Renowned classical tenor Andrea Bocelli is accustomed to performing sold-out concerts around the world. He is comfortable center stage at Carnegie Hall and has sold over eighty million records during his musical career.
But come September, Bocelli will change his pace and join another award-winning musician - Colombian superstar Juanes - to perform for Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
Organizers confirmed this week that Bocelli and Juanes will perform at the public Festival of Families September 26 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
"When we first began planning the Festival of Families, we wanted to ensure that we brought together performers that represented the world," stated Donna Crilley Farrell, the Executive Director for the World Meeting of Families.
"To have Andrea Bocelli, one of the world's great vocalists, and Juanes, one of the most popular performers in all of Latin America, come to Philadelphia for the Festival of Families is an extraordinary gift," Farrell continued.
But the Festival of Families will also have some local flair; the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin, will join Bocelli and Juanes at the Festival of Families.
"To be able to have these incredible individuals perform with our hometown jewel in the Philadelphia Orchestra brings this event together in spectacular fashion," Farrell noted.
"This will be a shared moment and we are deeply grateful to Andrea Bocelli, Juanes and the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin, for being part of this once-in-a-lifetime moment," Farrell anticipated.
"Without a doubt, these performances will not only capture the hearts and imaginations of the thousands who will watch them live on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, but also the millions around the world who will watch on television and online."
The Philadelphia Orchestra will also perform the music for the Papal Mass on September 27 with the accompaniment of hundreds of archdiocesan choir members.
Pope Francis will travel to Philadelphia September 26-27 for the World Meeting of Families, which is themed “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.” This is the first time the United States has hosted the triennial international event. The last World Meeting of Families was held in Milan in 2012. Saint John Paul II established the World Meeting of Families in 1994 to encourage families and strengthen familial bonds.