TORONTO—Conductor Milen Nachev and the musicians of the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra were rewarded with thunderous applause and standing ovations at the end of their performance on Sunday, Oct. 23, at Roy Thomson Hall.
The concert, part of the orchestra’s 2016 world tour to Japan, Taiwan, Canada, and the United States this fall, concluded with two curtain calls and three encores.
Retired government manager David Hayes felt joy in his heart after leaving the concert.
“Wow, you go home and your mind is dancing with all the sounds,” he said.
His wife, Colette Touma-Hayes, said she felt immersed in the music.
“It’s fantastic, extraordinary, fantastic. You feel like you are part of the charm, the music,” said Mrs. Touma-Hayes, a retired elementary school teacher. “You feel engaged, you feel you’re part of this.”
“Wherever the story is, you feel like you’re there,” added her husband. “Whether it’s in the meadows, or dancing, or whether you’re in the mountains, it’s just incredible.”
Mr. Hayes was fascinated every minute of the concert, following the rhythms of the music.
“If you listen to the sound of each instrument, they have the roles they play, and they play a certain way,” he said.
“You sit in your seat just listening to the music, and listening to all the unique sounds that each instrument has, and how precise they are together—it’s very, very nice to listen to. It gives you chills.”
Mrs. Touma-Hayes was touched by the sense of deep spirituality conveyed by Shen Yun after reading the descriptions in the program book, particularly the song lyrics that invite one to reflect upon one’s heart and purpose in life.
This was the first time the couple had attended a performance of the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra, although they have seen the Shen Yun Performing Arts classical Chinese dance production in past years.
“We’re very happy, we’re very lucky to be here,” said Mrs. Touma-Hayes.
‘I got goosebumps’
Operations manager Trevor Nasution came to the concert from London, Ont., with his wife and son.
“We knew it was going to be fabulous,” he said.
Mr. Nasution enjoyed the combination of the Eastern and Western musicial instruments, particularly the Chinese instruments and melodies.
“We loved that sound,” he said.
He was also touched by the spirituality in the concert, which presented scenes from 5,000 years of Chinese culture, a civilization imbued with a deep reverence for the divine.
“I got goosebumps during a couple of the song movements,” Mr. Nasution said.
“I think it’s the divine land. It’s very strong and then it’s very soft. I just love that marriage between the horns and the wind instruments. It was very nice,” he added.
He was especially touched by the closing piece titled “Divine Compassion.” Created by Shen Yun composer Junyi Tan, the story conveys the theme of good overcoming evil to transform the world, according to the program book.
Mr. and Mrs. Nasution’s son, Dylan, plays clarinet in his school band and was impressed by the power of the strings.
“I liked how energetic [the concert] was,” he said.
Mr. Nasution said he and his family would make seeing the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra an annual tradition from now on.
“Looking forward to it,” he said, adding that he is also hoping to catch the colourful dances of Shen Yun Performing Arts as part of its upcoming world tour.
New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra comprises musicians from the four Shen Yun Performing Arts touring companies. For information about the October performances, visit: ShenYun.com/Symphony
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.