Violinist Joshua Bell Plays On The Street Again

Host Scott Simon notes that when violinist Joshua Bell's concert in Bethesda, Md., was cancelled this week because of a winter storm, Bell showed up in the lobby of the theater and played a bit for the disappointed patrons.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

Joshua Bell is an acclaimed violinist, a good sport, and a true showman. In 2007, he donned a disguise and played for almost an hour in a Washington, D.C. Metro station, and collected $32.17. He's also, of course, performed in the world's great concert halls and the White House.

This week, Mr. Bell was scheduled to headline a concert in Bethesda, Maryland's Strathmore Hall. When snowstorms struck, Mr. Bell's concert was canceled just a quarter of an hour before show-time. Three hundred people were already standing and dripping in the lobby.

A concert-goer named Dakota Korth told the Washington Post that they saw a man leaving with a violin case over his shoulder. It was Joshua Bell. I'm really sorry, the violinist reportedly said. I wanted to play for you guys, but they won't let me. Can you play something for us here, a woman asked. You played in the Metro.

So Joshua Bell played about a minute of his variations on "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

Dakota Korth said it took an hour for him to return home that night. But, quote, "It was a tolerable hour, having the chance to stand five feet from where he was playing."

(Soundbite of music)

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