Yo-Yo Ma, the world-famous cellist, is known for transfixing audiences at some of the most venerated concert halls and events — including, more recently, President Biden’s inauguration ceremony, where he delivered a pre-recorded performance of “Amazing Grace.”
But on Saturday, Yo-Yo Ma settled for a smaller crowd — and much to the utter joy of those in his company.
After receiving his second coronavirus vaccine shot at Berkshire Community College, the Berkshire Eagle reported, Yo-Yo Ma — a part-time Berkshires resident — staged a spur-of-the-moment show for those who had also been inoculated.
The school posted a series of photos and videos of Yo-Yo Ma at the field house clinic in Pittsfield, where he sat masked and socially distanced away from others up against a wall.
He spent his time in observation by playing his cello for others waiting for their 15 minutes to pass. Those seated in folding chairs surrounding Yo-Yo Ma applauded as he shared his musical talents with them.
Richard Hall, of the Berkshire COVID-19 Vaccine Collaborative, told the Berkshire Eagle that Yo-Yo Ma put on the “very special” concert — which capped the day’s vaccination event — because he “wanted to give something back.”
State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli praised Yo-Yo Ma for his performance at the vaccination site, describing the renowned musician as “always a classy act” in the Berkshires.
“Bringing hope and optimism through his beautiful music,” Pignatelli wrote on Twitter.
It was exactly a year ago — during the early aughts of the pandemic when fear and concern reigned — that Yo-Yo Ma shared the first of his #SongsOfComfort on Twitter.
He uploaded a video of himself playing a rendition of Dvořák’s “Going Home” and urged those online to “stay safe.”
“In these days of anxiety, I wanted to find a way to continue to share some of the music that gives me comfort,” Yo-Yo Ma wrote.
The cellist’s informal show for those at the clinic was not the first time he has delighted an unsuspecting audience during the pandemic, according to the Berkshire Eagle.