The Samjiyon orchestra members give performance in the Arts Center of Gangneung,South Korea, on Feb. 8, 2018. The Samjiyon orchestra from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) staged a performance in the South Korean city of Gangneung on Thursday night before the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. (Xinhua/Pool)
GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Samjiyon orchestra from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) staged a performance in the South Korean city of Gangneung on Thursday night before the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
About 800 South Korean audience appreciated the 140-member group's congratulatory concert in the Arts Center of Gangneung, a costal city in South Korea's Gangwon province and neighboring PyeongChang.
The orchestra offered traditional songs popular in the peninsula, South Korean pop songs and rearranged world classics.
Local media said the show was a "complete success."
The performance started from 8:00 p.m. local time, while people arrived early to queue up in front of the Gangneung Arts Center, which was heavily guarded by South Korean police forces.
The Gangneung Arts Center is located next to an ice hockey stadium, where the South Korean and DPRK women athletes will jointly play as one team for the Winter Olympics.
"I'm not sure if today's performance can really solve the current problem, but the cultural and sport activities can hopefully bring hope to the peace in the peninsula," an audience in his 50s, who was lucky to get a ticket from an online luck draw, told Xinhua.
Altogether 560 people won the lottery by a ratio of 1 against 140 for Thursday's show. About 250 guests were invited by the organizer.
Besides the audience queuing up outside the art center, groups of people were also seen standing outside the security perimeter, with some of them holding banners writing "NO WAR, WANT PEACE."
A middle-aged business owner told Xinhua that he and his employees came here together to watch the concert. "The exchanges between the two sides were cut off for a long time. I hope today's concert and this Winter Olympics could help to resume the communication," he said.
The Samjiyon orchestra arrived in South Korea on Tuesday and rehearsed their performance in Gangneung on Wednesday.
The orchestra will give another concert in the National Theater of Korea in Seoul on Sunday, for which about 1,000 people won the tickets by luck draw.
The PyeongChang Winter Olympics will kick off on Friday and run through until Feb. 25. The Paralympic Games will run next month in the same venue.