Capital Region cellists thrilled to share stage with Yo-Yo Ma

August 09, 2017 07:47 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - It was a once in a lifetime experience for 90 Capital Region cellists on Wednesday, as they got the change to share the stage with classical music superstar, Yo-Yo Ma.

To put this into perspective, it would be like local people playing basketball with LeBron James or Michael Jordan.

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He's known the world around. His ever-present smile and genius with the cello have made Yo-Yo Ma a beloved performer.

He has 18 Grammy Awards.

"Yo-Yo Ma is as big as it gets right now, because he has a great heart and a great way of communicating with people," noted Elizabeth Sobol with SPAC.

Dressed in jeans, he was shaking hands with cellists of all ages on the stage at SPAC on Wednesday.

It's part of the Philadelphia Orchestra program, where local musicians get to play alongside the world's best.

This was the first time SPAC did this and they say it was a huge success. Within two hours of announcing it, they had all 90 cellists and a waiting list of 25 more.

There was a broad range in ability and age. Bill Newman, 70, was the most senior. He's been playing for just a few months.

"This is a rare honor and opportunity to be on the same stage with Yo-Yo Ma. He is an amazing person and musician," exclaimed Newman.

NewsChannel 13 asked 14-year-old Zachary Gerhardt if it left him inspired. "It does, just to see what you could do, where you start and then where you could end up," he replied.

Eloise Applebee, 7, was another young cellist. She said she loved it, even though she had never heard of Yo-Yo Ma.

After playing for a few minutes, Ma left the stage to get ready to return to play with the Philadelphia Orchestra at 8 p.m. Wednesday night. Those he played with are left with a great story to tell.


WNYT Staff

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