Amazing Shen Yun Birthday Surprise

A tricky, thoughtful husband broadens family’s cultural repertoire
By Mary Silver, Epoch Times
January 5, 2014 Updated: January 6, 2014

MEMPHIS, Tenn.—One family decided that Shen Yun will become part of their annual traditions. Ray Dahmer surprised his wife, Monee Dahmer, with gift tickets to the Jan. 4 performance at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. He was glad he made the gesture, because, “I loved it,” he said with a smile.

She also loved it. “It was amazing! Today is my birthday,” said Mrs. Dahmer, who works in finance.

“So this was a surprise for me! He didn’t tell me where we were going, and we had gone to no show like this before … a very pleasant surprise,” she said.

Each of them said Shen Yun surpassed what they had imagined.

“We didn’t know what to expect in terms of what it was really about. I just saw some of the advertisements, but this was far more impressive than what we initially thought,” said Mr. Dahmer, who is an IT manager who has taught at the college level.

Shen Yun is unique. According to the program, “In 2006, leading Chinese artists from around the world came together with a mission to revive authentic Chinese culture. They formed Shen Yun.” A full orchestra accompanies large-scale dances, some of which are classical Chinese dance, and some are folk dance.

Each year, the artists present an entirely new program of dances and music.

Mr. Dahmer said, “For next year, since they said they’d do the show differently every year, and we were talking, ‘Hey, our kids would love to see this,’ so that’s what we’ll do next year—bring them, so they can enjoy it.”

Their children are 11, 8, and 4 years old. “They would love this,” he said.

Their daughters are studying piano, and Shen Yun includes Bel Canto vocal solos with a piano accompaniment. During those songs, Mrs. Dahmer said she envisioned her daughters playing the piano.

“During the solos I was just like, ‘Wow this is just great,’ and ‘Aww, that could be my children one day.’ So that was very special.”

She also “loved the gracefulness of the dances. I mean, just the expression—that you could just feel their passion for what they were doing. That’s what I really enjoyed about it.”

Mrs. Dahmer said they go to see the Nutcracker Ballet annually. Next year they will widen their arts repertoire. “We’re going to expand it to different cultures and all that. They’re going to enjoy it.”

Although the standing ovation at the end was loud, Mr. Dahmer said he wished it had been even louder.

“They did a great job. They did a great job. I could not have applauded loud enough. We didn’t do them justice in terms of the noise we can make for what they’ve done, for what they did.”

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.

The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.