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Premier cellist helps SPAC give back

The answer to how many practice hours: he's lucky if he can get in three hours a day but in his "heyday" he was up to eight or nine. As far as listening to music, he prefers to do other relaxation activities like yoga and reading.

Cafaro said his schedule is usually too busy for much relaxing. He does frequent visits to schools, nursing homes and other community organizations back home. He volunteers all his time to spread his message of music and it was at one of these presentations four years ago, that he had a very special experience.

"I played a recital at a retirement community and an elderly gentleman came up to me afterwards and wanted to know if I wanted to see his old cello. I went to his room and saw it, played it and it was amazing. He said when his time comes, he didn't want to see it lined up in daughter's attic; he wanted someone like me to have it and play it and be entrusted with it," said Cafaro. "About a year ago he had cancer and could no longer play so he gave me his instrument, which is an old Italian piece far more valuable than my house; I would never have been able to attain an instrument like this on my own means."

Cafaro said one thing he learned from that man was, "the only thing you can take with you in the end is what you are given" and that's how he's treating this gift.

"I don't own this [cello], I'm its caretaker for my lifetime. Someday I'll find someone to be caretaker for this instrument as well, when I'm gone," said Cafaro.

It may seem like Cafaro's appreciation and dedication to music runs deep, but he said he wasn't even serious about the cello until after his experience at SPAC.

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