North Central College - Naperville, IL

Yo-Yo Ma Fills Wentz Concert Hall

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Yo-Yo Ma, cellist
Yo-Yo Ma, cellist

A single black chair sat in the middle of the expansive Wentz Concert Hall stage as a sold-out crowd awaited the arrival of the world’s greatest cellist, Yo-Yo Ma. When Ma emerged, the audience erupted with applause.

It was one of those defining moments for North Central College’s fine and performing arts program and Ma didn’t disappoint. Spectators enjoyed the cellist’s passionate performance of Bach including “Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007,” “Suite No. 5 in C minor, BWV 1011” and “Suite No. 3 in C Major, CBWV 1009”.

The sounds of a single cello filled the space and took advantage of the concert hall’s stunning acoustics. “What a beautiful, beautiful room,” said Ma. “It sounds amazing. I love this hall.”

Ma’s performance was part of the College’s year-long Sesquicentennial celebration. The world-renowned cellist offered the audience a “happy birthday” during his show.

Several people who brought the Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center to North Central College were on hand for the show, including the concert hall’s namesake, Dr. Myron Wentz ’63; Don Hackl, president of the architectural firm Loebl Schlossman & Hackl, which designed the facility; and Rick Talaske of Talaske Sound Thinking, the firm that designed the acoustics. The hall opened in 2008.

The gracious and energetic artist smiled and waved to the crowd before returning for an encore performance of Mark O’Connor’s “Appalachian Waltz” for solo cello.