TORONTO—The music of Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra, with its unique blending of traditional Chinese instruments and classical Western instruments, was something different for Raymond Rouillard, uplifting his soul, in his own words, and even moving him to tears.
He said he can usually listen to music he is not familiar with, such as Chinese music, for only for a few minutes, before losing interest. Shen Yun was different.
“I enjoyed it very much. I was amazingly surprised about how they can deliver this sufficiently to touch my heart that much, and I surprised myself that I was crying just by listening to the music, and get carried by the music.”
Mr. Rouillard was not alone. The show garnered two standing ovations and two encores, the audience far from finished with the performance when conductor Milen Nachev finally left the stage not to return.
Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts is a classical Chinese dance and music company that stages different performances around the world each year. This October, the company’s Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is touring select cities in North America. The orchestra plays original Chinese scores, as well as classical Western masterpieces.
When experiencing a Shen Yun performance, audience members describe being mesmerized by the superb quality and beauty in the performance and many are even moved to tears. But what makes Mr. Rouillard’s case particularly unique is that he wasn’t even inside the theatre watching the orchestra perform.
‘You Just Let Your Heart Go’
Mr. Rouillard, who lives in Montreal, was accompanying his wife on a trip to Toronto where she was attending a conference.
He had heard about the popularity of the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra and wanted to have a chance to see the company’s performance, so instead of taking a plane back, he told his wife that it’s better for the two of them to drive back so that Mr. Rouillard could come and watch the performance at the Roy Thomson Hall.
Not having purchased a ticket in advance, the retired businessman joined the long line up at the theatre to get a ticket, but the performance was sold out and he was left without a ticket.
Mr. Rouillard was disappointed but he didn’t want to give up. He sat on a chair by the entrance of the music hall where a speaker was broadcasting the performance live. He initially intended to listen for only a few minutes, but he was so captured by the sound of the orchestra that he sat and listened to the entire performance.
“You get carried by the music,” Mr. Rouillard said, adding that he was translating his words from French.
The performance, he said, uplifts the soul, leaving the audience with a happy feeling.
“You just let your heart go , and it’s like if your heart is holding the hand of your soul, and they are walking together.”
Mr. Rouillard was happy that someone who had an admission to the performance helped him purchase DVD and CD copies of the orchestra’s last year performance from the theatre’s lobby.
Reporting by Dongyu Teng
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