Yo-Yo Ma to perform, speak at free Flint event

FLINT, Michigan — A community dialogue featuring Flint artists, activists, and community members will be headlined with a performance and talk by Grammy Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma on Thursday, Feb. 28.

The showcase titled “Flint Voices: Culture, Community, and Resilience” is part of Ma’s Day of Action in Flint and will include food from Flint Farmers’ Market vendors, an interactive visual art project, live storytelling experiences, and hands-on art making. The event is 4-6 p.m. at Berston Field House, 3300 N. Saginaw St. Ma will be onstage at approximately 4:50 p.m. to perform and give remarks to attendees.

Tickets are not required for the event, but space is limited. 

Related story: Free event at Berston Field House features famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma

Among those also expected to perform at the event are University of Michigan-Flint’s Jazz Combo and El Ballet Folklórico Estudiantil Mariachi.

Ma’s “Day of Action” program began in 2018 as part of Ma’s Bach Project, with his goal to perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s six suites for solo cello in locations around the world. Ma’s motivation is to show, through Bach’s music, our shared humanity and how culture connects us all.

Each Day of Action has a slightly different format. Flint’s will begin with an invite-only strategy session with 50 Flint cultural and community leaders in the morning of Feb. 28 to brainstorm ways to build a more inclusive and resilient community. It will conclude with the public celebration at Berston. The events also coincide with Ma’s lecture at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor on February 27. 

The community dialogue and celebration is co-hosted by Flint artist Tunde Olaniran.

Ma is a United Nations Messenger of Peace. He has received the National Medal of Arts and Presidential Medal of Freedom, among other honors. He was a child classical music prodigy who famously performed in front of President John F. Kennedy when he was 7 years old. 

During the talk, Ma will discuss what it means to be a “citizen artist,” and explore the role of arts, culture, and sciences in society to create “cultural citizens.” 

His Days of Action are public events and creative experiences that aim to mobilize communities to build new relationships and create change using culture as the impetus. 

For more information, here is the Facebook Event

Read more articles by Patrick Hayes.

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