January at Orvis Auditorium. We had a sold-out audience, which was wonderful, and a cast of twenty-seven dancers ranging in age from five to eighty-two.

In February ten dancers went to Hilo to perform in a concert titled "Arirang" at the University of Hawai'i, Hilo campus auditorium. Seri Luangphinith, chair of the Humanities Department, brought in more than $20,000 in grants for this program, which included other artists locally and from Korea.

Aside from these programs, the Halla Huhm Dance Studio kept busy with a variety of other performances as well as lending costumes to community groups.

Our foundation made donations to the Asia-Pacific Festival held in July, which featured dancers from Korea National University of the Arts. Donations were also made to the Korean Festival and to the Ewha University Orchestra program at Orvis Auditorium.

Our Halla Huhm Dance archives hosted visitors from Pyeongtaek City who were interested in the activities that Mr. Ji Young Hee and his wife, Song Geum-yon, participated in while here in Hawai'i. Both were excellent musicians who had been designated "National Treasures" in Korea before making their home in Hawai'i in 1974, and they did perform with Halla Huhm Studio a few times, most notably our 1976 recital. Mr. Ji was from Pyeongtaek City, and there is now a museum there to honor him.

Our studio was also visited recently by two members of a team who were in Hawai'i to gather information for the Encyclopedia of Overseas Korean Culture. Hopefully they will let us know when the encyclopedia is ready for viewing.

Our studio location seems a bit more settled, and we are hoping to finally sign a lease with the new owners in the near future. It has been a bit stressful for the past fifteen months not knowing if we would be able to stay in our location so we are keeping our fingers crossed that this will work out.

Hye-ryeon Lee and Melvia Kawashima, two of our long-time board members, have resigned this year, and we are grateful for their help over the years but sad to see them leave. However, we are fortunate to welcome two new board members, Hwa Mi Bae and Marissa Chung, who has agreed to become our secretary.

If you have friends, family or you yourself are interested in the more traditional/older forms of Korean dance and drumming, please come to the studio for lessons--all are welcome and we would especially welcome children, who seem to be in short supply recently. Although K-pop and Nanta seem to be the "buzz" words these days in Korea, our dances reflect a more historical aspect to Korean culture and we have a legacy of wonderful dances, music, and drumming to continue.

We wish you the best for 2018 and are always grateful for any donations that you might consider to our foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Mary Jo Freshley
President, Halla Huhm Foundation


December 2016

Aloha Halla Huhm Foundation Friends,

After many months of uncertainty, the studio’s lease conditions were finalized with the sale of the Sanders Piano Building to Clarence and Lona Furuya. We hope to remain in this location for at least another year, pending our feasibility of meeting the significant increase in monthly rent. The Foundation has shared costs with the studio as a common base of operations and leadership. We welcomed Kyungsook (Joomi) Hyun as a new member to our board of directors this year. She has a long association with the studio both as student and parent. Her mother, Yeon Hi Joo, formerly taught dance as well.

On a more positive note, the Halla Huhm Dance Studio will be presenting a recital on January 15, 2017, at 4 p.m. at Orvis Auditorium, University of Hawai'i Music Department. The recital program is titled “Legacies” and honors the various teachers and mentors who have been associated with the studio over its 60 plus years of history, beginning with Halla Pai Huhm. Twenty-seven students will perform dances choreographed or taught by these teachers which have become part of the studio’s legacy. The Foundation will sponsor the studio recital as it has in the past.

During 2016, among the numerous public and private performances, stipend and pro bono, the studio hosted most of the Korea Festival Planning Group meetings as well as performed and sold traditional hanbok at the Korean Festival held in August. Since most planning group members had limited experience and exposure to our studio, it was a good opportunity to broaden our studio’s presence and purpose.

During 2017, the Foundation will support the Asia-Pacific Dance Festival, July 25–August 7, with performances at Kennedy Theatre. The festival is sponsored by UH Manoa’s Outreach College and East-West Center. A group from Korea National University of the Arts will be performing along with a group from Tonga and a local hula halau.

Although this has been a year of uncertainties, we have remained committed to promoting Korean culture through dance and music, and we hope that you are also invested in keeping traditional culture alive here in Hawai‘i. We are hoping to re-ignite more interest in the community among not only Koreans but others as well who would enjoy and experience this vibrant culture. We hope you will attend our January 15th Recital. Your generous support is always welcomed. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Wishing you a peaceful and prosperous new year.

