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October, 3

Yo-Yo Ma plays surprise concert at vaccine clinic after receiving his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

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Newly vaccinated people at a vaccination clinic in the US state of Massachusetts were treated to a mini concert over the weekend when famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma brought out his instrument after getting his second coronavirus shot.

A masked-up Ma took a seat along the wall of the observation area at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, using the mandatory 15-minute post-vaccine observation period to play for the clinic.

He was met with a round of applause from the other attendees.

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

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The quick concert came exactly one year after Ma started posting recordings of himself using the hashtag #SongsOfComfort on social media in an effort to ease anxiety throughout the early days of the pandemic.

“I wanted to find a way to continue to share some of the music that gives me comfort,” the cellist wrote on Twitter on March 13, 2020.

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Since then, Ma has also played surprise pop-up concerts and live streamed virtual concerts for essential workers and first-responders.

Late last year, he teamed up with pianist Kathryn Stott to produce the album Songs of Comfort and Hope, which included a version of Ol’ Man River dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement and a rendition of Waltzing Matilda.

“All of these songs have specific meaning for people in different places,” Ma said.

“We’re hoping that this is … a way of reaching into people’s hearts and memories and … to kind of go deep inside and then take us back out again.”

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Ma began learning the cello at just four years old, before going on to study at the Juilliard School in New York City.

Throughout his career he played for nine American presidents, performing at the inauguration of US President Joe Biden in January.

Ma has also appeared on beloved children’s show Arthur, first appearing in an episode in 1999 before returning for two other episodes in later seasons.

A scene from cartoon series Arthur, featuring a poster depicting Yo-Yo Ma as a rabbit, with DW looking on.
Ma appeared in three episodes of Arthur.(PBS)

AP

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