A hero in his native South Korea for being a master violinist and the current record holder for wheelchair track and field and marathon, Wright State University faculty member and D.M.A., In-Hong Cha, will again be the subject of a South Korean documentary that focuses on global success stories.
Cha teaches applied violin and serves as an associate professor of music, director of orchestral studies, conductor of the Symphony Orchestra, coordinator of strings and leader of the Faculty String Quartet at Wright State University.
Cha is also a gold medalist from the Asian Games for the Disabled in Japan and the 2008 Ohio Wheelchair Games in Wheelchair Slalom.
KBS, the South Korean public broadcast station, is on campus filming and interviewing Cha because they believe his story is inspirational.
“They are focusing on me as a confident person enjoying my position and how I overcame struggle in childhood and as a person with a disability,” said Cha.
Cha, who was disabled by polio at a young age, grew up in South Korea but did not formally begin his education until he was 24. Cha says he studied alone and dreamed of coming to the United States to receive a formal education in music.
Through hard work and determination, he attracted the attention of the University of Cincinnati. He was invited as a student to study under the La Salle String Quartet at the College-Conservatory of Music. Cha continued his education in the United States and, after achieving a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in orchestral conducting, joined the music faculty at Wright State in 2000.
Two years later a Korean TV station approached him about shooting a documentary that would tell his story entitled “Human Victory.”
“I was honored to be chosen nine years ago and I am honored again to be the focus of another story that will be broadcast in South Korea,” said Cha.
These days Cha is as busy as can be, but he’s trying to use the attention to his advantage and not let it be a distraction.
After a recent rehearsal for an upcoming concert Monday, Nov. 7, at the Beavercreek Church of the Nazarene, Cha quipped about the video crew’s effect on the university Symphony Orchestra.
“I think they actually played better with the attention,” said Cha.
Still a hero in South Korea, there is little doubt as to why Cha is getting all of this attention again.
“They think I have a beautiful story. It was a sad story when I was young, but I’m not sad anymore. I am truly blessed,” said Cha.