HOUSTON—Michael Held has played the pipe organ for close to 60 years, and that is what he did on Sunday morning, December 29, the same day he chose to see Shen Yun Performing Arts, the world’s premiere classical Chinese dance company.
He and his wife Jean, a physiotherapist, both work for a local mission service.
They basked in the magnificence of the New York-based Shen Yun’s revival of ancient China’s cultural heritage at Houston’s Jones Hall for the Performing Arts.
Preserving history is important to Mr. Held, who plays the music of renowned classical organist and composer Johann Sebastion Bach.
“We dare not forget about the greatness of the past, because we learn from that,” he said. “And the same is true here with culture. We should continue pushing ahead with promoting that and not let it fall by the wayside.”
As a former music teacher, Mr. Held was held captivated throughout the entire performance, particularly by the Shen Yun Orchestra, which produces the distinctiveness of Chinese music blended with classical Western instruments.
“It’s wonderful—I enjoyed the colors, the precision, the uniqueness of the dance itself,” he said. “And the instrumentation.”
Mrs. Held also loved the array of colors, the dancing, the choreography, and the music, but said she especially loved the way the dancers blended with the background.
A Shen Yun performance moves quickly through dynasties and regions, the program explains. Legends and myths spring to life. Ethnic folk dances fill the stage with color and energy. The leaps and flips of Shen Yun’s aerial masters, the thunderous battle drums, and the singers’ voices are all set to animated backdrops.
“Yes,” Mr. Held said. “And it just feels like there is a good rapport between the audience and the performers, the orchestra and the performers. And it’s just a very accepting emotion and feeling that [exists] between the two.”
Shen Yun cannot be seen in China today, where traditional Chinese culture has been mostly destroyed under 60 years of communist rule.
Mr. Held hopes the Chinese regime soon relents, as keeping 5,000 years of history alive is important for different cultures around the world to be shared.
Reporting by Sarah Guo and Raiatea Tahana-Reese
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
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.