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COFFEE BREAK | 150 Member Violin Flash Mob Delight Shoppers At Yorkdale Mall

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Surprise musical performance by The Hammer Band Students at Yorkdale Shopping Centre (Photo: YouTube)
Surprise musical performance by The Hammer Band Students at Yorkdale Shopping Centre (Photo: YouTube)

“I’m here to make people smile,” a boy said after playing “Ode to Joy” to a crowd of unsuspecting weekend shoppers at Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall.

Led by virtuoso violinist Moshe Hammer, 150 students from The Hammer Band surprised shoppers last Sunday with a surprise flash mob performance at Toronto’s swanky Yorkdale Mall. The event (coordinated in part by The New Classical FM) took place the day before Blue Monday, January 15 — the so-called most depressing day of the year.

To lighten spirits, the students played Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”, with Moshe Hammer conducting.

The audience was seen grinning and singing along.

Check out this incredible and heartwarming footage here:

The Hammer Band – From Violence to Violins is a charitable organization started in 2006, by violinist Moshe Hammer. The initiative was a musical response to Toronto’s “summer of the gun.”

“Believing in the power of music and music instruction to help children of diverse backgrounds from at-risk neighbourhoods to “change their tune,” he walked into a public school in the Jane/Finch corridor during early 2007 and offered to teach there, in venues that are known, safe and secure for the children. That year saw two schools with 40 youngsters participating.

Today, with the help of other professional musicians to teach the students, The Hammer Band is in 40 schools reaching more than 875 children in grades 4 through middle school, during the school day. We have also started master classes for smaller groups of promising and talented players, who benefit from more individualized instruction.”

To learn more or to donate to The Hammer Band visit

For another COFFEE BREAK, see HERE.


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Michael Vincent
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Michael Vincent

Editor at Musical Toronto
Michael Vincent has worked as a senior editor for La Scena Musicale and web editor for Norman Lebrecht. On January 21, 2014, he went to lunch and left as the publisher of Musical Toronto. Later that year he found himself as a freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star, the former employer of his favourite author Ernest Hemingway. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
Michael Vincent
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