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World Renowned Cellist Yo-Yo Ma Visits The New River Gorge National Park.

Grandview, WV – (WWNR) – Visitors to the Grandview Overlook at the New River Gorge National Park were treated to a surprise performance Tuesday.

Legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma appeared at the Grandview Overlook for an unannounced, impromptu performance. Joined by poet and West Virginia native Crystal Good, Ma performed several tunes, including “Over the Rainbow” and the folk song “Simple Gifts.”

“He’s been to other national parks,” said Eve West, Chief Of Interpretation for the New River National Park and Preserve. “We are, I think maybe the fourth national park he’s visited. And he came here because, primarily, we’re the newest national park in the park system, but also because New River’s such a special place. His coming here lends credence to the fact that this area really is truly worthy of national park status.”

After his appearance at the Grandview Overlook, Ma visited the Nuttallburg Coal Mining Complex along with country singer and “Mountain Stage” host Kathy Mattea. They met with retired coal miners who serve as tour guides at the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine. They ate lunch provided by Beckley’s Black Knight and served in authentic mine dinner buckets.

Ma then visited the Endless Wall Trail in the New River Gorge, where he surprised a group of teenagers from Charleston who were there on a hiking trip. He performed for the group, then went on a whitewater rafting trip on the New River.

“Yo-Yo Ma prides himself on bringing people together and creating conversation and that’s really what the day was about,” said West. “He’s very able to interact and engage different groups and different types of people, different age groups, different backgrounds, educational levels, social-economic, whatever, he’s just one of those kind of people who can do that.”

On Thursday, Yo-Yo Ma will perform with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra for its Opening Night Concert. The concert comes 50 years after Ma made his debut with the Wheeling Symphony at the age of 17.

You can see a video of Yo-Yo Ma’s performance at the Grandview Overlook on the New River Gorge National Park and Preserves Instagram. http://www.instagram.com/newrivernps/