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A beautiful photo of a violin

Breaking your bow in the middle of a solo with a full audience and symphony behind you sounds like a nightmare for a violinist. But it happened to American violinist Stefan Jackiw while on stage with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and he was as cool as Fonzie sipping on a chocolate malt.

“This past week I had the privilege of giving the UK premiere of Ukrainian-born composer Reinhold Glière’s gorgeous, forgotten violin concerto,” Jackiw wrote on Facebook after a May 10 performance. “As a half-Ukrainian, half-Korean musician, it was particularly meaningful for me to play this piece... conducted by my dear friend Kirill Karabits."


“About 1/3 of the way into the concerto, my trusty Voirin [François Nicolas Voirin, a violin maker], suddenly snapped in two! Obviously, I was totally unprepared for this disaster, but I grabbed the concertmaster’s bow and just kept going,” he continued.

After the bow snapped and shredded into a mess of frazzled hairs, Jackiw gave a puzzled look and Karabits momentarily stopped the performance.

Then, Jackiw grabbed a bow from concertmaster Amyn Merchant and got right back into his solo with the entire orchestra behind him. It’s impressive to see how he regained his concentration and composure after dealing with the failure of his trusty bow.

According to Classic FM, Jackiw’s bow is reportedly worth around $30,000 and he has played it for over 20 years. Fortunately, Jackiw says that the bow is repairable and he will be able to play with it at his next scheduled performance in New York City on May 20.


John Cena showed up for a family who fled Mariupol, Ukraine, after their house was destroyed in the Russian invasion.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly four months ago, more than 13 million Ukrainians have fled their homeland. Some cities, such as Mariupol, have been completely destroyed—"reduced to a wasteland littered with bodies," according to an explainer in Reuters—and may be uninhabitable for the foreseeable future.

Many families fled early in the war, when the danger became clear. But not everyone understood why they were leaving.

Children are befuddled by war, as they should be. It is nonsensical, illogical and unbelievable to think that you must leave your home and move to a country far away because a grown-up who is supposed to be a leader is trying to blow up your house. People with intellectual disabilities may also not understand a sudden uprooting, especially when the reason is something even fully abled adults struggle to make sense of.

When Liana Rohozhyn's home in Mariupol was destroyed earlier in the war, she and her family were forced to flee. Her son Misha, a nonverbal 19-year-old with Down syndrome, was understandably distressed about having to leave Ukraine. To comfort him through the long journey across Europe to safety, Liana told Misha they were going on a trip to find the champion wrestler, John Cena.


It was a fictional story made up by a desperate mother in a dire situation. As a parent, you do what you have to do to keep your children safe. Little did Liana know that John Cena would not only see her family's story, but go out of his way to provide a measure of comfort during a tragic and disorienting time.

Cena just happened to be in Europe when he read about the story of how Liana had motivated Misha with the hope of meeting him. Being only an hour's flight away, Cena's immediate response was, "We're going."

The WWE star met the family near Amsterdam and spent a "special" afternoon "building blocks and eating cake."

He shared kind words about Misha and his mother.

"Misha's ability to embrace persistence, that's extraordinary," he said, adding that Misha and Liana are "two great examples of how persistence can lead to joy, even through the toughest of times."

After spending the day with the family and gifting Misha a load of WWE gear, Cena told the young man, "This was a wonderful adventure in which I got to meet a wonderful new friend. Thank you for giving me strength."

Liana told him he had "a big heart."

Watch:

The sweet story has touched the hearts of people the world over, with people sharing praise for Cena and for Misha's mother.

"There are several things I find remarkable about this interaction," wrote commenter Emily Clauson on YouTube. "How this man talks to Misha softly, with respect and love. He is not putting on a performance. He isn't acting 'compassionate' for the cameras. He is connecting with a human being. They were just two guys hanging out enjoying their day. He spoke to him as an equal. I find that so admirable."

"I’m from Ukraine and it brought me to tears!" wrote another commenter. "We Ukrainians really appreciate this support from all over the world, we need it so much at these dark times! as they say, in dark times you can see light people. Thanks for standing we Ukraine, would never expect to hear about so many people with big hearts. ❤️🇺🇦"

"I love how much he embraces Misha's mom," wrote another. "A lot of news reports on this story just seem to forget about how strong she is. This man is amazing!"

"Misha’s mom is an amazing woman. She kept her son going to get out. I wish them well and thank you John Cena for responding," wrote another.

This is not Cena's first trip to make someone's dreams come true. According to SB Nation, he has granted more than 650 wishes through Make-A-Wish since 2004, the most on record.

Cena himself shared that Misha and Liana define his motto, "Never Give Up," and thanked the Wall Street Journal and World Wrestling Entertainment for pulling it all together.

Thank you, John Cena, for showing us what the best of humanity can look like.

Joy

A 12-year-old was told his woodworking hobby wasn't cool. One tweet changed everything.

He went from six Instagram followers to raising more than $300,000 with one bowl for Ukraine.

Gabriel Clark's woodworking hobby just became very, very cool.

One of the tough things about being middle-school-aged is that interests and hobbies that are cool to everyone who isn't middle-school-aged are often seen as not cool by your peers. Unfortunately, that can lead a lot of kids to abandon things they love.

A dad who didn't want to see that happen inadvertently set off an avalanche of support and generosity when he tweeted about a lack of peer support for his son's woodworking hobby. Gabriel Clark, his 12-year-old son, has loved making things with wood since he was first handed his grandfather's hammer when he was 3 or 4 years old. "I've always had a real passion for it," Gabriel told PEOPLE, "and I've just taught myself everything I know."

