Principal Harpist: Wonderful Shen Yun Musicians

January 27, 2014 Updated: January 27, 2014

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.—After hearing Shen Yun, Katherine Newman, principal harpist with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, said: “I was very impressed with the orchestra. The musicians were really wonderful.”

She felt that the dance and the music meshed with perfect precision. “The choreography went so perfectly with it. It was perfectly timed. I know that’s the orchestra director’s job,” she said.

At the final curtain at the Von Braun Center Concert Hall, when the master of ceremony introduced the conductor, the already vigorous applause became thunderous.

“Until recently, Shen Yun’s music was heard only as accompaniment to dance performance,” reads the program. “Now, combining distinctive Chinese sound with the grandeur of the Western symphony, the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is giving concerts on stage.”

Ms. Newman said she was pleasantly surprised to hear how the East and West was blended in the Shen Yun Orchestra, both musically and literally. “It was wonderful to see both, and to see both cultures. I noticed that not everyone was from China. I was expecting it to be an orchestra from China, but I saw a blonde head in there,” she said with a laugh.

The Steadfast Lotus especially touched her heart. The specific piece is set in contemporary China, and according to the program, “In a plot that mirrors countless present-day stories of Chinese families torn apart, the daughter endures tribulations searching for her mother, until her steadfast faith gives her newfound hope.”

“I loved the progression of the history,” said Ms. Newman. “It was so poignant to see the oppressive side. It was very powerful.”

Moreover, the dance made her grateful to live in America. “How fortunate we are to have freedom of faith,” she said.

“To be able to freely speak and to speak our minds, that is a great gift,” said Rick Breytenbach, who came to Shen Yun with Ms. Newman. As a cellist and a long-time martial arts practitioner, Mr. Bretenbach said it was also a gift to be able to see Shen Yun.

He wished to say to the artists: “Thank you for coming to Huntsville.”

He laughed and said he admired the flowing beauty of Shen Yun and wanted to learn to walk as gracefully as the dancers. “I enjoyed the fluidity of the movement—they were flowing. I want to learn how to walk like that. It was beautiful, so graceful. Hats off to the choreographer and the orchestra director!”

He noticed that the singers had no microphones. Ms. Newman noticed too, and said: “They filled the house, very powerful voices.”

She was glad the lyrics were projected behind the singers. “I so happy that they had the words above on the screen because it helped a lot.” Ms. Newman also enjoyed the bel canto vocalists—two sopranos and a tenor: “wonderful, wonderful singers,” she said.

Ms. Newman plans to tell all her friends, along with her son and daughter who live in other cities, that if Shen Yun comes to their cities, they must seize the chance to see it.

Reporting by NTD Television and Mary Silver

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit

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