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New Best Friends

Joung Jin Kim and Leon Palmgren may live just kilometres away from each other in Shanghai, but it took a Global Orchestra trip to New York City for them to meet and become friends.

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Two of the youngest participants in the Nord Anglia Education Global Orchestra and choir, they are students at the two BISS campuses in Shanghai, but until now had not met. However, in less than three days, they have become solid friends with Leon commenting, “One of the best things about the trip is meeting JJ. He’s friendly, fun to have as a roommate and he likes shopping as much as me… especially for food. I also like how he plays the piano; it’s awesome.”

Despite his youth, Joung Jin will play a piano solo, Debussy’s “Reflets dans l’eau” at the final Global Orchestra concert at the DiMenna Centre in New York, as well as accompany the choir for Cantate. Leon sings alto in the choir, with a repertoire of four pieces. Both are balls of energy and musical enthusiasm and their bonding took place over 16 hours on their flight from Hong Kong to New York for the week-long music workshop. Joung Jin says, “We sang most of the way… but we did get a little bit of sleep.”

Bringing students from around the world together to be immersed in music and culture is the aim of the Global Orchestra and, as Mark Orrow-Whiting explains, “It has been wonderful to see students forming friendships through the common language of music. While they have come here with friends from their own schools, it’s amazing to see them so quickly make new friends, embracing this unique opportunity.”

Joung Jin agrees, “The Global Orchestra has helped me make friends through music; meeting people who understand me.”

Both of the boys are born performers, taking every opportunity to take the stage… or whatever venue is on offer. Joung Jin can be found lying upside down on his piano stool playing with arms crossed to amuse the crowds, while Leon’s bubbly chatty personality makes him a beacon for many of the older performers.

So do the boys plan to stay in touch beyond their time in NYC? Leon says, “We’ve been very good friends from the start and I hope that friendship keeps going on.” Joung Jin concurs, “Yes, truly, we have similar personalities, we like similar things. Although there are differences between us, I still think we are one.”