Mary Jo Freshley
President, Halla Huhm Foundation


December 2015


As Hawai'i experienced periods of uncertainty with fifteen possible hurricanes in our area in the past few months, our foundation and studio's location is currently in a state of uncertainty as well. Since Sanders Piano announced that they are going out of business several months ago, our future is rather unknown. But I am keeping optimistic that we will be able to remain in our space. However, if we reach a decision where we must move, any ideas as to an affordable location with enough space for all of our studio equipment and where drumming would be o.k. would be appreciated. Even if we don't have to move, any location tips would be welcomed until we know what our future will be.

On a more positive note, our foundation received a generous donation from the Kook Min Hur Foundation this year which allowed us to help sponsor a group of musicians and dancers from Pyongtaek City, Korea, as well as allowed us to take an additional dancer to Maui in May for the showing of the Halla Huhm documentary, "Moving Home" at the Maui Culture and Arts Center. We performed three dances choreographed by Halla Huhm and had an interesting question and answer session after the showing. We also used the grant to continue with the archives and volume two of the Halla Huhm Dance Collection. Unfortunately because of the breakdown of the air conditioning at the Center for Korean Studies this spring, it has been difficult to work on the archives, but this situation has recently been resolved. My intention is to finish the Finding Aid by the end of the year. I do have additional materials to catalogue, but the main information for the Finding Aid is nearly finished.

Our foundation also made our annual donation to the Korean Festival which was held at Magic Island in July. The Halla Huhm Dance Studio participated in this festival and has been quite busy all year averaging two programs per month. Now if we could only attract young children back into the studio to learn about Korean culture through dance and music. . . .

Sadly, Salome Sato, one of our foundation board members, will be moving to Oregon soon. We are sad to see Salome leave us but wish her much happiness in her new surroundings. If any of you would be interested in joining our organization as a member of the board please let me know. We try to keep meetings to a minimum and frequently make decisions via email. Our mission is to promote traditional Korean dance and music. While we do sponsor the Halla Huhm Dance Studio whenever there is a major recital, we also support other Korean events such as those mentioned earlier in this letter.

Your continued support in our mission of promoting Korean culture is always appreciated. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. I hope that 2016 will bring us peace and understanding through the sharing and appreciation of cultures not only here in Hawai'i but throughout the world.

Mary Jo Freshley
President, Halla Huhm Foundation


December 2014


This year began with our 20th Anniversary Memorial Concert at Mamiya Theatre on January 25. It is difficult to realize that Halla Huhm passed away twenty years ago as her presence is still always with us through her dances. My three apprentices were very much involved in making the recital a success, and, in doing so, they gained valuable experience in the process of preparing for a major recital. The foundation board members were also very much involved and I want to again thank them for their continuous support. Lastly, to all who contributed financially, another big mahalo.

We also had the honor of co-sponsoring with MuRyangSa Temple a performance on November 21 by Kim Myo-seon, recognized as a successor to Living National Treasure Lee Mae Bang for his Monk Dance (Seungmu), designated as Korean Important Intangible Cultural Asset No. 27. Kim Myo-seon also taught Seungmu in two workshops while here in Honolulu. I first had the privilege of studying with Kim Myo-seon in 1994 and 1995 at the National Gugak Center in Seoul and our foundation sponsored her in a concert at Mamiya Theatre in 1996. Members of the Halla Huhm Dance Studio also performed both in this recent program as well as the 1996 concert.

In other news, copies of the documentary about Halla Huhm have now been placed in libraries throughout the state. I am nearing completion of volume two of the Halla Huhm Dance Collection and I am happy to report that there have been three young scholars who have visited the collection in the past year. Hopefully they have found materials which they can pursue further, and we are looking forward to receiving any written articles which they produce. Michael Macmillan at the Center for Korean Studies has been most helpful to these young ladies, and I would like to acknowledge his continuous assistance.

Your continued support in our mission of promoting Korean culture is always appreciated. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. I hope that 2015 will bring us peace and understanding through the sharing and appreciation of cultures not only here in Hawai'i but throughout the world.

