PITTSFIELD — After Yo-Yo Ma received his second jab of a COVID-19 vaccine at Berkshire Community College Saturday, he transformed his 15-minute observation period into a concert for the newly inoculated.
The world-famous cellist and part-time Berkshires resident completed his vaccination course at the field house clinic, and he “wanted to give something back,” Richard Hall of the Berkshire COVID-19 Vaccine Collaborative told The Eagle.
Yo-Yo Ma took a seat along the wall of the observation area, masked and socially distanced away from the others.
He went on to pass 15 minutes in observation playing cello for an applauding audience, in what Hall called a “very special” concert that capped the day’s vaccination event.
“What a way to end the clinic,” wrote Hall in an email.
Berkshire Community College shared news of Yo-Yo Ma’s informal performance on social media, and state Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli commended the musician for “bringing hope and optimism through his beautiful music.” The college shared snippets of the concert on Facebook.
In a poetic bit of circumstance, Yo-Yo Ma’s second coronavirus shot and subsequent concert comes exactly one year after he posted his first recording of himself playing his instrument using the hashtag #SongsOfComfort.
Amid the fear and uncertainty that marked the early days of the pandemic, the renowned musician started to share the recordings in hope they’d bring solace and connection to a frightened nation.
“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”
It’s not the first time Yo-Yo Ma has regaled the unsuspecting with music over the course of the pandemic.
In September, he and Emanuel Ax played a series of surprise pop-up concerts for essential workers, not long after they treated essential workers and first responders to a live-streamed virtual concert.
Francesca Paris contributed to this report.