One may say that the Class of 2020 has had to face one of the greatest disappointments at the end of the academic year, with no proper graduation ceremony. This, in a way, leaves a scar on these young souls who have been waiting for and dreaming of this day for years.
But for some, this special year had a unique surprise in store right after it ended.
Like Madisen Hallberg, a graduate of the Portland State University, who, as all of her fellow graduates, didn’t have the chance to attend a proper celebration and thus get the fulfilling emotion of someone who has just completed his studies and is ready to move on to the next step.
But Madisen was lucky enough to live an unforgettable experience, even in these uncertain times, even at a safe distance from others.
Hallberg majored in Jazz and, during her studies, one of her favorite experiences was singing with the Chamber Choir. In fact, they even released an album last March, and she didn’t fail to post on Facebook how excited she was about that.
However, the most precious experience her University years had to offer her was not to come until after her graduation. In fact, Hallberg was asked to sing the national anthem for the school’s virtual commencement, so a couple of weeks ago she found herself on campus singing, when something unexpected happened.
While the girl’s beautiful voice was flooding the park, a stranger who happened to be close by and heard her singing decided to ask if he could join her.
In the video that has been released on YouTube with the making of the official video, it is obvious that the man approaches the girl- always from a safe distance- and sings with her, while one can tell she’s surprised but also happy to have him there.
At the time, neither Hallberg nor the filming crew had any idea who this man was, but they later found out he is an opera singer.
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Emmanuel Henreid is a singer, actor, dancer, and pianist. He currently sings for the Portland Opera Company and other institutions, while he also teaches students around the world.
The pair sang the national anthem beautifully, one voice completing the other, and they even sat down for an interview with KGW News, talking about this experience and what they learned from it.
“As an African American male,” Henreid said during the interview, “walking the park blocks, I didn’t see a white individual or a woman […] I just saw what felt like music.”
And Madisen felt exactly the same. As she explained, it only felt right that a white and a black person would sing the national anthem together, especially with all of the chaos currently going on around the country.
“As a white person,” Hallberg says, “it felt so right singing it with [Henreid] more than by myself.”
The two artists also talked about the importance of not trying to outsing the other person, but rather listen to them carefully and try to adapt your own voice so that the two voices sound like one. As Henreid highlighted, the same goes for everyday life and human relationships- listening is more important than speaking.
Well, this unexpected duet not only impacted the two musicians involved, but we are sure it will positively affect the PSU students that will be watching it this new academic year.
You can watch the moment Henreid surprised Hallberg and they started singing together in the video below.
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