• Delven Shaw

Chicago Philharmonic presents Aretha Rising in honor of the Queen of Soul and other Motown greats


The Chicago Philharmonic Society proudly presents the finale of its 32nd season, Aretha Rising, on May 29, 2022, Memorial Day Weekend at Harris Theater for Music and Dance (205 E Randolph, Chicago). Led by Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Scott Speck, this family-friendly concert features Aretha Franklin’s greatest pop, soul, and gospel songs, plus more by Stevie Wonder, James Brown, and Sam Cooke. Single tickets ranging from $10-$75 are now available at harristheaterchicago.org.

“This is such an exciting concert for us,” said Executive Director Terell Johnson. “After a long winter, it’s going to be a joy to welcome the start of summer in Chicago with a concert of fabulous music. Aretha Franklin is one of my personal heroes, and I can’t wait to hear how incredible her music will sound with our orchestra and Capathia.”

“This concert will be a musical journey for the listener,” said Maestro Speck. “We’ll be paying homage to Aretha’s background in gospel with Amazing Grace and What a Friend We Have in Jesus, and then we fast forward to later in her career with A Natural Woman and Respect, and we even dip into her Blues Brothers’ single. What’s especially impressive is that our vocalists really live up to the challenge of singing these iconic songs, and of course, their 'backup band' is one of the world's great orchestras, the Chicago Philharmonic, which continues to amaze me with its virtuosity and versatility.

For the safety of patrons and musicians, all audience members, musicians, and staff are required to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test to enter the Harris Theater. Masks will be worn by all throughout the performance.

ABOUT CAPATHIA JENKINS

Jenkins approaches a song the same way she approaches a script, like an artist. She looks for the nuances, the secret hidden within the notes or text. She seeks the melody, harmony and rhythm. She asks herself, “What am I trying to say? What do I want my audience to experience with me?” She wants to take her audience on a journey.

This Brooklyn-born and raised actress most recently starred as ‘Medda’ in the hit Disney production of Newsies’ on Broadway. She made her Broadway debut in The Civil War, where she created the role of Harriet Jackson. She then starred in the Off-Broadway 2000 revival of Godspell, where she wowed audiences with her stirring rendition of ‘Turn Back, O Man’ which can still be heard on the original cast recording. She returned to Broadway in The Look of Love and was critically acclaimed for her performances of the Bacharach/David hits. Jenkins then created the roles of ‘The Washing Machine’ in Caroline, Or Change and ‘Frieda May’ in Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me where she sang ‘Stop the Show’ and brought the house down every night.

An active concert artist, Jenkins has appeared with orchestras around the world including the Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony (with Marvin Hamlisch), National Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Utah Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Memphis Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Toledo Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Kansas City Symphony, San Diego Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. She was a soloist with the Festival Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. In 2011 Capathia had the great honor of performing in the ‘Broadway Ambassadors to Cuba’ concert as part of the Festival De Teatro De La Habana. Jenkins was a guest soloist with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops and with the Cincinnati Pope.

Her television credits include 30 Rock, The Practice, Law & Order SVU, The Sopranos. She can be seen in the 2012 film Musical Chairs directed by Susan Seidelman. She can be heard on the following film soundtracks: Nine, Chicago, Legally Blonde 2.

ABOUT DARRYL WILLIAMS

Darryl J. Williamsbegan his singing career in the local churches in Jasper County, South Carolina, often accompanying himself and the choir from the piano. At age 11, Williamsjoined the prestigious Rev. James Cleveland workshop in Savannah, GA which afforded him the opportunity to sing background for gospel artists including Shirley Caesar, Dorinda Clarke Cole, and Dorothy Norwood.

Darryl’s professional stage career started regionally in such shows as Singin’ in the Rain, A Chorus Line, Ain’t Misbehavin, The All Night Strut, The Meeting, Passing Strange, Once On This Island, Dreamgirls, and continued with The Wiz (40th Anniversary in Central Park). He has performed in Off-Broadway shows such as Mama I Want to Sing and Big Mama Stringbean: the life of Ethel Waters (AUDELCO award nomination). Williamsis the winner of the Americans Traditions Savannah Onstage International Soloist Competition, earning a Gold Medal, a Ten Thousand Dollar Grand Prize and an offer to sing for the Yachting Event for the 1996 Summer Olympics. Internationally, Darryl was invited by one of Germany’s elite promoters, the late Mr. Michael Brenner, to tour Eastern Europe as Choir Director and guest soloist with Queen Esther Marrow and The Harlem Gospel Singers. His vocal prowess gained him rave reviews and won him the opportunity to perform for Pope (now Saint) John Paul II in Bologna, Italy. Williams has toured extensively in the Broadway hit Smokey Joe’s Cafe with the legendary Gladys Knight which was a fixture at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Williamshas also created background vocals and sung behind such artists as Gladys Knight, Leslie Gore, Lisa Fischer, Ann Nesby, Louis St. Louis and Emmy Award winner Dave Pierce. His performance and background vocals with Leslie Gore at Feinstein’s was lauded as one of the Top Ten Cabaret Shows in 2009.

Williamswas co-music arranger and vocal arranger for Sir. Andrew Lloyd Webber with the much-anticipated hit Jesus Christ Superstar Gospel in which he won rave reviews for his portrayal of Judas at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. Currently based in New York City, Williamswas a semi-finalist at the world famous Apollo Theatre and keeps a vocal studio of younger performers performing on Broadway and on national tours. Williamswas recently featured on PBS’ Live from Lincoln Center singing background for Tony winner Cynthia Erivo. His headliner show The Mind of a Tenor has been performed on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and the Azamara Pursuit and at venues from Hawaii to South Africa. His debut album The Mind of a Tenor is available online at CD Baby and at all digital outlets.

ABOUT THE CHICAGO PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY

The Chicago Philharmonic Society is a collaboration of nearly 200 of the highest-level classical musicians performing in the Chicago metropolitan area. Governed under a groundbreaking structure of musician leadership, the Society presents concerts at venues throughout the Chicago area that cover the full spectrum of symphonic music. The Society’s orchestra, known simply as the Chicago Philharmonic, has been called one of the country’s finest symphonic orchestras, and its unique chamber music ensembles, which perform as Chicago Phil Chamber, draw from its vast pool of versatile musicians. The Society’s community engagement programs connect Chicago-area youth to classical music by providing access to symphonic concerts, mentorship from Chicago Philharmonic musicians, and performance opportunities. Founded 32 years ago, the Chicago Philharmonic is known for providing symphonic support to international and national touring companies in all music genres and served as the official orchestra of the Joffrey Ballet for eight years. The Chicago Philharmonic also continues its nearly 30-year association with Ravinia Festival, is a resident company of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, and performs at all the great concert halls of the Chicago and North Shore area, including Auditorium Theatre and Symphony Center. The Illinois Council of Orchestras has awarded the Chicago Philharmonic “Orchestra of the Year'' (2018), “Programming of the Year” (2019), “Community Relations of the Year” (2019), “Executive Director of the Year” (2020), and “Conductor of the Year” (2021). More information can be found at chicagophilharmonic.org.

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