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A 7 a.m. wake-up call didn't faze our 10 YOLA students on their first day in Boston! They jumped right in, with chamber music performances and sectionals at an El Sistema-inspired program in Chinatown: Boston String Academy.
Heaven, 15, works with Boston String Academy cellos.
The group transferred over to Cambridge, where they spent lunch and the early afternoon at Longy School of Music of Bard College. Each YOLA group had a chance to work with Longy faculty and alumni, followed by cookies with the Conservatory's president, Karen Zorn. Karen provided wonderful advice for the college-minded YOLA students, explaining the nuances of different kinds of higher education.
YOLA's brass with Longy alumni.
Paola, 16, gets a lesson from Longy faculty.
Josue, 15, hones his trombone skills.
Alex, 15, gets some trumpet tips.
From Longy, the group boarded the bus to visit the second El Sistema program of the day: Conservatory Lab Charter School in Brighton, Mass. YOLA's wind quartet, brass duo and string quartet all performed, answered questions and mentored younger students.
After noshing on some New York-style pizza for dinner, the students took in a recital from Yo-Yo Ma! And they even got a little surprise afterward!
Yo-Yo receives his YOLA shirt from our cellist, Heaven. Welcome to the family, Mr. Ma.
Here we all are, 16 hours later, back at the hotel. (And some of us are finding it tough to sleep since we're super-excited to see Gustavo tomorrow!)