Gabriel's father, Richard Clark, explained how sharing his son's struggles with his peers over his hobby blew up the internet over the past few weeks.

"Three weeks ago my youngest, Gabriel 12, came home upset," Clark wrote in a tweet on April 15. "His love of woodwork was not deemed cool, nor was only having 6 followers on his Instagram.


"His Dad was upset too. It's hard watching your children battling with life. But what to do? Mum wasn't around, so Dad, the impulsive fool that he is, instead reached out to the lovely people on Twitter. Maybe he could persuade some of them to follow his son?"

Clark's tweet on March 25 had read: "Lovely twitter people - I don't know how many of you are also #instagram users but I'm looking for a wee favour. I've a 12yr old who loves woodwork. He spends hours on his lathe making bowls and creating chopping boards which he's sells to save up for a mountain bike. So I was wondering if any of you fancied giving him a boost and following him on instagram at clarkie_woodwork it would make his day. Thanks in advance and feel free to retweet!"

Clark said his son was aiming for 60 followers.

But very soon, Clark's Instagram follower count rocketed into the hundreds, then the thousands.

Within days, that number had exploded to more than 225,000—and more than 20,000 orders for Gabriel's handmade bowls and chopping boards.

Knowing there was no way for him to fulfill that many orders—or anything even close to it—the young man decided to just make one special bowl to auction as a fundraiser for Ukraine.

He created a bowl made of beech wood, which includes a blue band and a yellow band, reflecting the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

The Clark family set up a Just Giving page with a goal of raising £5,000 and invited people to donate for a chance to win the bowl in a drawing.

And as happened with Gabriel's Instagram following, the amount just kept growing and growing.

With the increased giving came increased hope.

"What if we threw caution to the wind and let go of our cynicism and really went for it?" Richard Clark wrote. "What if we blew this silly tale of a small boy and his bowl out of the water with a last swing shot around the moon?"

He suggested people pool together to chip in and see if they could give the Save the Children Ukraine Appeal £100,000.

As it turned out, £100,000 was not only doable, but surpassable. As of April 16, they'd raised £150,000 and Gabriel shared a message of thanks.

The drawing was held, but it still wasn't over. The Ukraine bowl has now gone to a donor somewhere south of where the Clarks live…

…but the Clarks decided to keep the fundraiser open a little bit longer, as people moved by Gabriel's story were still wanting to donate.

With Gabriel's Instagram following blossoming to 250,000, it only seems fitting that the fundraiser should push for £250,000.

As of the writing of this article, it's at £246,711 (over $320,872). Clark said the fundraiser will stay open until Saturday.

"It's all too much. I need to sleep," Richard Clark wrote. "I leave everything to you. RT if you wish. Or not. You've all done more than enough. The fundraiser closes on Saturday regardless. Tread kindly good people and bless you all."

Social media really can be used for good, friends.

Pop Culture

John Lennon's son performed 'Imagine' for the first time after swearing he never would

"Within this song, we’re transported to a space, where love and togetherness become our reality, if but for a moment in time."

John and Julian Lennon both performing "Imagine."

In 1971, a year after the break-up of the Beatles, John Lennon released his most important piece of music, the song “Imagine.” The song is an appeal to humanity’s better angels and urges the listener to "join us" in visualizing a world without war, hunger or greed.

The song provides a glimmer of hope in that if we can visualize a perfect world, then maybe one day it will be achievable.

Over the past 50 years, the song has become a secular hymn that can conjure hope in the aftermath of the most tragic events. The song was played by Queen at Wembley Arena after Lennon was murdered in 1980. Steve Wonder sang it at the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics to honor the lives of those lost at the Centennial Olympic Park bombing. Neil Young played it at the 9/11 Tribute to Heroes concert.

“Imagine” is also seen as Lennon’s signature song that encapsulates his artistic persona. No small feat given the earth-shattering effect the songs he wrote with the Beatles have had on the world.


Given the song’s incredible power, Lennon’s son Julian vowed never to perform it in public. Julian has had success as a musician over the years, most notably with his 1984 hit, “Too Late for Goodbyes.” He’s also a philanthropist who has produced numerous documentaries.

The war in Ukraine pushed Julian to break his vow and he performed a beautiful rendition of “Imagine” as part of Global Citizen’s social media rally, “Stand Up For Ukraine” on April 8. The campaign is working to raise money for the war-torn country.

Julian was accompanied for the performance by guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, who is best known as the lead guitarist of the Boston rock band Extreme and a member of Rihanna's touring band.

"The War on Ukraine is an unimaginable tragedy... As a human, and as an artist, I felt compelled to respond in the most significant way I could," Lennon wrote. "So today, for the first time ever, I publicly performed my Dad’s song, IMAGINE. Why now, after all these years? — I had always said, that the only time I would ever consider singing ‘IMAGINE’ would be if it was the ‘End of the World’…But also because his lyrics reflect our collective desire for peace worldwide.

“Because within this song, we’re transported to a space, where love and togetherness become our reality, if but for a moment in time… The song reflects the light at the end of the tunnel, that we are all hoping for…" he continued.

“As a result of the ongoing murderous violence, millions of innocent families, have been forced to leave the comfort of their homes, to seek asylum elsewhere,” Lennon concluded his message. “I’m calling on world leaders and everyone who believes in the sentiment of IMAGINE, to stand up for refugees everywhere! Please advocate and donate from the heart. #StandUpForUkraine.”

Lennon’s decision to never play “Imagine” was a wonderful way to honor his father’s legacy by respecting the power of his song. But John would probably be proud if he knew that he sang it at a time when we all need to imagine “all the people living life in peace.”