Aretha and Condi at the Mann Music Center

    Crowds put aside politics to appreciate the former Secretary of State’s skills at the piano.

    Tuesday night the former secretary of state met with the Queen of Soul across a baby grand piano. Dr. Condoleezza Rice tried her hand at soul music at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts . The woman who had once helped establish global policy took a back seat to Aretha Franklin.
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    While serving as Secretary of State during the George W. Bush administration, Condoleezza Rice turned heads by coming out as an accomplished classical pianist. At the Mann Center she stepped out of her comfort zone by playing R&B.

    She was upstaged by the Aretha Franklin.

    Franklin and Rice performed just two numbers together – Say A Little Prayer, and My Country ‘Tis Of Thee. Rice also played a movement from a Mozart concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra. While fans were clearly there to hear Franklin, some – like Michelle Lawson – were equally intrigued to see Rice.

    “I just wanted to see how accomplished she was – wanted to see breadth and depth of her skills.”

    Although Condoleezza Rice can be a polarizing figure in politics, the audience treated her graciously. Patricia McMurran says she definitely did not come for Rice, but appreciated her skill.

    “She’s a great pianist. She’s wonderful. Because I don’t like her politics has nothing to do with her talent. She’s beautiful.”

    The sold-out benefit concert raised money for the Mann’s music education programs in schools.

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