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Musical volunteers get in tune with city's virus response management

By ZHANG KUN in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2022-04-06 10:01
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Zhou Ping, president of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, calls on her neighbors with a megaphone when it is time for nucleic acid testing. [Photo provided to CHINA DAILY]

Editor's note: The latest COVID-19 outbreak has brought Shanghai, a megacity with a population of 25 million, to a standstill. Confined to their homes, many people have become closer with their neighbors and communities as they work together to overcome challenges and contribute to the fight against the epidemic.

People from all walks of life have answered the call for care in the community during the current outbreak of COVID-19 in Shanghai, including musical members of the city's own symphony orchestra.

Zhou Ping, president of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, is volunteering in her community by calling on her neighbors with a megaphone when it is time for nucleic acid testing and delivering groceries door to door.

Zhou jumped at the opportunity to be a volunteer among the 4,000 residents in Meilong, Minhang district. "Our first task was to rally everyone to get tested, and so as a trained vocalist, I naturally picked up a loudspeaker and sung out for people to come," she said.

"I was quite pleased when my neighbors came up to me saying I had a beautiful voice. I've gotten to know a lot of people and we share food and exchange news just like in the old days when we lived in little lanes together. I have not experienced such kindness and closeness among neighbors for many years."

Astrid Poghosyan from Armenia, an assistant to Zhou at the orchestra, has also taken a role as a volunteer in her Shanghai community in Changning district delivering antigen testing kits door to door.

"My neighbors were all quite surprised when I spoke Chinese to them, but they were all very helpful and cooperative," Poghosyan told Xinmin Weekly. "Some were so friendly that they would offer me water, though we were all in protective gear and could not drink."

The friendly gestures "warmed my heart, and made me believe things would get better", she said. Poghosyan, 28, has lived in Shanghai since she was 16. After graduation from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, she joined the city's symphony orchestra as the assistant to its president.

"I went to the community center to sign up to volunteer as soon as the latest outbreak started," she said. "They were obviously hesitant for a minute when they learned I was an expatriate, but I demonstrated that I speak fluent Chinese, and have no difficulty participating in the work.

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