Yo-Yo Ma Surprises Acadia National Park Visitors With ‘Magical' Pop-Up Performances

“It’s hard to put into words," the President and CEO of Friends of Acadia said of Yo-Yo Ma's performance. "It was a pretty magical moment.”

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First, world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma surprised people at a vaccine clinic in western Massachusetts. Now, he’s done it again at a national park in Maine.

At the end of last week, Yo-Yo Ma, along with Wabanaki musicians, held multiple pop-up performances in different parts of Acadia National Park like Otter Point and Jordan Pond House. There was also a planned sunrise concert in the park’s Schoodic area last Friday that coincided with a visit from U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland.

Haaland, who is the first Native American cabinet secretary, called Ma and the Wabanaki musicians’ performance a “moving experience” for which she was “very, very grateful.”

David MacDonald was also there. The President and CEO of Friends of Acadia, a non-profit organization with a mission to protect and promote the park by encouraging volunteer work and private philanthropy that benefits the park, had trouble describing just how special the experience was.

“I felt excited, I felt honored, inspired, a little nervous how it would all come off, whether they could indeed keep them surprised and pop-up events,” MacDonald said during a Monday interview with NECN and NBC10 Boston.

“It’s hard to put into words," he added. "It was a pretty magical moment.”

While Friend of Acadia interns and staffers captured The Otter Point and Jordan Pond House performances, MacDonald believes, based on his experience at Schoodic Point, that Ma and the Wabanaki performers wanted to send a message. He believes they wanted to convey that people coming together to appreciate and care for special places is not only good but also something positive and upbeat as the world moves through the latest phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

“My takeaway is that Yo-Yo Ma’s vision was that we need to come together,” he said.

“To protect a place that is so beloved and so fragile in the face of things like climate change, rapidly increasing visitation.. we all need to come together and some people are inspired by reading about that and some people are inspired by music, some by action, we all have a lot to learn,” MacDonald added.

Facebook viewers agreed with MacDonald, calling the performances “amazing” and some wishing they were there.

While MacDonald has seen Acadia through the eyes and stories of many, he went so far as to say that the performance he witnessed “definitely” changed the way he looks and feels about the park.

“I’ll never experience Schoodic Peninsula the same,” he reflected.

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