Anyone who noticed Antonia Fasanelli ’92 and Soye Kim ’73 together at this year’s Sidwell Friends MLK Day of Service could tell that the two women were old friends. Antonia, whose mother, Florence, was once an Upper School math teacher, was there to talk about her work as the executive director of the Homeless Persons Representation Project. Soye, who is senior counsel to a board member at the National Labor Relations Board, was there as a volunteer—and happened to have taken Florence Fasanelli’s class as a 9th grader.
But their connection goes much farther back than that.
When Antonia was 3 years old, she began learning to play the violin. For inspiration, Antonia’s mother took her to concerts at Zartman House, where Soye, who attended the Juilliard School of Music after SFS and became a concert violist, was often the performer. So Antonia grew up watching Soye play, with no idea that this was the first of many meetings to come.
Antonia played the violin throughout her time at Sidwell Friends. When she enrolled at Barnard College, she signed up to take lessons through the Columbia University music department. Soye had also returned to New York and was teaching violin. Incredibly, the violin instructor Columbia recommended for Antonia was Soye.
The two violinists eventually went their separate ways, but there were more reunions ahead. After 18 years of music, Soye went to law school at the University of Virginia and then moved back to DC to pursue her new career. One evening, making her way across Dupont Circle, she ran into Antonia again. Antonia had also become a lawyer.
The women agreed it was too strange a coincidence for them to lose touch again. “So I invited Antonia over for brunch,” says Soye. “It turned out that the other friend I’d invited worked at the Kreeger Museum with Antonia’s mom!” The story had come full-circle—back to Antonia’s mother, the first link Soye and Antonia had discovered between them.
“Our story really just shows how everyone’s connected,” Antonia says. “I’ve had two different lives—the music life and the legal life. And Soye has been a part of both of them.”