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Cellist Yo-Yo Ma surprises Acadia visitors with impromptu concerts


Jun. 18—Cellist Yo-Yo Ma gave two impromptu performances at Acadia National Park on Thursday, paying tribute to the Wabanaki tribes in Maine in advance of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s visit to the park on Friday.

The world-renowned cellist surprised guests at the Jordan Pond House around 12:35 p.m., according to Lincoln Millstein of the Quietside Journal, who filmed the performance. He appeared with Chris Newell, executive director of the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor and senior partner to the Wabanaki Nations.

The Abbe Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, showcases the history and culture of Indigenous people in Maine.

Later in the day, after 2 p.m., Ma surprised visitors at Otter Point with another impromptu concert. The group Friends of Acadia posted video of that performance on Facebook.

The famous cellist recently has become known for giving impromptu performances.

In March, he performed at a vaccination clinic in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, during the 15-minute observation period following his second shot. Last September, he and pianist Emanuel Ax gave surprise performances for teachers, health care workers, first responders, UPS employees, bus drivers and food bank volunteers in the western Massachusetts city, the Berkshire Eagle reported.

Haaland on Friday is expected to tout federal investments in public lands to address maintenance backlogs at sites such as the popular Acadia National Park. She’ll appear in the Schoodic Peninsula portion of the park with Gov. Janet Mills and Maine’s entire congressional delegation.

On Thursday, she met with leaders from the four federally recognized tribes in Maine. During that meeting, at the Penobscot Nation’s Indian Island Reservation, tribal leaders asked Haaland for help in gaining sovereignty.

Haaland, a member of New Mexico’s Laguna Pueblo tribe, is the first Native American to serve as U.S. secretary of the interior, which oversees federal Native American policy through the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Haaland is also the first Native American Cabinet secretary, and her visit to Maine is the first from a member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet.



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