Mary Jo Freshley
President, Halla Huhm Foundation


November 2013

Aloha, Halla Huhm Foundation Friends and Supporters,

In these remaining months of 2013, I wanted to share the Foundation's community activities this past year with you, and also ask your support for our forthcoming Halla Huhm Korean Dance Studio Recital on Saturday, January 25, 2014, at the Mamiya Theater. This program will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Halla Huhm's passing and celebrates our love and respect for her contributions in Hawai'i. It also perpetuates her legacy as we include many of her dances.

Major 2013 highlights include the successful completion of the Halla Huhm documentary project under Billie Lee, with several showings at the Honolulu International Film Festival, UH Art Auditorium, and Center for Korean Studies, and distribution of DVDs to the Hawai'i State Library system. Moving Home depicts Mrs. Huhm's biographical journey with portions of her signature dances, which will be the focus of the January 25th recital program.

The Foundation also supported the colorful popular Samul Gwang Dae percussion group from Seoul in conjunction with the July Korean Festival and UH Outreach College, by assisting with hospitality expenses and performance fees as well as providing workshops for studio students and interested persons from the community.

The Halla Huhm Foundation continues to support community requests for Korean events such as the annual Korean Festival; however, its primary support is the Halla Huhm Dance Studio performances shared across the wider Hawai'i spectrum.

As I end my 51st year of involvement in the Halla Huhm Dance Studio and as a founding member of the Halla Huhm Foundation, I am grateful for your faithful interest and support that has enabled us to perpetuate this colorful rich performing art that we love. I am also grateful to the Foundation Board that guides the overall mission and to the many students who have come to the studio to learn about Korean culture through dance and music and who have shared this love with audiences throughout our sixty years.

Halla Huhm, Jindo Ssithkim Kut (1987)The Foundation's and the Dance Studio's energies are now on recital preparations—a myriad of details are typical of such productions. Studio apprentice teachers Mio Sato, Ellen Cho, Joomi Hyun, and Bonnie Kim have been responsible to mentor key dances which include many of Halla Huhm's choreographies such as Changgo ch'um, Alssong Talssong (Two Mask dance), Kibon as well as the re-structuring of her Hak ch'um and Jindo Ssithkim Kut (see photo insert). Court dances Kommu, Hwagwanmu, Musanhyang, and Pogurak will also be performed as in past recitals over the many years of continuing this legacy.

Your support in ticket sales ($20 adults; $10 children 12 years and under) is appreciated. Recital tickets will be available for purchase at the studio from mid-December (Telephone: 949-2888).

Your further support in cash or check donations to Halla Huhm Foundation is also appreciated. Purchasing a congratulatory advertisement at $50 (quarter page) or $100 (half page) is also available. Please remit a business card with your advertisement contribution by November 30th. We will acknowledge all donors in our printed program.

Again my mahalo for these many years of our mutual promotion of Korean performing arts, which has been a major part of my adult life.

Mary Jo Freshley
President, Halla Huhm Foundation


December 2012

Aloha Friends,

This has been a very important year for our foundation with the completion of the documentary about Halla Huhm. This documentary, Moving Home: The Legacy of Halla Pai Huhm, was shown twice at the Hawai'i International Film Festival here in Honolulu and also in Hilo as part of their film festival. More than 800 viewers attended these screenings. Billie Lee did a great job on her first documentary, and there have been many positive comments about the film. Billie had support from several organizations and individuals, and we commend her on her hard work. We are very proud to have initiated this project.

For those of you who did not have an opportunity to see the film, it will be shown on Sunday, February 3, 2013, at the UH Art Auditorium at 4:00 P.M. More information will be forthcoming, and you can call the studio (949-2888) or e-mail Billie for details on this screening (lee.billie@gmail.com).

The other project that our foundation helped to support was the "Dancing the Spirit: Korean Masks, Music, & Social Concerns" exhibit at the East-West Center, which opened on September 30 and will continue through January 6. Two visiting performers from Jindo Island along with Chan Park and Kathy Foley presented a program on the opening Sunday and also did several community presentations. The Halla Huhm Studio provided equipment for workshops and participants and also contributed our Saja for the exhibit. Students of the Halla Huhm Studio also performed on October 7.

Because of economic conditions, there was no recipient for the Kim Ch'on-hung scholarship this year, but hopefully monies will be available next year. You can always contribute to this fund through the UH Foundation.

