Taran and Calliope Tien staged a mini-concert Monday for Helena Schlam on the porch of her Columbus, Ohio, home. Schlam, 78, is a classical music lover who had reportedly not left the house in the five days leading up to the impromptu performance.
Taran, 9, and Calliope, 6, had originally planned to help Schlam with grocery shopping and other household errands. When their neighbour insisted she didn’t need groceries, the siblings put on a suit and a dress, respectively, and headed over with their instruments.
Schlam maintained a safe distance of at least six feet from the Tien siblings for the duration of the 30-minute performance, which included the 19th-century folk tune “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” as well as selections by Bach.
Telling the pint-sized musicians they were giving their “first international concert,” Schlam also looped in her grandchildren, who live in Israel and are also self-quarantining.
Taran and Calliope’s mother, Rebecca Tien, said her children came up with the idea after watching viral videos of quarantined Italians finding solidarity with one another by singing from their balconies.
“It was also a good way to remember the value of connection, especially at a time like this when everyone feels disconnected,” Tien told CNN. “Just to know we were a part of something so sweet, even just for a minute, meant a lot.”
Speaking to The Columbus Dispatch in an interview published Tuesday, Schlam called the gesture “so delightful.”
“It was a little cold but I just put on an extra coat,” she said. “The kids are really quite talented and it was so much fun.”
For many, music has proved to be a welcome respite as concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak continue to escalate.
Last week, actor and singer Laura Benanti asked young fans to share videos of themselves performing songs from student and regional musicals on social media. With public schools shuttered in at least 35 US states, many of those performances might otherwise have never been seen.