EUGENE, Ore.—Music can tell a story and express emotions without the use of words. The music of Shen Yun Performing Arts touched thousands of audience members at the Hult Center on Sunday.
“The music was wonderful, especially that instrument that had the two strings—that was beautiful,” Mark Patrzik said after attending New York-based Shen Yun with his wife Chandra.
“It’s amazing how much music you can get out of two strings … when [the erhu] is played, it’s kind of melancholy and sad,” he elaborated.
“Just the sound, just the music, and how it was played … that particular instrument can show the pain and suffering of a culture by just how that’s being played.”
Mr. Patrzik also appreciated how Shen Yun was able to express Chinese culture. “I think they did an excellent job of expressing the culture. I mean, it’s still completely foreign to us because it’s still China, but I saw a lot more and understood a lot more about their culture because of this,” he said.
Mrs. Patrzik expressed her enjoyment of the performance. “I thought it was lovely; it was powerful. We really didn’t know what to expect, but it was wonderful. I enjoyed it,” she said.
She was also impacted by the honestly of the performance in showing a side of China that not many people know about. “Just about how the things are in China, the organ harvesting and things like that, that we just don’t normally think of—and free speech.”
Mrs. Patrzik was referring to a piece that depicted human rights abuses in modern-day China. Shen Yun’s mission is to revive 5,000 years of Chinese culture, much of which has been destroyed and continues to be suppressed by the ruling communist party. Part of Shen Yun’s message is to let viewers know of current events and human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese communist regime.
What the Chinese regime is doing to the Chinese people is “unsettling,” Mrs. Patrzik said, “but [it’s] good to bring it into the light, and [I’m] glad that they express that here.”
‘So Much Soul’
Another audience member was also moved by the erhu soloist during this evening’s performance.
Regarding the erhu soloist, Sandra Siegienski, a speech pathologist, complimented, “It’s beautiful. I’ve never heard anyone play so beautifully.”
“I’m not sure I could put it into words, I found myself imagining everything,” she continued. “There was so much soul in the music. It was so incredibly expressive. I really don’t have words to describe it.
“I would love to see that performance again several times,” she added, “and I can imagine it would be slightly different with a different kind of soul each time it’s played.”
Regarding the entire performance, she said, “I just found myself appreciating the … beautiful sense of hope and just enjoying being in that moment and not having to worry about anything else.”
Reporting by Mary Zhang and Maria Han.