Yo-Yo Ma performs at St. Sabina peace concert

CHICAGO (WLS) -- He is among the most recognizable classical musicians in the world, but on Sunday, Yo-Yo Ma was happy to play cello in the back of a van to call attention to gun violence.

"Completely humbled that Yo-Yo is using his talents to raise awareness for gun violence and bringing everyone together and raising awareness on a level that couldn't otherwise be reached," said Maggie Baczkowski of Strides for Peace.

Inside St. Sabina, every possible space was occupied as more than a thousand people jammed into the historic church to hear the renowned musician play an eclectic selection of music with members of the Chicago Symphony and Civic Orchestras, along with the Chicago Children's Choir.

"He's doing it because it feels like it is something that needs to be done and it gives me hope for the future and it gives me hope for a the ability we have to make a change in the city," said Pierce of the Chicago Children's Choir.

Organizers said Yo-Yo Ma reached out to the church because he wanted to do something about the violence in Chicago that claims the lives to so many young people.

It is a problem with few answers. Across town in Lincoln Park Sunday, church members erected yellow crosses in memory of each murder victim in Chicago so far this year. At St. Sabina they are hoping the message Sunday night will help eliminate the need for those crosses.

"Institutions can't solve our problems, we have to solve our problems," Yo-Yo Ma said.

"Hopefully people will leave here not just having heard wonderful music, but hopefully their souls will be touched, like he said at the end, to action. We can do this. We've got to do it," Fr. Michael Pfleger said.

In addition to bringing attention to the problems of gun violence, the concert raised about $70,000 which will go to a program run by St. Sabina that helps rehabilitate young men who have been in trouble with the law.
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