The tribute to the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin will be presented at the PAC tonight

The Cal Poly Performing Arts Center will host “A Tribute to Aretha Franklin” on Wednesday, March 2 from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

According to Cal Poly, tribute composer Damien Sneed “pays homage to the monarch herself with new renditions of Aretha’s most cherished hits.” Songs such as “Respect”, “I Knew You Were Waiting”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and many more will be featured.

Prior to the performance, there will be a talk with Dr. Joye Carter and Alicia Moretti in the PAC pavilion.

Joye Carter is a medical examiner with the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department. According to eMedEvents, Carter was “the first African American to be appointed as the Chief Medical Examiner in United States history.” Alicia Moretti is a lecturer in the Cal Poly English department, where she primarily teaches linguistics.

The pre-performance conference will focus primarily on Aretha Franklin’s history, collaborations and genres, Moretti said. They will also talk about Damien Sneed, who Moretti says was mentored by Aretha Franklin herself.

“I think the arts are so important,” Moretti said. “In this time of coming out of isolation and COVID, people really need to recharge their batteries. This is a great opportunity to get it.

Four-time Grammy and GMA Dove Award winner Karen Clark Sheard will join the event, alongside singer-songwriter Valerie Simpson, who has written songs for singers from high level such as Marvin Gaye. According to Cal Poly, they will be joined by an “accomplished cast of other jazz, gospel and soul musicians and singers.”

Aretha Franklin, born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1942, was an American soul, blues, gospel and jazz singer. Her best-known songs include “Respect”, “Chain of Fools”, “Think”, and “Natural Woman”.

Her music “defined the golden age of 1960s soul music”, according to Brittanica, earning her the title “Queen of Soul”. Franklin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and died in 2018.

This event is open to everyone. Tickets can be purchased on the Cal Poly website and prices range from $39 to $69.

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