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Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts will be rededicated as Marian Anderson Hall, home of The Philadelphia Orchestra


Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker Has a Heart for the Arts

Posted by:  The Philadelphia Orchestra and Ensemble Arts on April 15, 2024

Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker delivers passionate remarks at a press conference from the soon-to-be rededicated Marian Anderson Hall. 

At Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker’s inaugural speech on Tuesday, January 2, she stated, “There are no words that can explain the mix of emotions that I am feeling during this very historic moment.” Parker’s election made history as she became the city’s first female mayor and first Black female mayor.

On Wednesday, February 28, Mayor Parker participated in another historic moment: the announcement by The Philadelphia Orchestra and Ensemble Arts that Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, would be renamed Marian Anderson Hall in honor of the late contralto, civil rights icon, and Philadelphian. Many esteemed guest speakers joined President and CEO Matías Tarnopolsky to celebrate the renaming, including Mayor Parker, who gave a moving speech about the significance of Marian Anderson’s legacy and the role of the arts in Philadelphia. Excerpts from Mayor Parker’s impassioned remarks are below:  

1.“It is times like this that allow us to reflect on a story that transformed classical music for generations. Marian Anderson was not only a gifted vocalist, but also a trailblazer who broke down racial barriers and commanded international respect ... both on and off the stage.” – Mayor Cherelle Parker (2:50 – 3:15) 

2. “What [the rededication] does for us here in Philadelphia is it is a direct connection to Marian Anderson’s legacy—that symbolizes the resilience, the dignity, and, quite frankly, the grit that represents what our Philadelphia community is all about.” – Mayor Cherelle Parker (3:32 – 3:51) 

3. “When I was sitting here looking at how beautiful and amazing this hall is, all I could think about is the number of young people here in the City of Philadelphia who will one day get the opportunity to see this place, know that it exists, and particularly for those Black and Brown young people, to know that someone like them was worthy of a distinction like this. That means a great deal.” – Mayor Cherelle Parker (3:56 – 4:22) 

4.“You are what I would consider to be a part of the nucleus of what is a great unifier in our globe, in our commonwealth and here in our city. No matter the race, class, socio-economic status, the zip code, sexual orientation, identity, and/or religion—there is something about melody, music, and art that allows us to feel our human oneness.” – Mayor Cherelle Parker (5:35 – 6:03) 

For more information and/or to donate to the Marian Anderson Hall rededication, please visit www.ensembleartsphilly.org/marianandersonhall.    

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