U.S. State Department, Ministry of Defense Officials Attend Shen Yun Despite Blizzard
After six performances, Shen Yun’s New York Company drew its final curtain at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington D.C. on January 30. The Washington D.C. area was experiencing severe snowstorms that week, but Shen Yun’s performances nevertheless made a significant impact on the capital’s mainstream society, attracting many patrons from Washington’s upper strata. Shows on both Saturday and Sunday boasted of over fifteen hundred audience members.
According to Shen Yun’s D.C. organizers, high-level White House government officials from the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the FBI, and the CIA contended against heavy blizzards to attend Shen Yun at the Kennedy Center. Also in attendance were foreign diplomatic envoys, royal family members, eminent artists, enterprisers, and financiers.
Members of the Presidential Cabinet and White House Officials
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan brought his wife Karen and children Claire and Ryan to the Shen Yun performance at the Kennedy Center Opera House.
Mr. Duncan told reporters, “It was a beautiful performance. I had a good time.” Mrs. Duncan added, “I liked all of it. I liked the costumes, the dances... I especially liked the dance 'Plum Blossom.’”
The Duncan children also gave their enthusiastic approval, adding that their favorite programs were the dances.
Ms. Sheila Weikenfeld, who was the First Lady’s press secretary during the Ford administration, said she found the show a delightful performance, one which delivered a profound and deep inner message.
Tom Marfiak is a former U.S. Rear Admiral, was a CEO and Publisher at the US Naval Institute, and acted as a strike group commander with the navy for 37 years. After watching the show, Marfiak said, “It was a really remarkable performance. It was wonderful to see the dance and the culture of China… the wonderful dancing and music, of course. Extraordinary!”
Many Department of State officials and intelligence members privately shared their thoughts with reporters; they said they were delighted to finally be able to see China’s true traditional culture.
Several government officials who frequently work with China came to the show eager to learn more about China and Chinese culture. Among them were Consumer Product Safety Commissioners, Federal Trade Commissioners, U.S. District Attorneys, and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Program representatives.
Fernando Galaviz is the CEO of The Centech Group, Inc. and a member of the U.S. Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce. “Shen Yun presents a pure and beautiful culture,” he said. “The music is a well-balanced blend of Western instruments... the arrangements are excellent.”
Patrick A. Templeton is a senior consultant in the corporate and government relations field. He was NASA’s chief of External Relations, responsible for the space agency’s public affairs operations. “I like the reference to the deity and the spiritual,” Mr. Templeton said, adding that he had been thinking about this theme throughout the show. The last dance, “Opening of the Heaven Gates,” gave him the final answer. Mr. Templeton says he will tell everyone he knows to come watch Shen Yun, “It’s fulfilling, it expands your horizons, and it broadens your perspective.”
February 5, 2011