Written by Behnam Vadi
Photos by Autumn de Wilde

It may have felt like any other Friday night during a typical Winter-in-Summer eve in SF, but Davies Symphony Hall transformed into a house of worship, as the goddess, Audra McDonald, took the stage. On May 18, 2018, The SF Symphony hosted an outstanding ensemble to accompany the virtuosic vocalist with every seat occupied by boisterous attendees ranging from young millennials
to silver septuagenarians.

The night began with a huge congregation in front of will call and a labyrinthian line extending well down the block, giving the prelude to an event of epic proportions. Suspense continued to grow minute by minute, as thrilled groups of greeters and ushers lavished artfully decked out patrons with smiles and cordiality. After the assemblage took to their seats, small whispers roamed freely from aisle to aisle, in anticipation of the artist’s vocal showcase.

And then…the multi-award-winning performer took center stage like a mystical siren, captivating the audience more than any bells and whistles an effects team could ever conjure up. Fans showed their adoration with endless applause and unrestrained glee. From the opening number, “I am what I am”, Audra mesmerized the crowd with songs that truly touched the heart. She captivated patrons with her strong vocal range, deep vibrato, and extraordinary resonance, as well as affectionate audience interplay as in the sing-a-long version of “I Could Have Danced All Night”. The crescendo of the night came when she unleashed “Make Someone Happy” and “Climb Every Mountain”, taking the crowd to new soaring heights and wrapping her Great American Songbook showdown.

I fell more in love with her after I found out that she is a strong voice for the humane treatment of animals. With support from the animal kingdom, it’s no wonder why her aura filled the entire hall. She is a godsend and truly one to cherish!