PHILADELPHIA—Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is something every human should experience, concertgoers Teri Williams and Anthony Thompson said after catching a long-awaited performance at the Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia on Oct. 25.
“It was extraordinary, it was moving,” said Ms. Williams, a consultant. “I love music, and it’s just—at one point I had to close my eyes and just picture it.”
Ms. Williams felt she couldn’t quite verbalize where the music took her, but Mr. Thompson answered without hesitation.
“Between heaven and earth, that’s where you go. Between heaven and earth,” said Mr. Thompson, who worked in the airline industry before retiring.
“It felt like you could spiritually travel,” he said. “This is like a portal, it takes you somewhere.”
The pair first heard about Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra while on a trip in Virginia, where they had a fateful encounter with a woman who would later be on the same plane with them. After hearing the woman describe the uniqueness of Shen Yun, they tried to attend the performance in Washington, but couldn’t make it. Ms. Williams, who lives in New Jersey, said she was thrilled to learn there was still a chance to see a performance in Philadelphia, where Mr. Thompson lives, so she booked tickets immediately.
Shen Yun’s orchestra is unique in that it combines ancient Chinese instruments like the two-stringed erhu and an array of percussion into a full Western symphony orchestra. The orchestra members are assembled from the several full orchestras that normally accompany Shen Yun Performing Arts’ touring dance companies as they perform on premier stages across the world.
The orchestra shares Shen Yun’s mission to revive divinely inspired culture, combining the two grand traditions of Western classical music and traditional Chinese music.
It takes many things—skill, experience, collaboration, and more—to accomplish such a feat, and Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is seen as a technical wonder for having harmonized such sounds in a way that’s never been done before.
“I was watching everybody—between the conductor and the musicians, they were just, I think, professional at the highest level,” Mr. Thompson said. “They were unique with their every pluck and every string, and in harmony with each other.”
Yet it is difficult to put into words what such harmony is like, according to Ms. Williams, and it needs to be experienced. Mr. Thompson paused to think, before agreeing sincerely, “If you don’t experience it you’re missing out.”
“Some things you never experience in life. There are some things you have to experience,” Mr. Thompson said emphatically. “This is something you have to experience.”
“At least once,” Ms. Williams added.
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.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.