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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



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

The Halla Huhm Foundation and the Halla Huhm Dance Studio support a variety of Korean dance and music activities in the state of Hawaii.  Some of these events are described below.

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 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.



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