- Associated Press - Monday, March 19, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) - Famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma and soprano Renee Fleming performed Monday with a choir of Chicago high school students to promote arts education.

The performance was a collaboration of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Citizen Musician initiative and the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Renee Fleming Initiative. The programs aim to spread music in the community.

“An integrated arts curriculum is to me, it means that we have people who are in touch with who they are on the inside and in touch with what they can receive from the outside,” Ma said. “That to me will create the best possible work force.”

Ma and Fleming performed a piece by Rachmaninoff in the rotunda of the State of Illinois building in downtown Chicago with Gov. Pat Quinn in attendance. The pair then led a sing-a-long of “America the Beautiful,” along with Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians and the students.

Earlier in the day, Ma and Fleming visited classes at Chicago’s Lake View High School.

“It’s very much about making sure kids are able to express themselves in all of the arts and have access to and exposure to the visual arts and theater and music and dance and try all of it,” Fleming said. “Because that’s how they figure out who they are.”

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Online:

http://www.citizenmusician.org

http://www.lyricopera.org