Under the glow of disco ball lights twinkling on the ceiling, many people didn’t stay in their seats when Aretha Franklin took to the stage in Sanford Field House on March 5. Franklin and her orchestra, part of the Kerschner Family Series Global Leaders at Colgate, pulled in a crowd of more than 4,100 for a special weekend celebrating the performing arts at Colgate.

The Colgate Chamber Singers, backed up by a student and faculty band, warmed up the crowd with lively renditions of Motown, Stevie Wonder, and Jackson Five tunes.

Then, when Franklin opened with her 1987 hit (with George Michael) “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me,” both longtime fans and new ones were on their feet, bopping at their seats or dancing in the aisles. During the performance, Franklin delivered favorites from throughout her career, like “Think,” “Ain’t No Way,” and “Freeway of Love.” She also belted out covers from her new album, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, including “Rolling in the Deep” (Adele), “People” (Barbra Streisand), and she paid tribute to Natalie Cole with “Inseparable.” Franklin even tickled the ivories during a soulful rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Simon and Garfunkel).

And when it came to her signature tune, the Queen of Soul didn’t disappoint, pulling out “Respect” as her encore.

Over the weekend, more than 1,000 alumni and parents came to campus to steep themselves in a smorgasbord of performing arts. Events included University Theater’s production of Erin Courtney’s A Map of Virtue; a dance performance featuring student groups; a lecture/demonstration on jazz and the Academy Award-winning documentary Round Midnight presented by saxophonist Glenn Cashman; and a Colgate Chamber Players recital featuring works by Mozart, Moszkowski, and more. Images below.

Performing Arts Weekend at Colgate University 2016

Previous Global Leaders

Aretha Franklin on stage during Global Leaders 2016

Aretha Franklin

Queen of Soul, 2016

More on her visit

Aretha Franklin on stage during Global Leaders 2016
Shimon Peres, former prime minister of Isreal, speaking at Global Leaders 2014

Shimon Peres

Former President and Prime Minister of Israel, 2014

More on his visit 

Shimon Peres, former prime minister of Isreal, speaking at Global Leaders 2014
Hillary Clinton speaking at Global Leaders 2013

Hillary Clinton

Former Secretary of State, 2013

More on her visit 

Hillary Clinton speaking at Global Leaders 2013
Felipe Calderon speaking at Global Leaders 2013

Felipe Calderón

Former President of Mexico, 2013

More on his visit 

Felipe Calderon speaking at Global Leaders 2013
Sir Richard Branson runs through the crowd of students performing a Flash Mob, making a grand entrance to his talk at Colgate University, as part of the Global Leaders Lecture Series 2013.

Sir Richard Branson

Entrepreneur and philanthropist, 2012

More on his visit 

Sir Richard Branson runs through the crowd of students performing a Flash Mob, making a grand entrance to his talk at Colgate University, as part of the Global Leaders Lecture Series 2013.
Bill Clinton speaking during Global Leaders 2010.

Bill Clinton

42nd President of the United States, 2010

More on his visit 

Bill Clinton speaking during Global Leaders 2010.
Garry Kasparov speaking to students during Global Leaders 2010.

Garry Kasparov

Chess champion and political activist, 2010

More on his visit

Garry Kasparov speaking to students during Global Leaders 2010.
Former Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair, speaking at Global Leaders 2009.

Tony Blair

Former Prime Minister of Britain, 2009

More on his visit 

Former Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair, speaking at Global Leaders 2009.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell speaking during Global Leaders 2009.

General Colin Powell

Former U.S. Secretary of State, 2009

More on his visit 

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell speaking during Global Leaders 2009.
The Dalai Lama speaking during Global Leaders 2008.

His Holiness - The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet

Spiritual leader of Tibet, 2008

More on his visit 

The Dalai Lama speaking during Global Leaders 2008.

Share