Taking inspiration from famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s recent impromptu performance during his COVID-19 vaccination observation period, the Rock Island County Health Department and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) are collaborating to bring live music to the mass vaccination site at the Camden Centre in Milan, IL.

Vaccine Variations is an initiative that arranges for one-hour performances by QCSO musicians starting the week of April 12 in the patient observation area of the vaccination clinic. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the performances will feature string musicians only. All musicians will be masked and socially distanced during their performances. As a thank you for their decision to vaccinate, patients will receive a discount code valid for upcoming QCSO performances.

“We have given up so much of what makes life joyful because of the pandemic,” said Janet Hill, chief operating officer of the Rock Island County Health Department. “We hope these performances will bring back some of that joy and beauty through live musical performances. We also expect music will help calm anxious patients. We are elated that the Quad City Symphony Orchestra will share their world-class musicians with us as Quad Citians take control of the pandemic by getting vaccinated.”

“We are thrilled to partner with the RICHD by bringing music to their mass vaccination clinic performed by musicians of our orchestra. The success of our local and national vaccination campaign is essential to our ability to finally beat the COVID-19 pandemic and get back to producing large concerts, bringing the joy of full live music experiences back to the Quad Cities,” said Brian Baxter, QCSO Executive Director.

“As we look forward to next season, every individual electing to receive their COVID-19 vaccination when eligible is the number one thing that will help us get back to what we do best: perform to full, live audiences. Using music to draw attention to this important initiative and giving back to the health care professionals that have guided our community through the pandemic is just a small token of our appreciation,” said Marc Zyla, QCSO Director of Education and Community Engagement and Principal Horn

The schedule of performances:

Sabrina Tabby Violin 4/14/21 10:00 – 11:00 AM
Hannah Holman Cello 4/16/21 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Janis Sakai Violin 4/24/21 2:30 – 3:30 PM
Emily Nash Violin 4/24/21 9:00 – 10:00 AM
Deborah Dakin Viola 4/27/21 9:00 – 10:00 AM
Sabrina Tabby Violin 4/30/21 10:00 – 11:00 AM
Hannah Holman Cello 5/3/21 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Jenwei Yu Viola 5/4/21 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Janis Sakai Violin 5/15/21 11:00 – 12:00 PM
Emily Nash Violin 5/15/21 8:00 – 9:00 AM
Deborah Dakin Viola 5/17/21 2:00 – 3:00 PM
Julia Kanakaras Bass 5/20/21 2:00 – 3:00 PM

About the QCSO

Its founding in 1915 places the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) among the 20 longest-established, continuously operating orchestral associations in the United States. The QCSO provides community service and programs to a market of more than 450,000 residents of eastern Iowa and western Illinois, staging performances in both Iowa and Illinois. Programming includes dozens of education programs delivered to more than 24,000 area students.

Led by Music Director Mark Russell Smith, the orchestra consists of top-level musicians from the Quad Cities and across the region. It is considered among the highest-level regional orchestras of its size. Each season, the QCSO performs approximately 20 times, presenting six Masterworks series concerts, four Pops series concerts including Riverfront Pops, Films in Concert, and the Family Concert, as well as other special events. In addition, the Signature Series, led by QCSO Concertmaster Naha Greenholtz, presents chamber music ensembles in a versatile and intimate setting that features select members of the QCSO and visiting artists from across the nation.

About The Vaccination Clinic

The six-day-a-week National Guard-assisted vaccination site is located at the Camden Centre, 2701 E. 1st St., Milan. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Drivers must enter from the Milan Beltway and follow signs through the park. They will exit onto U.S. 67.

Appointments must be made in advance. Online links for appointments are available on the health department’s Facebook page and website, richd.org.

The clinic is inside the Camden Centre and is staffed by National Guard soldiers, Rock Island County Health Department employees and managers, volunteers from RICHD’s Medical Reserve Corps, and medical team members contracted by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Other partners include Rock Island County Sheriff’s deputies, Village of Milan police officers, and Rock Island County Emergency Management Agency leaders.


Funding for the QCSO website provided by the Scott County Regional Authority