Play On, Maestro

Last night, I was once again scrolling mindlessly through my twitter feed in the middle of the night because I’ve developed insomnia since the pandemic began when I came across a post that stilled my mind.

I remembered that I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Yo Yo Ma three years ago ahead of his performance in Abu Dhabi. He was warm, humble, and full of wonderful insights that remain as relevant, if not more so, in our current situation.

People in the cultural sector, we, in this moment, with great respect, want to offer some solutions or at least be a part of process to find solutions for what we are all going through right now. We can offer an independent voice, act like scouts, like scientists, who are always looking ahead, see what’s coming up”

Yo Yo Ma

This is something that I’ve thought about since this global pandemic began and everyone scrambled to figure out our new shared reality.⁠ ⁠ Another thing he said that also resonated with me then – and resonates with me today – is: ⁠ ⁠

I think historically there have been instances when you get people who have important messages and ultimately, it’s up to us whether or not to listen to them and believe them, to be ‘turned on’ or ‘turned off’. [But] we need to stay awake and listen to see if what they have to say is worthwhile — that’s very important — we need more wise people to act as scouts or guide us.”⁠

Yo Yo Ma

Ironically, you’d think that we’d be better prepared with all the apocalyptic shows, books, movies, plays, articles, news clips etc. that we’ve been numbly absorbing for decades. We didn’t pay them much mind because they weren’t “real enough” aka happening in our immediate lives, for the most part anyway.

Then COVID-19 came like a global sledgehammer and destroyed everything in weeks. Now, we’re all going through different levels of adjusting to quarantine life and, sadly, also mourning the passing of loved ones and people we admire to this ruthless virus.

As heroic doctors, nurses, and everyone involved in the medical field scramble to handle the overwhelming number of patients and race to find a vaccine to put an end to this madness, we’ve all had to adjust to a “new normal” that’s been parts positive and parts negative.

For now, it seems that the situation may be endless, especially with headlines now blaring the resurgence of coronavirus cases even as everyone does their part to flatten the curve.

In the meantime, for all the maestros out there, play on. Please.

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