Greetings from New York City! I'm currently writing from the tour bus as we head back to home base for the evening. Hopefully I can get into a routine of updating my blog as I travel.
My tour with Shen Yun Performing Arts officially began over two weeks ago. Our first venue was in Waterbury, CT where we did 3 shows at the very end of December. Because the city is mainly built upon industrial business the theater was a little smaller than I had hoped, but it was also beatifully kept in it's original 1920s style.
Our second venue was in Philadelphia, PA at Merriam Theater (which is actually part of the Kimmel Center, home to the Philadelphia Orchestra). This theater was also a but smaller than I imagined it would be; it had beautiful velvet chairs and handpainted angels or muses all over the ceiling. The shows went very well overall and the audience seemed to be very enthusiastic.
We started our run at the Koch Theater (home to the New York City Ballet) on Wednesday. We left around 7 in the morning to get to the venue and do our soundcheck. If you have never been then just know that The Koch Theater seats 2,544 people. Our management had risers put in place to elevate the orchestra in the pit so that audience can see us play our instruments. Wednesday afternoon we did a rehearsal and then opened the curtain at 7:30pm. Ok, let's be honest here, I was nervous. Not pee-my-pants nervous, but "hey! You're about to perform at Lincoln Center, don't mess up!" nervous. And you know what? I played pretty well, if I do say so myself. Strangely enough, my nerves all went away after the first two pieces in the program; it felt just like any other hall. If I thought too much about it I would sort of get those butterflies in my stomach, but then I'd start playing again after some rests and feel relaxed again. The fact that I've rehearsed all this music hundreds of times also helps.
Thursday and Friday's show were also both fine, but I was pretty tired since we typically don't get back from the theater until 12:30am and then we get up at 6:30 or 7am and do it all again. Thursday we had a tv news team come and do a segment in the morning.
Today's show was at 2pm. I skipped lunch to get my warm-up in. I'm thinking this is how tour life will be for a while. It's not ideal, but I make do. I learned that hard way that constantly traveling from place to place requires a lot of self-motivation and pre-planning in order to ensure I'm at the top of my game every night. Otherwise I would never practice or warm up or cool down.
Anyway, the show went really well today for me personally. I'm sorry our last show in NYC is tomorrow... I wish I could stick around and explore the city a little bit. Luckily, we have another set of shows in April! So we'll be back.
Hip-hip-hooray for my debute performance at Lincoln Center with the Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra! A year ago I wouldn't have dreamed I'd be performing here. I feel very lucky, and very happy, and very grateful.