Bonnie Kim will be doing her second year as an apprentice with Mary Jo Freshley through the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. Ellen Cho will complete her apprenticeship at the end of this year, and Mio Sato will become an apprentice for 2013. These young ladies are already meeting to help plan our 20th anniversary recital for January 2014. Hopefully the studio can continue to thrive with their continued assistance.

We are always grateful to you for your continued financial support of our various activities to promote traditional Korean dance and music here in Hawai'i. The Halla Huhm Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.

Let us continue to seek peace in our world by sharing our dance and music with each other.

Hyung Kwon Cha
President, Halla Huhm Foundation


December 2011

It is time for our annual letter to inform you about the activities of our foundation this year.

In February there were two concerts involving three musicians from Korea; Ji-young Yi (gayageum), Chi-wan Park (piri), and Woong-sik Kim (janggu). The first concert was traditional instrumental music and the second featured new compositions. Halla Huhm Foundation was one of the supporters for these concerts, which were presented by the East-West Center Arts Program and the Music Department of the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. In addition to the concerts, Woong-sik Kim held a janggu workshop at our studio with 30 people in attendance.

Work is still on going on our dance collection archives and all videos in volume one are now on DVD as are those in volume two, which is still growing as we do more programs. There is steady progress on volume two and again, I would like to thank the Kook Min Hur Foundation for their support of our archives.

Another project for our foundation was the awarding of a grant to Billie Lee to do a video documentary about Halla Huhm. Billie, who has a master of fine arts degree from Yale University, has been in Hawai'i for about two years. She spent time looking through the dance collection and took classes at the studio. In addition, Billie has already conducted several interviews with former students of Halla Huhm.

There has never been a documentary about Halla Huhm and her many years of teaching and performing here in Hawai'i, and this project will help preserve her legacy for future generations by utilizing materials from our archives. Once completed, this video would make the legacy of Halla Huhm available to a wider audience here in Hawai'i and elsewhere. Although Billie has received some other grant monies, more funding is needed to complete this project. The working title of this documentary is "Moving Home" and you can find further information on the following Web site: legacyofhallahuhm.com.

If you would like to contribute to this project, you can make a check out to: Fractured Atlas (a non-profit organization) with "Moving Home" in the memo line and send the check to: Billie Lee, P.O. Box 283332, Honolulu, HI 96828. For credit card donations, go to: https://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/fiscal/profile?id=4793.

I feel that this is an extremely important project which is in keeping with our mission of educating the community about Korean culture, and what better way to do this than a video featuring the work of Halla Huhm, who was the main person in the Korean community for many years keeping the culture alive through dance and music.

We are sad to report the resignation of Wilma Sur and Judy Van Zile from our foundation board of directors. They were both valuable members of our board, and we are truly grateful to them for their assistance over the years.

One other project which will hopefully involve keeping the legacy of Halla Huhm alive was the awarding of two apprenticeship grants though the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to Ellen Cho and Bonnie Kim. I will be working with both of these young ladies to further their knowledge in learning and performing dances from our studio during the next year.

A third Kim Ch'ŏn-hŭng scholarship was awarded this year to John Seymour, a graduate student in composition at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Music Department. John plays the piri, and one of his compositions was chosen to be performed recently at the National Gugak Center in Seoul. Contributions are always welcome for this scholarship through the University of Hawai'i Foundation.

We are always most grateful to you for your continued financial support of our various activities to promote traditional Korean dance and music here in Hawai'i. The Halla Huhm Foundation is a tax-exempt (501-c-3) organization.

We wish you a healthy and happy new year and we hope that all peoples of the world can learn to appreciate each other's cultures through song and dance.

Mary Jo Freshley
President, Halla Huhm Foundation


December 2010

Another year has passed and again it is time for our annual letter to inform you of our activities during this year.

The main activity of the foundation this year has been our dance collection archives. We are very grateful to the Kook Min Hur Foundation for their grants to allow us to move ahead on this never-ending project. However, there is progress and hope for the completion of volume two within 12-18 months. With the ever changing face of technology it suddenly became apparent that having VHS viewing tapes in our collection was not going to be a good idea for very long as no one seems to be making VHS machines anymore. So, we are now making DVD copies of all new video material to be included in volume two and also making a DVD copy of all the VHS videos currently in volume one.

