The Universal Language

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said “Music is the universal language of mankind.” So many music lovers from around the globe have enjoyed listening to albums, cassettes, CDs and digital downloads that many artists travel to foreign lands in order to share music in person with their fans.

We’ve seen an explosion in technological innovations on the internet and YouTube that gives people instant access to artists from different backgrounds and cultures.

Aretha and CondoleezzaA great example of  the synergy of diverse styles happened right in my back yard,  here in America at a concert held at the Mann Music Center for the Performing Arts located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That summer evening concert featured the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, and former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a classically trained pianist, both performing along with the Philadelphia Orchestra. This benefit concert was held to support the Mann Music Center’s Youth Education and Community Outreach Programs.

Both Ms. Franklin and Ms. Rice expressed their musical talents individually during the concert, and much to the audience’s delight, they combined forces as Condoleeza accompanied the Queen of Soul on her version of “I Say A Little Prayer.” Just before the benefit concert came to a close,  Aretha Franklin belted out “Freeway of Love,” “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” and believe it or not, Ms. Franklin performed Puccini’s operatic composition “Nessun Dorma,” creating an exciting and magical night for all who attended this wonderful musical event.

Aretha Franklin and Condoleeza Rice have obviously traveled through life on two very different paths, both professionally and musically, only to end up sharing a concert stage on a summer’s night. I remain amazed how music truly does bring people together.

Click here to read more about the concert and the Mann Music Center.

Click here to view music by Aretha Franklin.

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Heidi Norris
A Vocalist and a Concert Opera Philadelphia Company Board Member. Earned a M.S. Degree from Full Sail University (July 2010), and B.A. In Music from Immaculata University (May 2006). Works in the Accounts Payable division of J.W. Pepper.

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