Queen Latifah to host event honoring contralto Marian Anderson

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Queen Latifah is hosting an event in honor of late trailblazing contralto Marian Anderson. The Great Stages Gala Concert Honoring Marian Anderson will take place Saturday, June 8, after a ceremony during which the Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Acts in Philadelphia will be renamed Marian Anderson Hall.

The concert will feature performances by Music and Artistic Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra alongside Audra McDonaldAngel Blue and Marcus Roberts, all of whom will take the stage with musical selections connected to Marian.

Among the songs being performed are “My Country, ’Tis of Thee” and a special rendition of Florence Price’s “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord,” which Anderson sung on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on April 9, 1939, after her race prevented her from singing at the Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

The Great Stages Gala Concert starts at 8 p.m. ET, following a black-tie donor reception on the Academy of Music stage and preceding a donor after-party. 

Tickets are currently on sale via EnsembleArtsPhilly.org and PhilOrch.org. Proceeds from the benefit will go toward the “restoration of the Academy of Music, along with the programs, people, and venues of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Ensemble Arts, including Marian Anderson Hall,” according to a press release.

Marian Anderson was an acclaimed contralto who performed operas, spirituals and more alongside renowned orchestras between 1925 and 1965. She was the first Black singer to perform a lead role at the Metropolitan Opera and received awards including the first Presidential Medal of Freedom (1963), the Congressional Gold Medal (1977), the Kennedy Center Honors (1978), the National Medal of Arts (1986) and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1991).

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