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My four children studied strings from a young age, the girls cello, my son violin (his choice; since his two older sisters played the cello he picked up the notion that cellos were for girls).
Here they are performing together at a party in the summer of 1993,
It was my daughters' cello teacher who'd impressed upon them that, as young cellists themselves, seeing Yo-Yo Ma perform would be an inspiration, and added the incentive that if we went to the concert she'd arrange for us to meet him afterwards. "He's really a regular Joe," said their teacher of the most celebrated cellist in the world.
And so I got our tickets for the Yo-Yo Ma/Peter Serkin concert, which we awaited with anticipation.
As it turned out, the concert almost didn't happen. On the day of the concert there was a storm of snow and sleet, and by evening the streets were treacherous. However the concert wasn't cancelled, and I decided to make the drive downtown to the Ohio Theater, oh so slowly and carefully.
We arrived to a less than half-full theater, and shortly before the performance was scheduled to begin it was announced that the concert would be delayed, as the musicians' plane had been delayed due to the weather.
So we waited, though I don't remember how long. I think the delay might have been an hour or so. But the musicians finally arrived on stage - dressed in their traveling clothes. Apparently their luggage had been lost along the way. At the beginning of the performance a smiling Yo-Yo Ma said, "Welcome, everyone, to the first of the Casual Concert Series."
The girls' cello teacher later remarked that it's likely that a different pair of celebrities might have insisted that they must have their formal performance attire and held up the concert even longer while assistants scrabbled around Columbus trying to round up tuxedos. But, thankfully, Yo-Yo Ma and Peter Serkin didn't feel the need to belabor this detail.
The concert was wonderful, and to us it felt all the more special and intimate to see the famous musicians playing in their everyday clothes. The encore was an exciting surprise as Yo-Yo Ma and his accompanist played a cello piece that Maria and Claire had played (and Theresa would eventually play), the Bach Allegro Moderato.
After the concert we met up with the girls' cello teacher at the arranged rendez-vous point near the front of the theater. The teacher then took us to a clandestine elevator that went to a level beneath the theater where there were dressing and waiting rooms for the performers. Years later when my youngest daughter Theresa was a member of the Columbus Children's Choir she and the other choir members and I and the other choir parents would spend considerable time in that same waiting area.
We waited with the teacher among the other people there to see the performers. When Yo-Yo Ma and Peter Serkin entered the area Yo-Yo Ma was set upon by a group of young people, evidently ardently admiring fans, who surrounded him for photos and autographs.
Sadly, that book - Suzuki Cello Volume 4 - was lost in the shuffle somewhere, I think it was during a music workshop the girls attended that summer, and had to be replaced with a new one, unsigned by Yo-Yo Ma.
The following year the girls began studying with a new teacher, Bin,