Yo-Yo Ma collaborates with community leaders in Flint and performs with local artists at Berston Field House

Published: Feb. 28, 2019 at 11:51 PM EST
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(02/28/2019) - Superstar Yo-Yo Ma connects with culture through classical music at the historic Berston Field House.

His two-day visit to Michigan ended in Flint where he met with community leaders for a strategy session on cultural collaboration for social change.

Familes lined up outside the field house early, anxious to see Yo-Yo Ma perform in Flint.

"Yo-Yo Ma has been a favorite for years, we feel like we know him," said Cynthia Carr, who brought her grandson from Lapeer.

"Very excited," remarked a young woman who is actually from China, "cannot believe it's free."

"He's world renowned," said Kevin Fedewa who came with his wife and two young children,"to have somebody like Yo-Yo Ma coming to Flint is fantastic"

The world renowned cellist did not disappoint, playing the first piece of music he learned, at age four.

His stop in Flint, part of a two-year journey to perform Bach's Six Suites for Solo Cello in 36 locations around the world, all part of a larger conversation about culture's role in society.

At Berston Field House he thanked the performers for celebrating what Flint is:

"A community of people who are so strong and so resilient together and talking and wanting to make all of their knowledge and resources and experience to be shared by all the community," Ma said.

"That will is amazing and unstoppable," he added.

Ma later invited Flint musician Baba Kevin Collins onstage to play with him

"He said let's do this, let's shock them, let's do something that they don't think they've ever seen or heard before, so I said 'let's do it," Collins said.

"It's about community, it's about Flint, it's about what' we're doing here, we're fighters in this town here," he added.

When he wasn't performing, Ma could be spotted high-fiving performers, posing for photos, autographing CD's, even answering the question about why he decided to come to Flint:

"I love Flint," Ma said.

And they loved him right back.