I was invited in October to Seoul by the Korea National Archives of the Arts to be interviewed as a part of their oral history project on Korean dance. This certainly fit into what I have been working on for our dance collection. I was interviewed for 10 hours and also shared some of the photos and other memorabilia from our dance collection. All of this will be housed in their library and will hopefully be useful to dance researchers in the future. I felt very honored to be invited and to share what I could about Halla Huhm, her studio and activities as well as the role the foundation has played in perpetuating Korean culture since her death.

Our foundation will be helping to support a music project in February featuring kayakeum artist Yi Ji-young from Seoul. The project will feature both contemporary and traditional concerts by Ms. Yi along with one or two other musicians from Korea and some local musicians. If you don't see any information by the end of January, feel free to call me for whatever details I might have.

Although the economic situation is not the best, we are always grateful to you for your continued support of our varied activities to promote traditional Korean dance and music here in Hawai‘i. The Halla Huhm Foundation is a tax-exempt (501-c-3) organization.

And, we still encourage you to make contributions to the Kim Ch’ŏn-hŭng Memorial Fund, which our foundation initiated. (Checks should be made to "University of Hawaii Foundation" and designated for the Kim Ch’ŏn-hŭng Memorial Fund. Send checks to: University of Hawaii Foundation, 2444 Dole Street, Bachman Hall 105, Honolulu, HI 96822-2388). A second scholarship was awarded for this 2010-2011 academic year to Ri Choi, who is a graduate student in ethnomusicology.

May you have a safe and happy holiday season and may we soon find peace and understanding in our world.

Mary Jo Freshly
President, Halla Huhm Foundation


December 2009

Another year has passed and again it is time for our annual letter to inform you of our activities during this year.

The first major achievement was the Kim Ch’ŏn-hŭng Memorial Fund established through the University of Hawai'i Foundation. Our Halla Huhm Foundation initiated this soon after the death of Mr. Kim in August 2007. It was most gratifying that in such a short period of time we were able to raise enough money to establish the scholarship fund thanks to many of you who contributed to the fund. Mr. Kim's family felt that a scholarship to provide assistance to students studying Korean dance and music would be the best way to remember this exceptional man who was twice recognized by the Korean government as a “National Treasure.” The first scholarship was awarded in April to Nathan Nass, a graduate student whose studies focus on Korean music.

In addition to the scholarship fund, the annual spring dance concert at the University of Hawai'i was dedicated to Mr. Kim. The court dance, Mugo, was performed by students enrolled in the Korean dance class at UH and was taught by Mary Jo Freshley with assistance from Mr. Kim's daughter, Chung Won Meyer. This was a wonderful experience and for many in the audience, the first time to see a traditional Korean dance. Our Halla Huhm Foundation co-hosted a reception prior to the opening night performance to formally announce the scholarship and its first recipient. The Halla Huhm Dance Studio provided the costumes for the concert.

On August 8th, the Halla Huhm Dance Studio presented a recital at Mamiya Theater marking the 15th anniversary since Halla Huhm's death. There was an enthusiastic audience in attendance and thirty students participated in the program. Many dances choreographed by Halla Huhm were presented. Again, the Halla Huhm Foundation sponsored this event.

In October, the foundation helped to sponsor “The Sound of Ecstasy & Nectar of Enlightenment,” Buddhist Ritual Song and Dance from Korea. The university's Outreach College coordinated the program and several organizations were involved. The program at Kennedy Theater was very well attended and was preceded by a reception at the Center for Korean Studies. We are always happy to help in these collaborations that contribute to educating the community about various aspects of Korean culture.

While the economic situation is still a bit uncertain, I am sure that in the future we will return to a more prosperous time. We are always grateful to you for your continued support of our varied activities to promote traditional Korean dance and music here in Hawai‘i. The Halla Huhm Foundation is a tax-exempt (501-c-3) organization.

Contributions can also be made at any time to the Kim Ch’ŏn-hŭng Memorial Fund. (Checks should be made to “University of Hawaii Foundation” and designated for the Kim Ch’ŏn-hŭng Memorial Fund. Send checks to: University of Hawaii Foundation, 2444 Dole Street, Bachman Hall 105, Honolulu, HI 96822-2388).

We wish you a safe and happy holiday season and peace in our world for 2010.

