The soothing sounds from Arthur Arnold’s cello fills the room at Powell River’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

With the pandemic derailing the Dutch-born conductor’s concert appearances, he’s making the most of his free time by playing for people getting their shot at the Powell River Recreation Complex.

Arnold says he’ll play everything from Bach to more romantic composers, to lighten the mood at the clinics.

“I’m basically daily there to play, sometimes one hour, sometimes the whole day, depending on my schedule, just to give some beautiful music, lift the spirits and enhance the general atmosphere there,” Arnold said.

He started playing outside for people waiting in line, and then after he started volunteering, moved his talents indoors.

Arnold says people show their appreciation as they leave, sometimes with a friendly gesture, other times with a thank you.

He says he’s filling a need that’s been lacking throughout the pandemic.

“We have all been without live music for more than a year now,” he explained. 

“People are yearning for music and we need music. We play music at funerals, at weddings, whenever there is something special. I think we need it in our daily lives, especially I do, so to provide it is definitely appreciated and it brings me as much joy as it brings others, I think.”

Arnold is co-founder and Artistic Director of the annual Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy (PRISMA) Festival.

He’s also been the Music Director of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra since 2012.