Locals remember seeing Aretha Franklin perform in Capital Region


As the world mourns the Queen of Soul, locals remember seeing the artist perform during her stops in the Capital Region.

A voice that rocked the nation. A sound so smooth, no one can compare.

That was the sound of Aretha Louise Franklin.

“She was a legend,” Kara Cavanaugh said. “She can’t die. Her music is forever. It’s amazing. I love it.”

Cavanuah remembers growing up listening to Aretha – she said it was thanks to her parents’ great taste in music.

“I used to just sit up with my dad and listen to her Greatest Hits albums,” she said.

Her favorite, she said, was “Rock Steady.”

Like many, Cavanaugh said she was blessed to witness the Queen of Soul perform when Aretha made one of many appearances in the Capital Region.

“I get chills remembering it,” Cavanaugh said. “I still remember it very clearly. When I walked in, the building was full of her fans, and it was surreal.”

But she wasn’t the only one who was able to see her when she was in town.

“She performed for my tenth anniversary celebration back in 2009,” RPI Pres. Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson said.

Jackson said it was an honor listening and meeting an artist she also grew up listening.

“It was really a unique moment,” she recalled. “She shout out during the performance and wished me well and said I was phenomenal and a phenomenal woman.”

Aretha performed several other times in the Capital Region, including headlining for the Saratoga Springs Jazz Festival in 1998.

“Even though her roots were in the African American church and that tradition, she was truly a crossover artist,” Jackson said. “She had a strong voice.”

Fans said Aretha may be gone but her legacy will always live on.

She passed away at her home in Detroit Thursday morning after a long battle with cancer. She was 76 years old.

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