Hyounsoo Lathrop Shares Her Singing Around Woodbury

by | May 2024

Hyounsoo Lathrop

Hyounsoo Lathrop. Photos: Hyounsoo Lathrop

Resident grew up singing in South Korea and credits her parents’ generosity for her success.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Hyounsoo Lathrop grew up in a loving home with her father, Kyungtack Sohn; mother, Junghee Park; and older brother, Changbum Sohn, by her side. During tough times in South Korea, she watched as her father struggled in his role as a first-generation real estate broker. “Korea went through a really, really hard time,” she says. “My dad worked hard. He was such a good man.”

Faith was an important part of their lives, and her parents, Lathrop says, believed in giving generously to others. She still remembers a time when her mother invited someone who was without housing into their home, feeding them and clothing them.

“She always did that. She was always giving to somebody, doesn’t matter if you have money,” Lathrop says.

Although her father passed away about 14 years ago, Lathrop’s mother and brother remain in South Korea. Today, Lathrop is a successful Realtor and manager associate for Coldwell Banker in Woodbury. She and her husband, Arthur, have two sons, Allen (18) and Calvin (15). She’s also a gifted singer and pianist who gives back to her community.

Prior to her time in the United States, Lathrop was a member of the Korean National Chorus for six years before moving to the U.S. at the age of 28. It was her mother who urged her to dream even bigger. “Because Korean National Chorus is a really good job, it was hard to give up,” Lathrop says.

Lathrop applied to six different music academies in the U.S.—and was denied admission to her top choice—before she was accepted at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Indiana, where she was awarded a full scholarship for the professional study of opera, with living expenses paid. “It’s so amazing; every time a door closed, there was a better door waiting,” she says.

Meanwhile, as the only non-English speaking person in her opera program, Lathrop struggled. Although she could read English, having a conversation was more difficult. As an opera major, she was also required to learn French, Italian and German.“It was extremely difficult,” Lathrop says. “I gave up my career in Korea, very determined. I am not going to let this stop me.”

Her classmates and her future husband, Arthur, were incredibly supportive, helping her improve her speaking skills. Today, Lathrop is fluent in both English and Korean.

Lathrop then spent a few years touring and performing around the U.S. In 2005, when she was first pregnant, she shifted her focus to being a full-time mom. Madama Butterfly, in the Indianapolis Opera, became her final opera performance.

Hyounsoo Lathrop in "Madama Butterfly," an opera by Giacomo Puccini.

Hyounsoo Lathrop (left) in “Madama Butterfly,” an opera by Giacomo Puccini.

When her husband accepted a job at 3M, the family packed their bags and headed to Woodbury. Now that her boys are older, Lathrop is making singing a priority again. “The reason I started intentionally doing more is my mom says, ‘Real estate is all good, but God gave you a gift and you have to use it,’” Lathrop says.

During COVID-19, she did free-of-charge performances in the parking lot at St. Therese, an assisted living facility in Woodbury, to cheer up the residents.

“It was chilly even though it was early May. They had their blankets on, on their balcony. I’m just looking up, singing to them. It was just very special,” she says. She also sings at festivals, events, churches and funerals—all free of charge. Last year, she sang the United States and the South Korean national anthems for the Korean Culture Festival at the Mall of America.

Someday, Lathrop would like to make a recording of some of her favorite hymns with all the proceeds going to charity. “I love singing hymns. I think about it as telling the story. I want them to feel the music, the way I feel. I want to inspire people,” she says.


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