Anybody who loves both music and national parks, and can be in the Louisville area on April 29, could be in store for a special treat.
Mammoth Cave National Park has announced that world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, members of the Louisville Orchestra and its musical director Teddy Abrams, and the Louisville Chamber Choir will perform twice in Mammoth Cave on April 29. The performances will be at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
“The partnership between the park and the Louisville Orchestra celebrates how the grandeur and fascination of our natural environments, like caves, can inspire creativity for the artistic world,” Mammoth Cave National Park officials said in a statement.
“We are thrilled to offer this amazing opportunity to experience the sounds of Yo-Yo Ma and the Louisville Orchestra inside Mammoth Cave,” Park Superintendent Barclay Trimble said in a statement. “Music is universally loved and recognized as a way to connect and bring people together. Mammoth Cave has been a source of artistic inspiration for thousands of years, and now through a composition created by Teddy Abrams and a historic performance by Yo-Yo Ma, we can add another fantastic musical moment to the cave’s history.”
As you may know, Yo-Yo Ma has recorded more than 100 albums, received 19 Grammy Awards, and has received the National Medal of the Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Birgit Nilsson Prize.
Meanwhile, the Louisville Orchestra, which has received 19 awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, has performed everywhere from Louisville to the White House, Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall.
Finally, made up of musicians from Louisville as well as other locations, the Louisville Chamber Choir frequently collaborates with Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra.
“The music performed during this special event is being created especially for Mammoth Cave by Teddy Abrams,” Mammoth Cave National Park explains. “Abrams spent the last year exploring Mammoth Cave National Park and immersing himself in the cave’s geology and human history to gain inspiration from the sights and sounds of the park. He composed his work with Yo-Yo Ma in mind.”
Two Things To Know About The Performance
If you’re thinking about attending the performances, here’s what you need to know.
Due to what is expected to be extremely high demand, tickets will be distributed using a lottery system through Recreation.gov to ensure everyone who wants a ticket has an equal chance of getting one.
The lottery will be open from 10 a.m. Eastern on Monday, January 30, to 10 a.m. Eastern on Monday, February 6.
Importantly, only one application will be accepted for each email address and each application may request up to 4 tickets.
Here’s the best part: While there is a $1 application fee, there are no additional fees to attend the event, the National Park Service explains.
Secondly, it’s important to know that the performance area inside Mammoth Cave is a large open area known as Rafinesque Hall. While its standing surface is smooth, it is uneven. What’s more, the temperature in the cave will be around 54 degrees and there are no seating options.
Getting to Rafinesque Hall may be challenging.
Visitors will need to walk 0.75 miles round-trip to reach the performance area. That trail includes walking along a steep outdoor hillside to and from the cave’s natural entrance and climbing a total of 130 stairs. Once inside the cave, visitors will need to follow a trail that is mostly level, however it is hilly and uneven in some places.
Why Mammoth Cave Is So Spectacular
Mammoth Cave National Park, which is less than 100 miles from Louisville, Kentucky, is home to the world’s longest-known cave system. Although 420 miles of the limestone labyrinth have been explored, park officials estimate there could be another 600 miles in the cave system.
Outside the world-famous cave, the national park also has more than 85 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails through forested rolling hills. And while many people don’t know it, Mammoth Cave National Park is home to more than 30 miles of the Green and Nolin Rivers, which are perfect for paddling or fishing.
Now, about the cave’s temperature.
In the summer, the temperature can be 90 degrees or hotter outside the cave. Deep inside the cave, however, the temperature is always 54 degrees.
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