“When I Sing, I Feel Peaceful”: Experiences of Older Choral Singers From North Korea

Jinmoo Heo, Sanghee Lee, Sua Im, Jaeyoon Bae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


North Korean (NK) defectors fled their homeland and traveled thousands of miles in search of a better life. This qualitative study explored the experiences of older NK defectors who were part of a serious leisure choral group. In-depth interviews were conducted with eight NK defector members of a South Korean choir group, from which four central themes emerged: (a) conquering adversity and promoting health; (b) making good friends and having great adventures; (c) providing an arena to develop a new identity; and (d) developing proficiency through vigorous efforts. Involvement in choral singing as a serious leisure activity assisted the members in overcoming the various adversities they were facing, promoted their physical and mental health, and helped them develop comradery and new social identities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-252
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Yonsei University Research Grant of 2020. This investigation was also supported by the Czech Science Foundation (19-11418Y GAČR).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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