SARASOTA, Fla.—Known as Florida’s Cultural Coast, Sarasota has its own professional symphony, opera, and ballet. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, on Sarasota’s Bayfront, stands out.
The Van Wezel Hall was designed by William Wesley Peters, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright. Minding the hall’s waterfront locale, Peters designed the building to reflect the organic shape of a seashell.
Architecturally, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is striking, in a lavender color chosen by Wright’s widow, Olgivanna. In its distinction, it has become recognized as a landmark for the cultural arts.
The Hall’s mission, according to its website is “to present a broad spectrum of the world’s finest performing artists in order to meet the diverse cultural needs of all of Southwest Florida’s residents and visitors.”
It is a perfect fit for Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra’s Oct. 13 return—sharing 5,000 years of China’s ancient culture by harmonizing the sounds of East and West—for the cultural arts’ lovers on Florida’s Cultural Coast.
Last year in Sarasota, also at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Edward Lavallee, city manager of Venice, Fla., attended the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra with his wife, Sharon.
“It’s soul-inspiring,” Mr. Lavallee said of the performance. “It raises your faith, and it just brings a sense of artistic value to your life that is unmatched.”
“Music is like praying twice,” he said. “The music is beautiful. The timing is beautiful, vivid, exciting—and lots of emotions.”
His wife Sharon agreed: “I laughed. I cried. Beautiful, beautiful music.”
There was a touching story from the orchestra’s 2014 engagement in Sarasota: A proud father, Lou Stern, wanted to celebrate his son Mathew’s good report card. The reward, Mathew’s choice, was to hear Shen Yun Orchestra.
Mr. Stern, an attorney, said, “We absolutely enjoyed it, absolutely enjoyed it! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but we loved it.”
Mathew said, “The violins, the new instruments that I hadn’t even heard of yet—I just loved it.”
‘A Profound Musical Experience’
“The origins of Chinese music can be dated back to distant antiquity,” the Shen Yun website states.
“Ancient Chinese instruments share a deep connection with Heaven and Earth. The delicate notes of the plucked pipa evoke a sense of celestial realms. The enchanting sound of the 4,000-year-old erhu mimics the human voice. Leading the melody amidst a full Western orchestra, they create a profound musical experience that resonates deep in the heart.”
“It’s enjoyable, it’s peaceful. We just love the whole evening,” Mr. Stern said. “It was unique, and we can only hope that the world can follow the lead of the orchestra.”
Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra will give two performances at Carnegie Hall, New York, on Oct. 10. The orchestra will give one performance at The Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington, D.C., on Oct. 11. For information about the orchestra’s October performances, visit ShenYun.com/Symphony
Reporting by NTD Television, Leigh Smith, Edie Bassen, and Adam Miller
New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra comprises musicians from the four Shen Yun Performing Arts touring companies. Shen Yun Performing Arts begins its 2016 world tour on Dec. 22, 2015. For information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time.