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COVID-19: Cellist Yo-Yo Ma gives surprise ‘pop-up’ show at Massachusetts vaccination centre after getting second jab

Written by on 16 March 2021

Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma gave a surprise performance at a coronavirus vaccination centre in the US after getting his second jab.

Still wearing his mask, Ma brought out his cello at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

His 15-minute performance – from a plastic seat set up against a wall – received rapturous applause from others waiting to get vaccinated.

The musician, who lives part-time in the area, said he wanted to “give something back”, according to local news site The Berkshire Eagle.

Saturday’s ‘pop-up’ concert marked a year since Ma began posting recordings of himself with the hashtag #songsofcomfort, in an effort to ease people’s anxiety about the pandemic.

“I wanted to find a way to continue to share some of the music that gives me comfort,” the cellist tweeted in March 2020.

Since then, Ma has done various impromptu performances and virtual concerts for first-responders and essential workers.

Massachusetts state representative William Pignatelli responded to a video of the surprise vaccination centre show, praising Ma for bringing “hope and optimism through his beautiful music”.

Born in Paris, Ma was a child prodigy and started performing from the age of four and a half.

He graduated from the Juilliard School and Harvard University, and has performed as a soloist in orchestras around the world.