Mary Jo Freshley
President, Halla Huhm Foundation


December 2008

Aloha Friends,

It is time for our annual letter to inform you of our activities during this year, a very successful one for the two major projects we supported.

The SamulGwangDae project was a collaborative effort between the University of Hawai‘i Outreach College and the Halla Huhm Foundation, with some funding support from the university’s Center for Korean Studies. Members of the GwangDae group taught a five-day workshop in the Music Department at the University of Hawai‘i with forty enthusiastic students. Their performance on July 19, 2008, at Kennedy Theatre was a wonderful experience for all five hundred in attendance. Our foundation is extremely grateful to Tim Slaughter and his wonderful staff for their great publicity and overall assistance.

Our second major project, to establish a fund in memory of dance and music master Kim Ch’ŏn-hŭng, has become a reality. Donations originally made to the Halla Huhm Foundation for this purpose have been combined with additional donations to create a $35,000 endowment at the University of Hawai‘i Foundation. Proceeds from the endowment will be administered through the university’s Center for Korean Studies to support Korean dance and music activities. The main priority of the fund is to support scholarships to assist University of Hawai‘i students who are pursuing degrees with a clear focus on traditional Korean dance or music. A formal public announcement about the endowment will be made shortly, and application details and criteria will be available on the Center for Korean Studies Web site. As a result of a generous donation beyond the amount to establish the endowment, it will be possible to make the first award in the spring, for use by a student in the 2009–2010 academic year. We wish to thank everyone who contributed to this fund, which will facilitate the study of Korean dance and music for many years to come.

To honor the one hundredth anniversary of his birth, the UH Dance Program will dedicate its annual spring concert to Kim Ch’ŏn-hŭng, and university students will perform a Korean court dance as part of the concert. Mark your calendar to attend this Kennedy Theatre event on April 24–25, or May 1–3.

As we approach the new year, the major project for the Halla Huhm Dance Studio, with support from the Halla Huhm Foundation, will be a studio recital on Saturday, August 8, 2009, at Mamiya Theatre. This will be the fifteenth anniversary of the passing of Halla Huhm and we also wish to honor the one hundredth anniversary of Kim Ch’ŏn-hŭng’s birth. His association with our studio goes back to 1963, when Halla Huhm invited him to Hawai‘i to prepare her students for a recital. I had the wonderful privilege of being a part of that event and thus began my admiration for Mr. Kim, who was always a wonderful mentor to me and the studio.

We understand that our economy is challenging at the moment, but we hope you might consider a donation to our foundation, which is a tax-exempt (501-c-3) organization. If you would like to make a donation to the Kim Ch’ŏn-hŭng Memorial Fund, you may do so directly to the University of Hawai‘i Foundation, 2444 Dole Street, Bachman Hall 105, Honolulu, HI 96822-2388. A check can be made out to University of Hawai‘i Foundation, but make sure you designate that it is for the Kim Ch’ŏn-hŭng Memorial Fund.

We appreciate your interest in our mission to foster traditional Korean culture through dance and music, and we wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.

Mary Jo Freshley
President, Halla Huhm Foundation


December 2007

As 2007 is coming to a close, we reflect on the activities of the Halla Huhm Foundation as well as the Halla Huhm Dance Studio.

This year started with a sold-out studio recital, sponsored by our foundation, on January 13, 2007, at Orvis Auditorium. There was an enthusiastic audience of 400, which gave the dancers a definite boost.

With support from the Ohio Arts Council, Tammy Starr (Bowling Green State University) did a six-month apprenticeship with Mary Jo Freshley. Mary Jo traveled to Ohio in April to perform in an alumni fund-raiser as well as the regular dance department concerts, which afforded her a chance to consult with Tammy. Then in June, Tammy came here and studied at the studio for three weeks and was able to join us in two performances. Although Tammy has resigned from the dance department at Bowling Green, she plans to continue teaching and performing and will include the Korean dances she has learned whenever possible and hopefully the dance department at Bowling Green, which has become a “branch” of our studio, will continue to include the dances they have learned in some of their programs.

