Serendipitous Singing

Wonderful tale of recording for a graduation performance being enhanced by a passer by.


For obvious reasons, Portland State University decided to hold a virtual graduation ceremony this year for its students. Madisen Hallberg was one of the graduates and, as part of the planned celebrations, agreed to sing the Star Spangled Banner.


And, because the ceremony needed to be virtual, she went to one of the public parks that runs through the campus, accompanied (at a safe distance) by a video recording crew. Once an appropriate spot was decided upon, Madisen starting singing with the crew capturing sound and vision.


However, suddenly, while the video crew was recording her rendition of the national anthem, an opera singer happened to walk by. The classically trained singer who performs with the Portland Opera couldn't resist joining in. It was completely serendipitous and, as you can see by the video, totally beautiful.


“Once he started singing I immediately relaxed into the sound of his voice,” Hallberg told GNN. “His voice was so good, and I realized I was getting the chance to sing with a super talented musician!”


Emmanuel Henreid had been singing at Black Lives Matter protests trying to keep his vocals in shape as all local musical venues have been closed - and his dates with the opera company cancelled. Of course, Madisen was thrilled that his quest for singing in the streets landed him in her video.


“I saw it as a total blessing - and getting the chance to do that felt truly special during this time of the virus where we as musicians are often isolated.”


“Looking back, I’m so glad that people are touched by what happened,” she added. “I think it’s important to spread positivity and hope for the future, and I think that’s what two people coming together to sing the anthem can do.”