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POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. – The first time 16-year-old Khalil Payne picked up a cello, he says he felt an instant connection.

“I’m going to try to find a good analogy,” Payne says. “It’s like, for the first time, when you finally find your favorite flavor of food.”

Payne was a rising sixth-grader then but says he knew instinctively that the cello could take him anywhere.

“You could say it’s almost like another world. When I start playing, I actually feel the music,” he said. “Because it’s one thing to just play an instrument, and it’s another to make and feel music.”

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