Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis had a special gift for the audience when he introduced Aretha Franklin in the middle of Thursday night’s (Dec. 17) annual “Big Band Holidays” concert at the Rose Theater. The concert followed a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by Bette Midler to open the new Mica and Ahmet Ertegun Atrium at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Accompanying herself on piano, she sang the Christmas carol “O Tannenbaum” in English and German. She followed with a soulful, gospel-infused version of the Tom Jones-Harvey Schmidt tune “My Cup Runneth Over.” … [She] dedicated her performance to Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, who died in 2006.
Read more at Billboard.
The Kennedy Center Honors ceremony was held Sunday night, where this year’s honorees were celebrated for their lifetime contributions to American culture. The chosen few included songwriter Carole King, actress and singer Rita Moreno, conductor Seiji Ozawa, Broadway star Cicely Tyson and filmmaker George Lucas.
… Aretha Franklin brought the house down in her closing performance of the song she immortalized, “Natural Woman.” King was visibly moved by the powerhouse. The Kennedy Center Honors will be broadcast on CBS on December 29.
Read more and watch a clip of the performance at CBS This Morning.
The National Portrait Gallery celebrated Hank Aaron, Aretha Franklin, fashion designer Carolina Herrera, artist Maya Lin and Medal of Honor recipient Corporal Kyle Carpenter at its inaugural American Portrait Gala Sunday night. Portraits of each of the honorees are included in the museum’s collection.
What started as a typical Washington fundraiser turned into a soulful jam thanks to Franklin’s performance. After singing “Amazing Grace” at the piano, the ageless diva launched into “Freedom,” “Chain of Fools” and “RESPECT” — getting the gowns and tuxes out of their chairs and dancing in the narrow aisles.
“What a pleasure it is to be here and share this evening with you all,” Franklin told the crowd.
Read more at The Washington Post.
Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post
Among the admirers greeting Pope Francis on Saturday in Philadelphia, the last stop on his tour of the United States, will be American royalty. Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, is scheduled to perform that night for the pope at the Festival of Families concert, along the city’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway, with a million people expected to attend. This week, Ms. Franklin discussed her trip to the festivities, her impressions of Pope Francis and how Jay Z fits into the equation in an interview with The New York Times.
Streaming service TIDAL will exclusively stream the event. The streaming feed will run from 9:30 a.m. ET until 9:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, including the main program which begins at 7 p.m. ET. TIDAL subscribers and non-subscribers can tune in to TIDAL.com/WMOF.
Producers of Festival of Families Announce Additional Talent to Perform for Pope Francis
The Festival of Families and Sunday Papal Mass Are Expected to Draw International Crowds to Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA — ESM Productions today announced that Aretha Franklin, the reigning and undisputed “Queen of Soul,” will travel to Philadelphia to perform at the Festival of Families for Pope Francis, and his congregation, on Saturday, September 26, 2015. Adding to an already robust group of talent, ESM Productions also revealed that Academy Award nominated actor Mark Wahlberg will host the lively event featuring Ms. Franklin, along with newly confirmed performers Grammy-nominated rock band The Fray, and New York Times best-selling author and comedian, Jim Gaffigan.
“It is indeed a blessing to sing in the presence of His Holiness and to the attendees of the Festival of Families in the City of Brotherly Love,” Aretha Franklin said. “I look forward to this event. Be blessed!”
“As a Catholic, I credit much of my success to my faith,” said Mark Wahlberg. “It is an honor to be a part of welcoming Pope Francis to Philadelphia and I am humbled to join this celebration.”
“Children have been a part of our band’s story from the beginning,” said Isaac Slade, The Fray. “We all have stories of our own fatherhood and family life and we’re honored to be a part of such a tremendous celebration, of six families from six continents, sharing their own stories with the world.”
“I am so humbled to receive this opportunity to perform in the presence of Pope Francis,” said Jim Gaffigan.
Ms. Franklin, The Fray, and Mr. Gaffigan will be joining Andrea Bocelli, Juanes, Marie Miller, Matt Maher, Sister Sledge, and The Philadelphia Orchestra, led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the Festival of Families in celebration of the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015.
