Cellist Yo-Yo Ma conducts special workshop at DC school - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma conducts special workshop, performance at DC elementary school

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Yo-Yo Ma Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma Yo-Yo Ma
WASHINGTON -

The kids say they watched him online and he has lots of "views" on YouTube. Yes, Yo-Yo Ma has a lot of video views on YouTube and in the world's most famous concert halls.

This is no ordinary morning at Savoy Elementary School in Southeast D.C. They are getting a visit from two famous artists: Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and former New York City Ballet dancer Damian Woetzel.

Together, they are working on a song with the students. They call this an artstrike.

"When artists and arts organizations take a step out of their chosen, primary place and they go out in the world, whether it's in education, in a healthcare setting, they make an impact," says Woetzel. "They strike."

For example, on Monday night, Ma played the Kennedy Center. Instead of quickly leaving town, he stuck around for a different audience.

"We have no anticipation that many - if any - of these students turn out to be the next Yo-Yo Ma, but it is our hope that they have an appreciation for the arts, a love for it," says Michelle Hoffmann of the Washington Performing Arts Society.

And it impacts academics too.

"When you bring the arts into their schools, we're seeing math scores going up," says Rachel Goslins of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. "We're seeing reading scores going up. We're also seeing more parents coming into the schools, teachers coming into the school."

They have chosen Savoy Elementary for a national program called the Turnaround Arts Initiative. In fact, enrollment at Savoy has soared 18 percent from last year to this year.

One little girl, Jionni Anderson, told FOX 5 she will certainly be telling her mom about her day.

"I'm going to tell my mother because she would like to hear something good," she says.

It was nice to play the Kennedy Center, but Ma says he was awfully happy at Savoy too.

"Oh my goodness, it is such an inspiration to see a school that is energized," says Ma. "They are listening. They have stillness. They are actually prepared and motivated to do the work and it's done with both love and discipline."


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