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Shen Yun Orchestra Impresses San Antonio Audiences

2018-12-30 21:01
The unique orchestra of Shen Yun Performing Arts caught the attention of John McAnelly who watched the performance at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, San Antonio, on Dec. 28. Mr. McAnelly is a Hondo councilman—a city within the Greater San Antonio area—and was once a coach for a choir and a band for school groups. He also used to sing and gave opera performances in college. “I thoroughly enjoyed the orchestra, watching and listening [to it]. And the tuning and the erhu—I don’t know how to say it, it’s just … I thoroughly enjoyed it,” said McAnelly. Mr. McAnelly bought the tickets for his wife as a Christmas gift and she was so touched by the Shen Yun performance that she can’t wait to see it again next year. “This music touched my heart, and reminded me of those good times, and the beautiful music,” said Evelyn McAnelly, a retired teacher. “The dancing was flawless, the costumes were beautiful. And yes I want to come back.” The dances of Shen Yun Performing Arts are accompanied by a live orchestra that blends the classical music traditions of the East and the West. It features ancient Chinese instruments, such as the two-stringed bowed erhu, with a full Western orchestra. “The erhu has always to me … sounded like a wind instrument, like it breaths and it’s being reminded it’s not,” he added. “Her technique on the last note where she was drawing and then pushing, and there was no change in the sounds. [It] was amazing. I thoroughly enjoy it.” Not only the music, but the precision and the cooperation of the orchestra was an eyeopener for Mr. McAnelly. “Well, it was interesting to me from the Westerner’s standpoint. I had never really analyzed how much [the instruments] was doubled,” he said. “And because the trombone, and the cello, and the bassoon are doubled. So they must be perfectly in tune. I just never thought about it before.” “What I appreciate was the fluidity, the sheer excellence of the players, and the way that the winds [instruments] melted with the other [kind of] instruments,” he added. ‘It’s just the whole thing. Because you get this … [It] seems like a unison sound, but it’s actually four or five different instruments on the same pitch.” He also admired the skills of Shen Yun’s musicians. “The winds [instruments] never seems to breathe. And the music is written that way. There are pauses, but the music is written [in a way] that it just flows from one to the next,“ said McAnelly. Besides the music, the songs and the story of Shen Yun gave McAnelly a different way of thinking about life. “I was not as familiar as I’m now with the ideas of the creator and was just reminded that it is a universal thing—of we came from somewhere,” he said. “And the words of the soprano song, I need to study that.” NTD News, San Antonio, Texas