HOUSTON—When oil company technical magazine editor Janese Parks saw the Shen Yun Performing Arts matinee on Dec. 29 at the Jones Hall for Performing Arts, she had a profound response. What she learned about the Chinese people made her feel confident and hopeful for the country, she said.
Ms. Parks predicted that within 100 years China will become a great superpower, she said. If at the same time it becomes freer, so that Chinese people “can express themselves spiritually and otherwise,” then China’s rise will be very good for the whole world.
Ms. Parks had tears in her eyes as she said, “It’s peaceful for me to know that they will, they are good people.”
Shen Yun intends to revive the divinely-inspired civilization, according to its mission statement. In a Shen Yun performance, “benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience. Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture,” according to the company’s website.
Ms. Parks is musical, and played the clarinet “just for fun,” she said. She said she enjoyed the Shen Yun Orchestra, which is unique; it includes traditional Chinese instruments such as the erhu, the gong, and the suona with a full classical orchestra. “I liked the combination of Eastern and Western instruments. I could hear the clarinets even before they talked about it,” she said.
Shen Yun includes bel canto style vocal soloists who sing poems in Chinese with images and lyrics projected behind them in both Chinese and English. Ms. Parks enjoyed the singers: “Yes, yes, yes! I liked the tenor, the singers, the singers in between. I do like the lyrics very much, with the meaning of life.”
She said she will have to tell her colleagues about it. She would say, “It was very beautiful and it was very well done. It was very good, very enlightening, very intelligent.”
Captivated by Soprano
Also in the audience was Jennifer Rice, a registered nurse. She said of the solo vocalists, “I can understand what they’re singing. It’s beautiful if you look at the words—it takes you home.”
Mrs. Rice liked the palette. “I like the colors of the dresses, it’s beautiful, it’s very vibrant.”
Mrs. Rice said that she was particularly touched by the vocalists, and said, especially during the holiday seasons, it’s good not to take things for granted and to appreciate what you have.
“She stood out to me, her voice stood out to me, and she captured me,” said Mrs. Rice of one soprano.
Shirley Principe, also a registered nurse, said, “The singing was very good as well. I used to sing, so I have a real appreciation of the art. I found them [the singers] to be really astounding!”
“They looked like they studied for many years, and they sounded like they were really experienced, so that was breathtaking for me—It was excellent—all of them: The soprano, the tenor, they were just spectacular,” said Mrs. Principe.
Reporting by Lily Setoh and Mary Silver.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s International Company will be performing in Houston through January 1. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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