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

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

Before the performance, there will be a lecture with Dr. Joye Carter and Alicia Moretti in the PAC Pavilion.  

Joye Carter is the forensic pathologist at the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department. According to eMedEvents, Carter was “the first African American to be named Chief Medical Examiner in the history of the United States.” Alicia Moretti is a lecturer in the Cal Poly English Department, primarily teaching linguistics. 

The pre-performance lecture will be mostly about the history, collaborations and genres of Aretha Franklin, Moretti said. They will also talk about Damien Sneed, who, according to Moretti, 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 get their spirits rejuvenated. This is a great opportunity to get that.” 

Four-time Grammy Award-winner and GMA Dove Award-winning vocalist Karen Clark Sheard will join the event, along with songwriter and performer Valerie Simpson, who has written songs for top-tier vocalists such as Marvin Gaye. According to Cal Poly, they will be accompanied by an “accomplished cast of other jazz, gospel, and soul musicians and vocalists.” 

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

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