CHICAGO
12/11/2013 12:18 pm ET

Yo-Yo Ma, Chicago Civic Orchestra Surprise Shoppers With Pop-Up Concert Inside Mall (VIDEO)

There are few things that can get stressed-out holiday shoppers to break their stride for a minute -- let alone nine -- but smack in the middle of Tuesday's evening rush, a crowd in downtown Chicago's bustling shopping district did just that.

Famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma joined the Chicago Civic Orchestra for a surprise (well, semi-surprise) pop-up performance in the foyer of The Shops at North Bridge on the city's busy Magnificent Mile (embedded above).

The orchestra played to an attentive crowd before the master joined in (around the 7:50 mark).

Organizers for the Shops at North Bridge, who say they've never done a display like this before, hinted via Facebook something special was going down at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“We just came to Chicago for like 24 hours and I’m seeing Yo-Yo Ma. It’s so awesome,” shopper Laura Marier told CBS Chicago.

Ma, the world's premier cellist, is no stranger to the flash mob and pop-up trend. Last spring, he joined soprano opera star Renee Fleming for a surprise show at Chicago's Thompson Center downtown. According to WBUR's "Here And Now," Ma made a "spontaneous collaboration" with Meryl Streep in Beijing, playing as the actress read a Chinese poem.

As hinted by the hashtag "#citizenmusicianatwork" in The Shops at North Bridge's Facebook post, the performance was part of Ma's Citizen Musician initiative in conjunction with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra which aims to "sustain and expand the role of music in civic and cultural life by creating and enhancing communities through music."

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

PHOTO GALLERY
HuffPost
BEFORE YOU GO
Yo Yo Ma
PHOTO GALLERY
Yo Yo Ma

CONVERSATIONS