“Finding an opening act for the pope is no easy task,” writes Julia Terruso in Wednesday’s (6/24) Philadelphia Inquirer. “Organizers of Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia announced Tuesday that the renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and the Colombian pop star Juanes, along with the Philadelphia Orchestra, will headline the Saturday free concert on the eve of Pope Francis’ Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in September. The pope—and as many as 1.5 million people—are expected to attend the Festival of Families performance … ‘I’m thrilled such incredible talent with tremendous global reach can join us on the Parkway,’ [Philadelphia] Mayor Nutter said … ‘Now, I love Jay-Z and Beyoncé, and, of course, Philly’s own house band, the Roots, but there’s something quite magical about the idea… of Pope Francis being on stage in our city with Andrea Bocelli, Juanes, and the Philadelphia Orchestra.’ The orchestra will also take part in the papal Mass and provide the liturgical music for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s 500-member choir.” Allison Vulgamore, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra, said that Pope Francis’ “appeal is universal. We believe our art has a universal invocation. It has the ability to transcend what might normally separate us.”

Photo: The Philadelphia Orchestra gives a free summertime concert. Photo by Joe Kaczmarek/The Philadelphia Orchestra Association.

Posted June 26, 2015