CHICAGO—Chicago concluded the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra’s 2016 tour with its final performance at the Chicago Symphony Center on Oct. 29. Their schedule included 18 cities with four in the United States, 12 in Taiwan and one each in Japan and Canada.
Mark Schwab, an engineer, was at the Chicago performance. He described his experience with Shen Yun as “kind of like being in a dream—just try to look, and take it all in together and that’s how I felt it—all the instruments together.”
Taking it all in together includes the classical strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass as the foundation, and Chinese instruments, such as the two-stringed erhu and the plucked pipa, used to create the soul-stirring melodies. Shen Yun original music is not only unique but “a new frontier in classical music,” according to the company’s website.
This combination is what audience members resonated with and at the concert’s conclusion they demanded two encores.
“I liked the fact that the Western orchestra is so powerful, but when they bring the Chinese instruments, the pipa and the erhu, back in, said David Pautler, a retired chemist, it’s something very different from the normal sound of an orchestra. So, it’s unusual and beautiful.”
Mr. Pautler found some of the pieces to be very powerful, others emotional and sorrowful, and yet others very energetic.
“It’s just wonderful to come and get so absorbed,” said a retired school teacher, Linda Christian.
“I didn’t think about anything but just the music, and just enjoying myself so much. It was a wonderful, wonderful event,” she said. “It was very much Asian in tone and I enjoyed it very much.”
“They’re fabulous!” said Sharon Gernady, also a retired teacher, who didn’t know what to expect from the performance. “I’m pleasantly amazed at their versatility. And having a tenor performing with them and the soloists—the violinist was fabulous.”
“The orchestra was very impressive,” said Ted Reynolds, a healthcare consultant for eClinicalWorks in Boston, and a jazz pianist. He enjoyed hearing the pentatonic or five note scale, which Chinese music is based on, as opposed to the Western octave: “It’s fun to hear different tonalities than just half tones and whole tones, and they can play a better breadth of music using quarter tones and using all these instruments that are not found in purely Western music, so it’s just fun to broaden my horizons musically.”
“It’s very serene, that’s how I felt,” said Kimberly Jones, a child care provider. “It’s very serene. And, yes, I loved it. Everyone should see it.”
Reporting by Valerie Avore, NTD Television, and Cat Rooney
New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra comprises musicians from the four Shen Yun Performing Arts touring companies.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.