Presented By
Berklee Signature Series

Singers Showcase: Aretha, Queen of Soul

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Event Dates
Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Avenue
United States

Joined by a full rhythm section, horns, background vocalists, dancers, and special guests, Berklee College of Music’s most outstanding lead vocalists and vocal groups will interpret Aretha Franklin’s rich canon. Produced by Maureen McMullan, this concert will feature the inspirational and powerful music that became the soundtrack to the lives of so many, including “Respect,” “Think,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” “Rock Steady,” and many more.

The undisputed Queen of Soul, Franklin was one of few artists who not only defined their times, but also transcended them. She became a monumental figure in social change as a civil rights activist, icon for feminism, and symbol of hope that helped define the American experience. With global recognition on an unprecedented scale, Franklin had 20 no. 1 hits, sold more than 75 million records, and earned 18 Grammy Awards and 44 Grammy nominations. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Faculty guest vocalists include Gabrielle Goodman, professor of voice; Jeff Ramsey, associate professor of voice; and Nedelka Prescod, assistant professor of ensembles. The concert also will feature original literary remarks from Carolyn Wilkins, professor of ensembles and published author.

Chuck Rainey, Franklin’s longtime bass player, will join the stage and play some of his favorite Aretha songs, including “Rock Steady,” which he recorded in 1971, adding his unmistakably funky bass groove, ghost notes, and high-register licks. Rainey is one of the most recorded and influential electric bassists ever. His half-century output spans many genres and includes classic recordings by Aretha Franklin, Steely Dan, Louis Armstrong, Quincy Jones, and the Jackson 5, among many others.

Karen Bell, academic assistant to the dean of the Professional Performance Division, will emcee the show. Bobby Gallegos, assistant professor of ensembles and trumpeter, is the musical director.

View/download the concert program: