Internationally-acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma had 15 minutes to kill last Saturday after getting his COVID-19 vaccination at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, so he treated everyone to an impromptu concert.
Ma is a part-time Berkshires resident and was receiving his second COVID-19 shot at the vaccination site.
Richard Hall of the Berkshire COVID-19 Vaccine Collaborative told local paper the Berkshire Eagle said that Ma brought his cello because he simply wanted "to give back." So he treated healthcare workers and the recently- and soon-to-be vaccinated people to a performance of selections by Bach and Schubert.
Yo-Yo Ma plays for fellow vaccine recipients www.youtube.com
Medical staff says that a hush fell over the clinic as Ma began to play. "It was so weird how peaceful the whole building became, just having a little bit of music in the background," said Leslie Drager, the lead clinical manager for the vaccination site, according to The Washington Post.
The music probably provided some much-needed comfort for those who were nervous to get the vaccine.
Ma was waiting at the vaccination site after getting the jab because most people are asked to sit through a 15-minute observation period in case they experience an allergic reaction. Those who are more prone to allergic reactions are often asked to wait for 30 minutes.
People who experience mild reactions are usually given a dose of Benadryl and then sent on their way.
Yo-Yo Ma at the White House in 1987.via Wikimedia Commons
It must have been an incredible experience for people to be able to hear the well-respected cellist play in such a small, impromptu setting. Ma has recorded more than 90 albums and received 18 Grammy Awards. He has been a United Nations Messenger of Peace since 2006 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011
He's famous for being an eclectic musician having played on recordings of classical music, bluegrass, traditional Chinese melodies, the tangos of Argentinian composer Ástor Piazzolla, and the works of minimalist composer Phillip Glass.
He's also known for his affable, down-to-earth personality.
The mini-concert comes an exact year after he first shared recordings of himself at the beginning of the outbreak under #SongsOfComfort. He shared the recordings to help quell the stress and anxiety caused by the onset of the pandemic.
In these days of anxiety, I wanted to find a way to continue to share some of the music that gives me comfort. The… https://t.co/hFgVA8a8zo— Yo-Yo Ma (@Yo-Yo Ma)1584133707.0
"In these days of anxiety," he wrote on Twitter on March 13, 2020, "I wanted to find a way to continue to share some of the music that gives me comfort. The first of my #SongsOfComfort: Dvorák – 'Going Home'"
At a time when good memories are hard to create, Ma did a wonderful job at lending his talents to spread a little joy in a stressful time. Let's hope that soon he will be able to return to larger venues and can once again spread that joy to thousands of people a night.
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