University Director of Bands ‘Enjoyed the Precision’ of Shen Yun

January 1, 2015 8:44 pm Last Updated: January 3, 2015 12:00 pm

HOUSTON, Texas—Tom Bennett, musician and former university band director and music professor, appreciated the unique orchestra combining traditional Chinese instruments and classical Western instruments when he attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts on Dec 30.

“I taught high school and university band for 35 years, so I really appreciate the organization, and how precise everything is. I know how hard that is to do,” Mr. Bennett said.

“I’m a musician myself, so I enjoyed the precision of what they’re doing,” he added. “I think it works very well together.”

Mr. Bennett plays the trumpet. A winner of many auspicious honors and awards during his career, his final position before retiring was the Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music at the University of Houston.

According to the Shen Yun website, “Accentuating the beauty of ancient Chinese instruments amidst the grandeur of a Western symphony, Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is restoring the glorious heritage of ancient Chinese melodies, blazing a brand-new path in the world of classical music.”

Western music would have a chromatic scale, that’s 12 tones, all in half-steps, and the Chinese music has a five-tone scale. … I like it a lot.
— Tom Bennett, musician and former university band director and music professor
“That works very nicely together,” Mr. Bennett said, adding, “that would be hard to put together. Western music would have a chromatic scale, that’s 12 tones, all in half-steps, and the Chinese music has a five-tone scale. … I like it a lot.”

Shen Yun has classical Chinese dance at its heart, along with traditional Chinese folk and ethnic dance, as well as story-based dances inspired by the Middle Kingdom’s 5,000 years of history and culture.

“We think it’s beautiful, and enjoy the dancing, and enjoy the history,” Mr. Bennett said.

He also appreciated the storytelling through dance, highlighting the introductory piece as well as a dance story titled The Fable of the Magic Brush as performances that stood out for him.

“I liked them all. And the introduction, with all the drummers, I thought that was very good, … how together everything is, how acrobatic,” he said.

“The jumping and all the arm movements—very difficult,” he added. “I like all the techniques.”

Reporting by Sophia Zheng and Leigh Smith

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

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.