Yo-Yo Ma to Host Day of Action in Downtown Flint

Yo-Yo Ma, the world-renowned Chinese-American cellist, is making his way around six continents to host 36 concerts and days of action. Also known as The Bach Project, Ma is setting out to start a conversation about how community and culture can help us imagine a better future.

Next up on his list of places to visit is Ann Arbor, MI, where he will be giving a lecture on how culture connects us. Then to follow, a day of action in our very own downtown Flint.

Many community meetings have taken place to discuss the significance of having celebrities like Yo-Yo Ma come to Flint, especially when it comes to bringing the community together in a productive way. This day of action hopes to highlight the positive aspects of Flint and the resilience of its citizens.

Talking about Flint on his website, Yo-Yo Ma said, “Culture matters because it helps us connect and understand one another. And it’s only through connection and understanding that we can create strong, inclusive, and resilient communities and build a better future. I have watched with the nation as Flint has done just that.”

The day will start with an invite-only strategy session given by Yo-Yo Ma and a group of Flint cultural and civic leaders, as well as other community members. “Flint Voices: Culture, Community and Resilience,” a community showcase, will take place after, including a performance from UM-Flint’s Jazz Combo. This showcase serves to celebrate the history of Flint through its past, present and hopes for the future.

Not only will there be a community showcase, but through the course of the day Yo-Yo Ma will be joined with Tunde Olaniran, songwriter and recording artist; Natasha Thomas-Jackson, artist; and Kevin Collins’ African Drum and Dance.

Back in December, one of Yo-Yo Ma’s event producers and the University of Michigan Medical Society came to Flint to look at different locations in the city where this event could come to life. After visiting the Berston Field House, it was decided its historic and sentimental value to Flint made it the perfect spot to host.

“This is a really wonderful opportunity,” said Event and Building Services Director Jennifer Hogan. “We all feel so honored that the story of Flint resonated with people such as Yo-Yo Ma and that Yo-Yo Ma would bring his celebrity and talents to shine a light on the positive aspects of Flint.”
The event will be on Thursday, Feb. 28, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Berston Field House. It is open to the public and free of charge.