Performing Artist: ‘The music is not only on key technically, it’s on key spiritually’

“Two years ago I went to [the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra] performance at Roy Thomson Hall for its symphony alone, and I was so profoundly touched by the music that I decided to come back to see the show, and I was not disappointed whatsoever.”

 

“The orchestra and the music are phenomenal. They not only get their notes and hit their notes, they strike their notes … they somehow can strike a chord actually from within.

 

“It’s like there’s a melody that is continuing on, but yet, it’s yet to finish. It’s from the most ancient of melodies to the most modern of songs. It’s like you are hearing either a pulse, or a string, or a bloodline of a culture that was [once] forgotten but that just refuses to be obscured or be left in the dust of time.”

 

“The spirituality is there. That’s the amazing thing about this performance compared to a lot of modern and even classical Western [performances]. This has a life, a spirit, a philosophy, and a force of its own.”

 

“The quality [of the dancing] is quite exquisite. Exquisite is a good word, but it’s not the right word for it: exquisitely extraordinary.

 

“I can feel what [the dancers’] intentions are and I can feel what the story is, and yes, their emotions. I can actually slightly feel their emotions from the inside out. The thing is that they express it through their body, not through just their face.”

 

“It was inspiration not only through the visuals—like just the costumes, the screen, and also even the timing, how the actors go from the stage to the screen and back again—but also the music. The music is not only on key technically, it’s on key spiritually.”

 

“What I can tell from the tenor is that he’s not a light tenor. … He not only has range and emotion, he also has what I feel is a bit of a passion for it, and I did feel it at this performance. And being a singer myself, as a baritone countertenor, I know that I could feel his notes, and that’s what you’ve got to come across as a singer. You have to do more than just sing the notes, like sing ‘A’ and sing ‘C,’ you have to express the notes.”

 

“The lyrics were profound, not only empathetic but also holistic.”

 

“I think the [performance] that struck me the most was the Tibetan drum dance, because it was not only what the dancers had to go through with a drum on their back while doing a lot of complicated dance moves and with the orchestra playing and having to hit their drums at specific cues, it’s just that it had its own spirit of a warrior. And being someone who was an elite athlete, I can feel that. The internal struggle to just keep on going, keep on fighting, and keep on trying—it’s there.”

 

“The stories … not only impressed me visually but also beautifully [through the] music. They’ll leave a lasting impact on me for a long while.”

Joseph A.W. Sebok, amateur actor, musician/singer, and dancer
Four Seasons Centre, Toronto, Canada
Shen Yun World Company
March 2, 2017