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Aretha Franklin

April 18, 2008   The Sacerdote Fund, which brings a high-profile speaker to campus every year, brought an unparalleled opportunity to campus.  Aretha Franklin played a full concert to the 1,775 students of Hamilton College.  She didn't play my favorite song, "Only the Lonely," but I found myself clapping through most of her set.  Fog, bright lights, projectors pushing her onto giant screens, a small army of back-up performers, and crowds bussed in from all around Central New York made for a memorable evening.  During "Respect" the entire audience stood and students stormed the aisles, smearing an organized seating chart into a dance party.  As a performer, Aretha's energy seemed drawn from an unlimited font.  She tap-danced, told jokes, and introduced every member of her back-up.  When Aretha played in Columbus, it was in the hockey stadium, where you might as well be watching the concert from a Google Earth satellite.  When she played Hamilton College I could see her uvula.  I can now tell people I've seen Aretha Franklin's uvula.