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10-Year-Old Girl Who Penned Letter To Yo-Yo Ma Gets A Response


Anyi Kesler of Wilmette, Ill., is 10 years old. She loves classical music. Beethoven is her favorite composer. Last month, she tried to go to a free concert given by Yo-Yo Ma in Chicago, but when she and her mother and sister reached the front of the line, they were told the venue in Millennium Park was already full. Anyi was disappointed. She wrote a letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune. That letter was read by Yo-Yo Ma. And to tell us more, we reached Anyi Kesler on the phone from her home outside Chicago. Hi, there.


SIMON: Why did you write the letter?

ANYI: Well, I sort of wanted to tell what I had experienced and what had happened to someone else. And I sort of wanted to do something about it. Also, my mom suggested it, and I thought it was a good idea.

SIMON: Yeah. You were disappointed not to be able to get into that concert, even though you guys showed up real early, right?

ANYI: Yeah.

SIMON: And just missed out at the last second, it sounds like.

ANYI: Yeah. We were the first family to be stopped by the security guard.

SIMON: Wow. And were a lot of people saying, oh, I - some of my family's already in there?

ANYI: Yeah. Like, every few minutes, somebody would come up and say something like, my wife is inside; my kids are inside. And then the security guys would let them in. But eventually, they stopped doing that because I think that they were starting to get suspicious. Like, not everyone can have family inside.

SIMON: Yeah. Yeah. I'm getting suspicious myself just hearing you tell the story. Tell me what happened when you - as I have heard the story, you got home and saw a big, fat envelope sticking out of your mail slot or something.

ANYI: Yeah. So I was jump-roping with my friend. And then my mom just was like, hey, what's this? And she picked up a big envelope. And I just came up to look. And then she was like, oh, I think it's from Yo-Yo Ma. And I was like, yay - just started jumping around and squealing and stuff.

SIMON: Aw. Well, what did Yo-Yo Ma say?

ANYI: He basically said, I'm sorry that you had to go through it, and I'm glad that you did something about it. And good luck in your musical career.

SIMON: Yeah. And you play music yourself, right?

ANYI: Yeah. I've been playing piano for quite a few years, like four or five. And then this school year, I started playing violin with my school orchestra.

SIMON: Boy, you're busy. Well, how extraordinary to have this kind of personal response from Yo-Yo Ma. You must feel very lucky, special.

ANYI: Yeah. Honestly, I would really like to thank him and stuff for, you know, taking the time and effort.

SIMON: That's Anyi Kesler, Beethoven buff, Yo-Yo Ma fan for life. It has been wonderful to talk to you. You've made my day.

ANYI: Thanks.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.