"As I was walking down the street, I saw this man playing absolutely beautiful cello music outside of the gates of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was the end of the annual convention at the Tabernacle, and a large, bustling crowd was pouring from the large concrete gate which surrounded the tabernacle. I closed my eyes for a moment and listened to the perfection coming from his cello strings. Laid open at the man's feet was his old cello case, acting as a humble request for monetary compensation. I peered in the case, and to my disappointment, I found that only a few single dollar bills had been offered. It seemed quite ironic to me that men and women of such seemingly privileged status (elegant suits, ties, and dresses were on each person) declined to offer anything to this man. Those who were exiting hardly even turned their ears to listen. However, about 100 feet away from the cellist, a young, elegantly clad violinist was playing equally beautiful music with his case open at his feet. This sharp young violinist truly looked as if he belonged within the gates. In essence, one could surmise that this violinist didn't need any money. A crowd had gathered around him to close their eyes and bob their heads to the sounds of his instrument. There must have been $200 in his open case. Back at the other street corner, the cellist (pictured here) seemed to be oblivious to the cold shoulders by which he was so often greeted.
I wondered about the symbolism of this scenario - privileged persons exiting a massive temple surrounded by an impenetrable wall...and a poor man outside the gates, dirty and unshaven, to whom no one will offer even a listening ear. See if you think (like I do) that this cello playing man shares some uncanny resemblance to the historically accepted image of another church figure. Just a thought."
this quote and photograph, in its entirety, was taken from this person's flickr account -- i cannot say i agree with the last statement; they reflect the personal thoughts of the photographer.
i did, however, hear a story such as this a while back where the scenarios were very much the same -- only it was later discovered that the cellist (or violinist, i cannot recall) was a famous musician, later showing everyone around him -- when it hit the "news" that he was out playing like a street musician -- that was is essential is invisible to the eye.