We lost a dear friend in August with the passing of Kim Ch’on-hung at the age of 98. He had a long association with our studio, having first been invited here in 1963 by Halla Huhm to train her students for a recital. That was my first recital and he has been an inspiration and mentor ever since. Mr. Kim also taught at the University of Hawaii in 1974. In 1995, he danced in the studio’s recital and taught both at the studio and the university. He was also a part of the Chongnong Ak Hui group, which our foundation helped to sponsor in 1998. In 2002 he celebrated his 80th anniversary of being involved in Korean dance and music with a concert in Seoul. Both Judy Van Zile and Mary Jo Freshley attended this wonderful event.

Our foundation has started a scholarship fund in Mr. Kim’s memory. In addition to any donations specifically designated for this fund, a portion of all donations made to the foundation this year will be earmarked for this purpose. Although details are not yet finalized, the scholarship will hopefully be administered through the Center for Korean Studies for students specializing in either Korean dance or music. To coincide with the 100th anniversary of his birth, the UH dance program’s 2009 concert will be dedicated to Mr. Kim and will include Korean dance.

We are also currently working on a project for the summer of 2008 with Outreach College at the university to bring the SamulGwangDae group here for workshops and a concert.

We have welcomed two new members to our board this year: Hye-ryeon Lee, who has agreed to be our treasurer, and Kathleen Kim. We thank them for their willingness to serve.

We appreciate your interest in our mission to foster traditional Korean culture through dance and music. If you have not yet had an opportunity to make a donation, we are a tax-exempt (501-c-3) organization. Your support is always welcomed, and we hope that you will consider a special donation this year in memory of Kim Ch’on-hung.

We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.


Mary Jo Freshley
President, Halla Huhm Foundation


December 2005

Although the studio did not have a major recital this year, we still managed to perform seventeen times in a variety of venues. In addition, it was a “May Day” year, and we helped four different schools for their programs by either teaching dances or lending costumes/props.

Our major project for the foundation was to give assistance to the dance department of Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Tammy Starr, who is on the dance faculty at the university, came to Honolulu in July and studied at the studio. In August, Mary Jo Freshley went to Bowling Green and taught the performing group our fan and sogo dances. This was the second time that Mary Jo has worked with the Bowling Green students. We feel that we now have a “branch” of our studio at Bowling Green! This fits in perfectly with our mission to educate communities about Korean culture through dance and music, and we wish to congratulate Tammy Starr for her hard work and dedication in this collaboration. The BGSU dancers have already performed our fan and sogo dances this fall and will have several more programs during the academic year. Two years ago, they learned our drum medley and have performed it on numerous occasions.

The foundation is currently considering a project in collaboration with the East-West Center within the next couple of years. If you have a project needing assistance, perhaps we can be of help. Please call us.


May 27, 2004

The Halla Huhm Dance Collection was donated to the Center for Korean Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. The Center is now the owner of the collection, which contains photographs, videos, newspaper articles, performance programs, and other items documenting the activities of Halla Pai Huhm and her studio in Hawai‘i from 1949 to 1997. A revised “Inventory and Finding Aid” listing the contents of the collection can be viewed at http://www.korean-studies.info. For further information about the collection contact: Center for Korean Studies University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, 1881 East-West Road, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96822. Phone: (808) 956-7041.


March 27, 2004

The Halla Huhm Dance Studio presented the Tenth Year Memorial Concert at Mamiya Theatre. Fifty students participated in this tribute to the late Halla Pai Huhm. Acting director Mary Jo Freshley choose a variety of dances choreographed by Halla Huhm so that the dancers, most of whom did not know Halla Huhm, would have a better understanding of the legacy that is being continued at the studio. The Halla Huhm Foundation sponsored this concert.


August 25–September 27, 2003

The Halla Huhm Foundation was one of several organizations supporting the Kosong Ogwangdae (Korean Masked Dance-Drama) project, one of several events held during the centennial year. Board member Judy Van Zile was project co-director, which involved bringing a master teacher and an assistant to teach this traditional type of mask dance at the University of Hawai‘i and Kaimuki High School for five weeks. In addition, Mary Jo Freshley arranged a community class at the McCoy Pavilion (Ala Moana Park) through the foundation. The project culminated in performances by a cast of seventeen for school children as well as a pubic performance at the East-West Center’s Friendship Circle. Nearly one thousandpersons attended these two performances. The project was a partnership between the Outreach College and Department of Theatre and Dance along with the East-West Center and was supported by numerous other organizations.


