BLYSO holds first live post-pandemic concert

The Buddha’s Light Youth Symphony Orchestra (BLYSO) performed for a 150-person audience of temple and community members at the Hsi Lai Center Basketball Court on June 12.

The concert marked BLYSO’s return after two years of online rehearsals and concerts since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2019. The Abbot of Hsi Lai Temple, Ven. Hui Dong praised the symphony for their perseverance and resilience during this tumultuous time.

Claremont Symphony Orchestra music director Robert Sage brought over 30 years of experience with him to conduct the concert. The music performed featured a wide range of cultures and time periods, with songs such as “Star-Spangled Banner,” Strauss’ “Radetzky March,” Beethoven’s “Egmont Overture,” Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty Waltz,” Jenkins’ “Palladio,” Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” and Hans Zimmer’s “Pirates of the Caribbean.” BLYSO also performed “Ode to Venerable Master Hsing Yun” and “Song of the Dharma Propagator,” familiar tunes to temple members in the audience.

Following the concert, the temple presented the Abbot’s Award and Leadership Award to showcase orchestra members’ dedication and service to the community. Five members earned the inaugural BLYSO Abbot’s Award and 10 earned the Leadership Award, with other members receiving certificates of appreciation for volunteering.

After the awards ceremony, Ven. Hui Dong led a tour of the Center’s facilities for a delegation of guests including Hacienda La Puente Unified School District President Jeffrey De La Torre, Los Angeles County First District Supervisor’s Office representative Frank Lu, University of the West President Minh-Hoa Ta, BLIA Los Angeles Chapter President Alex Wu, Producer / Host KSCL-LA18 Juliette Zhuo and members of the Hacienda Heights Improvement Association.

Lu thanked Hsi Lai Temple for continuing to support the local community and for inviting local residents to the concert, and De La Torres emphasized the value of having an educational center for local children.