Young Ohio siblings stage cello concert for elderly neighbor self-quarantined over coronavirus

Posted at 3:02 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 17:02:06-04

Amid the coronavirus pandemic , social distancing and the shutdown of schools, restaurants and bars has led to a huge disruption of American life . Two cello-playing Ohio siblings forged a genuine human connection during the period of isolation when they cheered up an elderly neighbor who said she had not left her house "for the last five days."

Helena Schlam, a 78-year-old Columbus, Ohio resident living on her own, had self-quarantined and limited herself to her home and backyard, CBS News' Vladimir Duthiers reports. She refused an offer from her neighbor, Rebecca Tien, who asked if Schlam needed groceries picked up.

Looking for other ways to help her isolated neighbor, Tien turned to her children, 9-year-old Taran and 6-year-old Calliope. The pair was told by their cello instructor to practice "virtual concerts" at home in order to adhere to social distancing.

"Helena really loves music, so I asked if the kids could come to the porch," Tien said.

So Schlam joined the children outside — at a responsible distance — and watched as they played their cellos for her.

"She knows I love music and I really like her kids, they're terrific," Schlam said.

"We love playing the cello for other people," Taran Tien said. "Then we thought about how she was stuck in her house, so we thought it was a great idea and might make her happy."

To Schlam, "happy" was an understatement.

"Well, I was just thrilled! I sort of feel like a little kid," she said.

Click here to hear the pair.