“Philadelphia has been given the remarkable gift of being the first American city to host the World Meeting of Families since its inception by Saint John Paul II in 1994,” said Scott Mirkin, President of ESM Productions and Executive Producer of the Festival of Families. “To celebrate the Holy Father’s historic visit to Philadelphia, we have sewn together the best the city has to offer by bringing the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra to the beautiful Benjamin Franklin Parkway to accompany some of the best talent from around the world. I am deeply grateful to everyone who has come together to make this extraordinary event come to life. I am certain that, between the millions of faithful who will make the pilgrimage, and the outstanding show that we have built, the city of Philadelphia is prepared to warmly receive Pope Francis.”
Co-sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the World Meeting of Families is a triennial global event that seeks to strengthen the sacred bonds of family across the globe and highlight its intrinsic value to the good of society. This international gathering will welcome Pope Francis to the United States for the first time in his Papacy. Being held in the United States for the first time ever, the official theme for the 2015 World Meeting of Families is “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.”
For more information regarding the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, visit www.WorldMeeting2015.org. For more information regarding The Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family, which co-sponsors the World Meeting of Families, visit http://www.familiam.org/famiglia_eng/00002554_HOME_ENG.html. You can also engage the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia on Facebook (World Meeting of Families 2015) (Encuentro Mundial de las Familias – Filadelfia 2015), Twitter (@WMF2015) (@WMF2015ES) and Instagram (WMF2015).
About ESM Productions
ESM Productions is a nationally recognized live event, design and media production company in Philadelphia, PA. ESM has been at the helm of some of the highest profile events in the United States. From concept to completion, ESM delivers results on stage, on screen and online.
About World Meetings of Families
Beginning with 1994, The Year of the Family, the Pontifical Council for the Family has been responsible for organizing the World Meetings of Families in Rome (1994); Rio de Janeiro (1997); Rome (2000); Manila (2003); Valencia (2006); Mexico City (2009); Milan (2012); and now, Philadelphia (2015). Since its inception by Saint John Paul II, the World Meeting of Families has sought to strengthen the sacred bonds of family across the globe.
The White House joined Spotify today, creating daytime and evening playlists featuring some of President Obama’s favorite summer songs. On the daytime playlist — Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady.” Enjoy the full “Day” playlist, featuring The Queen Of Soul, below!
The President’s Summer Playlist: Day
- Ain’t Too Proud to Beg – The Temptations
- Live It Up – Isley Brothers
- Memories Live – Talib Kweli & Hi Tek
- Tombstone Blues – Bob Dylan
- So Much Trouble in the World – Bob Marley
- Paradise – Coldplay
- Tengo Un Trato (Remix) – Mala Rodriguez
- Wang Dang Doodle – Howlin Wolf
- Another Star – Stevie Wonder
- Hot Fun in the Summertime – Sly & the Family Stone
- Boozophilia – Low Cut Connie
- Wherever Is Your Heart – Brandi Carlile
- Good Day – Nappy Roots
- Green Light – John Legend
- Gimme Shelter – Rolling Stones
- Rock Steady – Aretha Franklin
- Down Down the Deep River – Okkervil River
- Pusher Love Girl – Justin Timberlake
- Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine
- La Salsa La Traigo Yo – Sonora Carruseles
“I just told them that other than being the Motor City and the place where cars and stars and fabulous people live that Motown, Detroit, is a rallying city, and that’s one of the things I like most about Detroit. When people are down and out, Detroit will rally.“
Read more about Aretha’s experience mentoring the contestants of American Idol XIV this week over on Billboard.com! Missed last night’s episode? Click here to watch now or press play below.
Last night, Aretha opened the Motown-themed episode for American Idol XIV‘s Top 8 with a stirring performance of “I Will Survive (The Aretha Version)” from her latest album Aretha Sings The Great Diva Classics. In case you missed it or couldn’t tune in, click here to watch the performance now or press play below!
Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/FOX
Watch tonight’s special Motown-themed episode of American Idol to see Aretha Franklin perform her version of “I Will Survive”! The show starts at 8pm ET on FOX. Aretha will also appear on tomorrow’s episode to mentor contestants. Click here for more information and local listings.
“I Will Survive (The Aretha Version)” is available now on iTunes from Aretha’s latest album Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics