For years, police say David and Louise Turpin’s children were tortured and deprived of basic necessities. But recently, some of them got to experience something few people have: a private concert from a world-famous cellist.
Yo-Yo Ma visited the seven adult Turpin children in a California hospital on Friday for an impromptu performance, Corona Regional Medical Center CEO Mark Uffer said.
The adult siblings are turning to music therapy to help them heal. Ma was in Corona for another event and “heard about their interest in music,” Uffer said.
The performance lasted 30 minutes, long enough to make an impression on them, he said.
“They were just amazed, awestruck by the level of talent. They really enjoyed it.”
Ma is one of the world’s most celebrated cellists. He has performed for eight American presidents, and has received the National Medal of the Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the J. Paul Getty Medal Award, among other honors.
Ma did not respond to a request for comment. His website and social media platforms make no mention of the visit.
Authorities say the 13 Turpin children, ages two to 29, lived for years in squalor, shackled with padlocks and hungry while their parents taunted them with pies left on the counter of their California home. David and Louise Turpin were arrested in January and charged with multiple counts of torture and false imprisonment.
The seven adult siblings have been recovering at Corona since they were taken from their parents’ home in January. The six minor children were taken to a separate hospital.
The five women and two men are making steady progress, said their attorney Caleb Mason. He confirmed the concert took place.
“For the first time in their lives, they have choices that they can make, from the mundane, like what to eat, what to wear or whether they should kick the soccer ball around. They are getting into all sorts of activities like that,” Mason said. “It’s just great to see them enjoying the freedom to make choices.”
They’ve been learning to play the guitar and singing Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly” and John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” as a form of musical therapy, Uffer said.
“All of their health issues have improved since they came here,” he said. “They are in a better place now.”