Changemaker Highlight of the Week: Annie Kim, United Sound
Posted: Thursday, March 2, 2023
In Fall 2022, Annie Kim began the work of establishing UE United Sound, a student club and ChangeLab course at the University of Evansville. Annie is a sophomore biology major and is concertmaster for the UE Symphony Orchestra. As a student at Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana, Annie became involved in United Sound and had a dream of bringing the program to the University of Evansville.
United Sound is a national organization founded in 2014 with a mission of removing barriers and fostering social change through music. With that program’s support, UE United Sound trains peer mentors (UE music students) to bring the joy of music to students who have disabilities. Mentors and musicians work together to learn how to read music and play an instrument. This is a very special program that gives these musicians newfound confidence and community as well as experiences they may not have had access to otherwise.
In December 2022, Annie’s United Sound students had the opportunity to perform on stage at the Victory Theatre with the UE Symphony Orchestra in front of a packed house for the annual Holiday Pops concert.
Establishing a new program at any institution is always going to be more challenging than first expected, and that was certainly the case for Annie. However challenging, Annie was undaunted. She reached out to individuals all over campus to learn policies and processes and powered through with her goal of establishing the group. The opportunities provided to students as well as the experience gained by peer mentors was the driving force behind growing through every new challenge.
UE United Sound has continued into the Spring and is growing as the musicians increase their skills and competencies and take on more challenging musical concepts. Rehearsals have now begun for the group to perform again on April 18 at the Victory Theatre during the Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble Spring Concert, which is free and open to the public.
By providing opportunities for students with disabilities to learn how to play an instrument and read music, and by providing a path to a performance on a premier stage, Annie has shown a commitment to ensuring every student has access to the highest quality music education. The stated goal of United Sound is lived out through Annie’s commitment to the program: “We know that the joy of learning and performing music is life-changing. We believe that all children should have access to meaningful and authentic music education and musical experiences.”
For more information and a great article and video about this program, visit wnin.org, which ran a feature leading up to the Holiday Pops performance.