When Madisen Hallberg was filmed on campus singing the national anthem for her university’s virtual graduation, she suddenly heard a stranger sing along.
Emmanuel Henreid was walking on the campus of Portland State University in Oregon when he heard Hallberg singing and the classically-trained opera singer decided to join in for an impromptu duet.
“As an African American male walking the park blocks, I didn’t see a white individual or a woman,” Henreid said. “I just saw what felt like music. He added, “I passed and I was like you know what let’s just do it, just be brave and ask if she wants to sing together.”
So when a Black opera singer and a white student sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” together amid the protests, it sent an uplifting message for many in the country during this emotional time.
“When you collaborate with someone and sing with someone, the most important thing you can do is listen to them,” Hallberg told KGW. “And listen to what they’re doing with their voice, and adapt to that and shape your tone and your pitch around them so it’s harmonious.”
Henreid is a classically-trained dancer, actor and pianist with the Portland Opera Company and several other professional choirs and opera companies. Henreid and Hallberg are grateful their moment together has been able to touch people around the world. “When we let our voices pour out, there’s no stopping us,” Henreid said.