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Yo-Yo Ma Is Finding His Way Back to Nature Through Music


From there, the scholars boarded buses for a white-water rafting trip with interludes from the park’s scientists. The mood was playfully competitive and cheerful, at the same time as the weather turned cold. Matthew Evans, a highschool senior who plays trumpet, bravely socialized through chattering teeth after his raft took a plunge with him within the front row and left him soaked right because the sun was retreating behind the mountains.

But there was a reward as they paddled to shore and saw Ma there, playing his cello on the sandy riverbank. More of a surprise, nevertheless, was when he placed on a life vest and joined one in every of the rafts. Michael Farmer, a pastor who works with Step by Step, said of Ma: “He’s such a down-to-earth person, him being a part of it didn’t seem to be it was misplaced.”

Throughout the day, Ma had been stuffed with wonder on the sight of nature, but he seemed most animated reflecting on the connections he had made — through, he said, culture. “I feel it principally opens worlds for the mind and for the center,” he added. “Culture is just not attempting to get you to do something. It’s attempting to do something. It’s attempting to get you to grasp the opposite and be at one with the opposite, to be communal.”

And that’s how the evening ended. The rafters arrived at a barbecue dinner that evolved into something like an open mic night, complete with a singalong of “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” At one point, Ma stood up and gave a transient speech.

“I got here as a stranger, and I hope, I pray, that I’m leaving a friend,” he said. “That’s because you’ve gotten all been so welcome. You let me know your community, and that’s what all of us are. I actually have friends in all of you. In music, in culture, once you start a relationship, you never break it. I’m sure we are going to always remember this.”

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