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Little Angels say thank you

South Korean troupe of singing, dancing children pays tribute to Korean War vets in Costa Mesa's Segerstrom Hall.

February 16, 2012|By Imran Vittachi

The Little Angels also are marking their 50th anniversary as goodwill ambassadors. Although the faces of the children have changed over the years, Pak, himself a Korean War vet, has overseen the Little Angels since their beginning.

The troupe was founded in 1962 by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who also founded the Unification Church, the worldwide sect likened by some to be a cult. Moon, 92, also founded the Universal Peace Federation, a group promoting world peace that also helped organize the event.

The Korean Cultural Foundation sponsored the event. Pak also is a prominent figure in the Unification Church movement.

Over the decades, Little Angels troupes have performed in front of American presidents, including Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, and European royalty.

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The troupe's local appearance was not part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts' official program.

The audience was made up of Korean War veterans — American and Korean vets alike — Korean Americans and so-called "Moonies," Moon's followers.

Despite its solemnity, the evening was sprinkled with humorous moments, such as when the emcee, through a slip of the tongue, introduced Kang onto the stage as the "mayor of Irvine, Korea."

Kang quipped back: "We now have a new city in a new country."

imran.vittachi@latimes.com

Twitter: @ImranVittachi

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