The sound of violins reverberated through former House Representative Jay Kim’s house in Fairfax County, Virginia, near Washington D.C., on the evening of September 29.
Violinist Jihae Park captivated the audience of about 50 people by her passionate performance. The half-hour concert, featuring Park playing famous classical pieces and Korean songs, was met with rapturous applause. Before her encore, Park thanked Mr. and Mrs. Jay Kim for giving her the opportunity to perform for such a large private audience.
Before Park’s performance, a “Washington Form” was also held in former Congressman Kim’s house. Korean Ambassador Han Duk-soo, Forum President Park Yoon-shik, and other dignitaries discussed possible ways to have the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement ratified as soon as possible.
The three-story house of former Congressman Kim has become a cultural gathering place for Korean-Americans and Koreans who visit the D.C. area. After last year’s expansion of the basement and the living room to accommodate over 100 people at a time, Kim has used his home to hold events related to culture, arts, academics, and politics.
One event Kim has held in his house is an open rehearsal for the Susie Kim Memorial Concert, held annually at the Kennedy Center in memoriam of Korean-American Susie Kim, who died of cancer at a young age. Another, last January, was a party to celebrate the publication of Han Sung-joo’s book. A third is a party for around 70 Korean students planning on interning in the U.S., featuring a spur-of-the-moment lecture from Kim. And it was in Kim’s house where campaign parties were held for Mark Kim, the first Korean-American elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, and for Mayor of Irvine, CA Kang Suk-hee. Former Congressman Kim has stated that he owes a lot to both Korea and the U.S., and he wanted to make his home a place of gathering to support those in the fields of culture, arts, and politics from both countries.
Former Congressman Kim received a lot of help from his wife, Jennifer Ahn, in making his house a place of gathering. Ahn, who runs IMS (an advertising firm), has taken sole responsibility for inviting guests and preparing food at these parties. Ahn, a sister-in-law of singer Cho Yong-pil, said that she learned a lot from her late sister (Ahn Jin-hyun) hosting parties at her home.