January 13, 2003

During the Centennial of Korean Immigration banquet held at the Hilton Hawaiian Hotel, Halla Huhm was recognized as one of the 27 "Eminent Koreans in Hawai‘i" for her continuous work in promoting the Korean culture through dance and music.


June 7, 2002

Mary Jo Freshley, Halla Huhm Foundation president and acting director of the Halla Huhm Dance Studio, received the Silversword Award for "cultural preservation" at the 23rd Annual Pan-Pacific Festival‘s Matsuri in Hawai‘i. The studio participated in three separate performances during the festival.


April 2002

The Halla Huhm Foundation, along with several other organizations, helped to support a program featuring Korean National Treasure Kim Keum-Hwa, a shaman who performed along with musicians and assistants at Andrews Outdoor Theatre on the University of Hawai‘i campus. Tim Slaughter from the University of Hawai‘i’s Outreach College was co-ordinator of this successful event.


August 19–20, 2000

The Halla Huhm Korean Dance Studio celebrated its 50th anniversary with two performances at Mamiya Theater on August 19 and 20, 2000. The concert featured sixty students and the choreography of the late Halla Huhm, including two children’s dances, one of which was last performed in the 1960s. Three court dances were also included as well as kayagum sanjo played by former Halla Huhm Studio instructor Yeon Hi Joo.

The performances were sponsored by the Halla Huhm Foundation and The Centennial Committee of Korean Immigration to the United States.


July 18, 2000

The Halla Huhm Dance collection was one of three dance collections chosen by the Dance Heritage Coalition, an alliance of the nation's major dance collections and housed in the Music Division of the Library of Congress. The Dance Heritage Coalition was awarded a grant for $90,000 as part of the "Save America's Treasures" Historic Preservation Fund . This grant was a public-private partnership between the White House Millennium Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation and was administered by the National Park Service. Although the Halla Huhm Dance Collection was available in October 1998, the "Save America's Treasures" grant will allow for a conservator to look at the collection and give advice to further enhance the existing collection. In addition, the grant will allow for many more items to be added to the collection and for re-mastering of original videos with viewing copies and the scanning of photos.


January 26, 2000

In a formal event in the City Hall chambers, the Council of the City and County of Honolulu presented a certificate for Outstanding Dedication to Preserving Korean Dance and Culture to Mary Jo Freshley for her outstanding community leadership and life-long dedication to preserving and promoting Korean dance and culture in Hawai‘i and to the Halla Huhm Foundation for its work in promoting traditional Korean cultural activities.


December 10, 1999

Mary Jo Freshley, Foundation president and director of the Halla Huhm Dance Studio, received an Outstanding Community Leadership and Service Award from the Honolulu Korean Jaycees in recognition of her dedication and effort to the Korean community.


October 26, 1998

Halla Huhm Dance Collection Now Available

Following her immigration to Hawai'i in 1949, Halla Huhm and the Korean dance studio she founded became the longest, continuing contributors to the perpetuation of Korean dance in the Islands. Huhm and her students performed at countless functions sponsored by a vast array of community organizations in settings as diverse as parades, restaurants, and formal concert halls. Upon her death in 1994, activities of the studio she founded were continued by Mary Jo Freshley.

The Collection left by Huhm is valuable in providing a broad range of information for general purposes and for research studies focusing on such topics as immigrant traditions in the Hawaiian Islands, Korean dance and costuming, ethnic studies, and religion. The catalog of the Collection serves as a major source of information in itself. It includes a biographical sketch of Halla Huhm, an essay on Koreans in Hawai'i, a brief chronology of events relating to Korean immigration to Hawai'i, a list of suggested related readings, and an annotated listing of all items in the Collection. Keywords for each entry in the inventory identify names of dances in Halla Huhm's repertoire and names of people, institutions, and organizations associated with various activities. Keywords are summarized, by major category, in appendices.

Copies of the catalog are available for purchase, and use of the Collection is available by appointment.

To purchase a copy of the catalog, contact:

Center for Korean Studies
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
1881 East-West Road
Honolulu, Hawai'i 96822
phone: (808) 956-7041

In addition to the above activities, the foundation also has supported a performance of the Seoul Metropolitan Dance Company, the residency of Traditional Court Dancers and Musicians, and a workshop by members of the Samulnori Hanulim.