Tribute to the Queen

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The Hamiltones’ Tony Lelo performs during a tribute to Aretha Franklin at Delta College. Photo by Eva Martinez
The Hamiltones’ Tony Lelo performs during a tribute to Aretha Franklin at Delta College. Photo by Eva Martinez

Delta community hosts show of gratitude to Aretha Franklin 

On Feb. 8, the Delta College’s African American Employees Association hosted a tribute to Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin in the Atherton Auditorium.

The event was filled with music that flowed through the auditorium from performances by The Hamiltones and Sidney Cruz.

“It was an incredible experience,” said Elaina Mat, an audience member and Delta student.

The event started with a tribute video which showcased many of Franklin’s accomplishments, including a meeting with President Barack Obama.

Delta’s jazz band then hit the stage led by singer Cruz.

Cruz performed iconic Franklin hits such as “Respect” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” with a voice projection and range sure to bring a smile to the Queen of Soul’s face.

“It was a lot of pressure, we added the dancers today and then I was watching recordings of me standing still and I was like I got to move and then I tried to incorporate their dance moves to some of my stuff so it looked like we were a little more in sync,” Cruz said when asked about the improvised choreography.

After the performance, a video giving praise to the diva’s iconic fashion moments was played before being cut short due to technical issues.

A spoken word performance was given by both associate professor David Terry and  the President of Delta College’s African American Association James Forte describing their experiences with Franklin both physically and spiritually.

Up next was a dance performance that reminded the audience it was also a day to celebrate Black History Month. 

The Hamiltones played last.

The band began to rock the crowd with smooth melodic music accompanied by gospel undertones.

As the band began to sing the crowd began to dance. It turned from a tribute to a full-out concert.

The Hamiltones sang original songs and hits from Jodeci, as well as other artists. 

At the end of the band’s rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” the band allowed Cruz to get in on the action, as well as incorporating a few of the audience members as well.

It was definitely a night to remember filled with memoirs that capped off the significance of an icon not just in the black community, but to the world.

This tribute showed that Aretha Franklin’s legacy will live on forever in the hearts of many.