RALEIGH, N.C—Cecilia and Charles Gabriel were fascinated with the Shen Yun Orchestra at the evening Shen Yun performance on Jan. 20 at the Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts. “Its so beautiful,” Mrs. Gabriel said.
“I loved it,” Mr. Gabriel said. Mr. Gabriel plays the violin, mandolin, guitar, and piano. He specializes in the traditional fold music of the region.
Mr. Gabriel said that he very much enjoyed seeing Shen Yun International Company and was particularly fond of the orchestra. He said that he is used to playing traditional music, and found it very interesting to hear some of the instruments that he plays in the Shen Yun Orchestra.
The Shen Yun Orchestra “masterfully blends two of the world’s greatest classical music tradition,” according to the company’s webpage. Ancient Chinese instruments like the erhu and pipa lead the melody on top of a full orchestra of Western instruments.
‘It’s very interesting comparison; same instruments, or some of the same instruments, in the orchestra, but the music is totally different,” he said.
“Totally different,” Mrs. Gabriel said. Fascinated with the instrumentation in the Shen Yun Orchestra, Mrs. Gabriel took delight in that the same instrument could make such a wide array of sounds for each culture.
“You hear a violin in an orchestra like this and it really makes you feel like China, yet when you hear a violin in N.C you know it’s a fiddle, its classic American tunes, but it’s the same instrument,” she said.
“It’s nice to see that. The orchestra was just amazing—very nice,” she said.
She said the music was spectacular and that she learned a lot at Shen Yun. “It was beautiful,” she said.
Mrs. Gabriel is the founder and president of the Hopewell Academy, and has served on boards of directors of several area nonprofits. She was interim executive director of Arts Together in Raleigh N.C.
She found Shen Yun moving. “The dancers were elegant and powerful.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun was formed by a group of classical Chinese artists with the desire to revive the true 5,000-year traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun’s mission is the present the virtues and essence of genuine Chinese culture through classical Chinese dance and music.
Mrs. Gabriel especially enjoyed learning the stories and tales from traditional Chinese culture. This year’s Shen Yun includes stories from the classic Chinese novels Journey to the West and Outlaws of the Marsh, and other legendary and literary tales.
“In America, I guess we call those fairy tales—the stories that are important to Chinese students and the children,” she said. “I mean these are the stories that I assume parents tell children throughout the years and its nice to see which ones are so important,” she said.
Shen Yun has not yet performed in China because of communist rule in the country. For the past 60 years, communism has suppressed the true Chinese culture.
“The story tonight touched on some of the most important challenges that China faces and that was nice to see presented in a tactful way as well,” Mrs. Gabriel said. “It was a beautiful story … gorgeous.”
The lights and the costumes especially impressed Mrs. Gabriel. “Oh, the costumes were spectacular—just almost ethereal,” she said.
Mr. Gabriel said that they would both like to thank the Shen Yun artists and performers for working so hard to make such a beautiful performance.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s International Company will visit Kansas Jan. 22 and Jan. 23 next. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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