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Watch Musicians Elevate A Trip To A Big-Box Store

The enduring power of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is undeniable. It's been the soundtrack for everything from the Tiananmen Square protests to the opening of the Berlin Wall.

Musicians from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) recently used this very famous music for a more localized purpose, infusing some delight into the often-dreary experience of spending a winter afternoon at a big-box store. Amidst the rows of Expedit shelving and with the mixed aromas of meatballs and cinnamon buns undoubtedly hovering in the air, a clutch of DSO musicians played what they called the "Ode to Jöy" at a local IKEA.

The orchestra would surely love to see this video go viral, but it points to a specific effort in Michigan. The DSO has pitched a hard-won comeback that (forgive us the metaphor) has moved on some nuts-and-bolts initiatives. In recent memory, the DSO had been staggering under a large deficit, and most of its 2011-12 season was cancelled after a long strike. But since the players' return, the DSO has offered a series of free webcasts and greatly increased its community outreach efforts — and this mini-performance was meant to attract new audiences to its neighborhood concert series in Canton, Mich., home to this IKEA.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.