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Fenway Fanfare

Faculty member performs during NHL Winter Classic

As the Boston Bruins pulled off a thrilling come-from-behind victory in the NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park, a BSU faculty member played a key role pumping up the sellout crowd.

Dr. John “Bebo” Shiu, a part-time music professor and director of the university’s string ensemble, plays double bass with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. The Pops provided the soundtrack to the high-profile outdoor hockey game.

Performing from the outfield with the famous Green Monster towering overhead, Shiu and his fellow musicians entertained the crowd with tunes such as Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and The Rolling Stones’ “Paint it, Black.” They even started a wave that rippled through stands filled with screaming fans who inspired hockey players and musicians alike.

“Hearing the crowd and feeling the energy, it was amazing,” Shiu said. “We had to match their energy.”

John Shiu holds his bass with Fenway Park behind him.

Cheering reached a crescendo as Jake DeBrusk scored two third-period goals to orchestrate a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburg Penguins.

“It was pretty incredible,” Shiu said. “It’s something I will definitely never forget.”

Shiu has also played bass at the July Fourth concert in the Hatch Shell and on a Grammy-winning recording by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. He started playing the instrument as a child after he plucked his sister’s violin strings so hard that they broke. The bass’ heavier strings better withstood his early attempts at making music.

Now he relishes the opportunity to share his professional experiences with BSU students.

“For me, it's all about bringing the field experience into the classroom and discussing the preparation that goes into it,” said Shiu, who recounts the extensive practicing, auditioning, and playing that is necessary to join one of the country’s premiere orchestras. “It takes years and years to prepare yourself and be ready for these opportunities.”

Shiu also encourages non-music majors to participate in the String Ensemble and other performing groups offered by the Department of Music.

“Music is for everyone,” he said. “And music is everywhere.”

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