‘It was a wonderful experience’: Toronto Couple Sings Praises to Shen Yun

April 25, 2016 Updated: April 26, 2016

TORONTO—The performance put on by Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Sony Centre on April 24 made a big impression on Linda Fetter and her husband Stephen Fetter. 

“I loved the show,” said Mrs. Fetter, who works in the cake decorating industry, and also sings in a women’s choral group.

“We enjoyed so much, not just the dancing, but the synchronization, the colours of the costumes, the ‘flowiness’ of the women. And the fact that when the women—especially the women—were dancing you did not hear their feet, it was like they were just floating. It was a wonderful experience.”

Shen Yun tours the world every year showcasing traditional Chinese culture through the performing arts, and just wound up a five-show run in Toronto.

With the Middle Kingdom’s 5,000-year history, traditional Chinese culture provides an abundant treasure trove of stories and heroes, myths and legends, which Shen Yun presents through classical Chinese dance and live orchestral music. 

I thought it had a very strong sense of hope, particularly to Chinese expats.
— Stephen Fetter, United Church minister

The costumes in the performance—which are handmade and vividly colourful—particularly struck Mr. Fetter, a minister at Forest Hill United Church in Toronto.

“I really enjoyed the use of fabric,” he said. “I loved the way the costumes were an integral part of the spectacle. I thought it was really well designed and well executed. I loved the expertise of the performers.”

“We also really enjoyed the orchestra,” he added. “Thought the orchestra was top notch. Loved the combination of instruments and the music that was written for the show.”

What makes the Shen Yun Orchestra unique in the music world is its blend of Chinese and Western instruments—enabling it to produce a fresh, new sound.

Alongside Western symphonic mainstays like brass, woodwinds, strings, and percussion, Shen Yun incorporates ancient Chinese instruments such as the pipa (Chinese lute), the dizi (bamboo flute), and the erhu, a two-stringed instrument played with a bow.

Mrs. Fetter also had praise for Shen Yun’s vocal soloists, who sing in bel canto style with Chinese lyrics—something that requires arduous training and has been mastered by few in the world, according to the company’s website.

“I loved them. It was very obvious they were classically trained, and they gave out the emotion that was necessary for what they were singing. So that was quite impressive as well. I enjoyed it very much,” she said.

“There’s the musicality of [the show], the flowing—that’s what really appealed. There was a lot of that operatic type of music. Music and dancing flow together because it has do with timing, and being together, so that spoke a lot to me.” 

Culture From the Divine

China’s ancient culture—believed by the ancients to be divinely inspired—is steeped in traditions from Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism, and the values inherent these traditions shine through in Shen Yun. 

Mr. Fetter described the spirituality in the show as “fascinating,” and said it offered hope.

“It’s not my spirituality, but there’s lots of connections. I was very impressed. I thought it had a very strong sense of hope, particularly to Chinese expats.”

“The historical and social messages that were in the program were quite impressive,” said Mrs. Fetter.

Overall, the couple were delighted with the performance.

“I’m thrilled. I had a lovely time. I’m really glad we came,” said Mr. Fetter.

“It was a lot to take in but very, very enjoyable. I would recommend it to a lot of people,” added his wife.

Reporting by Dongyu Teng and Joan Delaney

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s International Company is currently touring Eastern Canada. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.

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