A young fiddle-playing busker in New Brunswick is sharing his musical talent — and his tip money.
Johnny Beach, 8, already has almost two years of fiddling behind him.
His inspiration came at the age of 6.
“I went on YouTube one day and I found this video of a 14-year-old boy playing the Orange Blossom Special,” Johnny says. “It inspired me and I really wanted to do it.”
After getting his own fiddle in his hands, Johnny quickly started lessons.
He joined a group called the Plucky Pizzicatos, who perform at nursing homes, hospitals and fundraisers.
“I like to bring joy to others,” a quiet and humble Johnny says.
Johnny practices about an hour each day, says his proud mom.
“It’s a little nostalgic to me every time I hear him play a tune,” says Johnny’s mom, Jamie O’Donnell. “It takes me back to being a kid listening to my great uncles all play the fiddle.
“So it’s extra special that it’s the fiddle, but the fact that he plays it as well as he does at this young age is kind of amazing.”
COVID-19, however, forced those lessons and performances online — still, it’s not stopping Johnny from spreading some holiday cheer amid difficult times.
Since the pandemic hit in March, he’s put more hours into practice and has taken his talents to perform on the streets.
At a recent performance outside the Moncton Market, he reunited with Dr. Paul Goobie, who performed life-saving surgery on Johnny when he was just 3 months old.
To show his appreciation to the hospital — and other local charities — Johnny has donated tip money received from busking. He’s donated $400 to the Friends of The Moncton Hospital Foundation, $300 to PRO Kids Riverview, and is now raising money for the Albert County Food Bank.
When asked how it feels to not only earn the money, but then to turnaround and donate it, Johnny was quick to say “it just feels amazing.”
“I just feel good giving money to people that need the money… But I don’t really need it,” he says.
But once COVID-19 restrictions are loosened, Johnny will be seeking a spot to perform indoors to stay warm and dry, while still performing and spreading his festive spirit.
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