Steel Guitar Pro Lauds Shen Yun’s Musicians

January 17, 2015 Updated: January 17, 2015

MISSISSAUGA, Canada—Al Gain has been there and done that, his wife says. He’s a renowned pedal steel guitar player and his picture is hung on the wall of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

He’s performed all over the U.S. and Canada and can be heard on pedal steel anthologies and recordings of country music bands like the Good Brothers.

On Saturday, he saw another master musician, virtuoso Mei Xuan, playing China’s ancient two-stringed violin, the erhu. The instrument is known for its hauntingly beautiful sound and surprising emotional range.

“Was pretty wild, that it’s actually got [only] two strings,” he said.

He’d seen it plucked before but never played with a bow. He complimented Xuan on her ability.

“Beautiful stuff, her control was fantastic,” he said.

He was there that afternoon with his wife Bernice Gain and neighbour Joe Borg.

Speaking during the intermission, the group shared their thoughts on the performance so far.

“It’s amazing, totally amazing. I just love everything about it, synchronized, and the colours, and the dancing—everything. Very nice, very nice. Very nice,” said Mrs Gain enthusiastically.

“So far it’s pretty exciting. Everything’s in unison, and the colours—it’s amazing,” said Mr. Borg.

“Fantastic,” added Mr. Gain.

“The synchronizing and all that is unbelievable,” he said.

As a musician, he was also amazed by Shen Yun’s symphony orchestra. His wife echoed his sentiments.

Mr. Gain has some experience working with the back up of a full symphony orchestra. He had done some work with a symphony out west, playing on his pedal steel guitar.

“All that music behind me just overwhelmed me, it’s so powering, and it’s amazing,” he said.

Shen Yun’s orchestra is unique in that it includes traditional Chinese instruments like the pipa and suona leading the melodies. A Western orchestra plays the foundation of the music. Mr. Gain said the combination worked well.

“The music is complicated, but yet it’s very pleasing to us, I find. The drumming, the timpani drums, is fantastic. I love that sound,” he said.

They also complimented soprano Yu Ming, who performed before intermission.

“Unbelievable voice, range. Sky’s the limit,” he said of the young, slender singer.

Mrs. Gain agreed.

“That’s what I thought. I thought she had a powerful voice out of that little body, like wow,” she said.

“Yeah, such a small person. Boy oh boy. Wow,” said Mr. Gain.

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. The Shen Yun International Company will perform four times in Mississauga before continuing on to Sony Centre in Toronto. For more information, visit

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