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Norman - Worby - Williams
Pasadena, California

September 22, 2006

Photos taken by Larry Underhill

Conductor John Williams was a surprise guest at a reception for legendary opera star Jessye Norman following at a concert for 1,800 students at Blair High School in Pasadena, California accompanied by maestra Rachael Worby and The Pasadena POPS Orchestra, who conducted one of several music outreach programs at the school on September 22, 2006.

Conductor John Williams shares a laugh with legendary opera star Jessye Norman following a concert in Pasadena, California for 1,800 students at Blair High School arranged by famed conductor Rachael Worby and The Pasadena POPS Orchestra, September 22, 2006.

PASADENA -- In an extraordinary one-time event, legendary opera star Jessye Norman, acclaimed as one of the world's greatest sopranos, joined maestra Rachael Worby and The Pasadena POPS Orchestra in a rare West Coast performance exclusively for 1,800 inner city students at Pasadena's Blair IB Magnet High School on Friday, September 22, 2006.

Recognized globally for her vocal successes and humanitarian acts, Norman agreed to the concert on the request of Worby, who crafted a pioneering education residency program at Blair High three years ago to instill an appreciation for music and a platform for self discipline and hard work among the students.

The 45-minute performance was held in Blair High's gymnasium, a far cry from the world's great concert halls Norman has visited throughout her distinguished career. She regaled the students with her personal interpretations of opera, gospel and jazz, as well as readings from great black authors and leaders, with the accompaniment of the POPS Orchestra under Worby's direction.

"Jessye Norman can perform anywhere in the world, but once I described the opportunity to do a concert that introduces great music to economically disadvantaged, at-risk teenagers, there was no hesitation on her part," said Worby. "It was especially compelling for her since the school is participating in one of our outreach programs aimed specifically at inner city kids."

Norman, a 2006 Lifetime Achievement Awardee from The Recording Academy and a 1997 Kennedy Center Honoree among her 30 or more decorations and awards, is a tireless champion of philanthropic activities. She is spokesperson for the LUPUS Foundation and The Partnership for the Homeless and serves on the boards of The New York City Public Library,New York Botanical Garden, Meals-on-Wheels of New York, The Dance Theater of Harlem, National Music Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

(Thanks to Chris Northrup!)