STORY WRITTEN BY JARREAU FREEMAN
@JarreauFreeman on Twitter
PHILADELPHIA >> It’s an upbeat, foot-tapping, disco-soul classic and the message of the 1979 hit “We Are Family” by Philadelphia bred music group Sister Sledge will fill the air on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Saturday as part of a series of performances slated for the Festival of Families.
The Festival of Families is an international celebration of family, community and faith, and Kim Sledge, a member of the family singing group, said they are honored to be part of it.
“Fans can expect to be united,” said Kim, who now lives in Newtown, Bucks County. “We will do ‘We Are Family’ and I think it will be a night of love and excitement and bring people together. With this being a family event, that’s our goal and mission through the songs we will be singing. It’s about locking arms, lifting up our voices and celebrating what keeps us in common – love.”
Kim, along with her sisters Debbie, Joni, and Kathy, are scheduled to perform on the Eakins Oval Stage on the parkway. Also performing on the stage Saturday are the wheelchair ballroom dancing group American DanceWheels, classical singer Jackie Evancho, contemporary Christian artist Matt Maher and comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan. Performances at the Eakins Oval Stage are slated to begin at 5:27 p.m.
Taking the main stage on the parkway from 7:30-9 p.m. will be the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, the rock band The Fray, Italian classical tenor Andrea Bocelli and Colombian musician Juanes. The festival is being hosted by Academy Award-nominated actor Mark Wahlberg.
However, one of the main focuses of the Festival of Families will be the families that will be introduced to Pope Francis throughout the main event, according to Meg Kane, a spokeswoman for the WMOF.
“The aim is to provide high energy performances to celebrate the World Meeting of Families and families from around the globe,” she said. “It will be a wonderful and spiritual celebration.”
Throughout the afternoon – beginning at 12:45 p.m. – there will be performances by cultural groups and educational institutions at the Logan Square Stage featuring the Oscuro Quintet, Saint Raymond of Peñafort Gospel Choir and the Mutya Philippine Dance Company.
“Pope Francis appears to be a very patient, gentle and one who is listening and observing; he seems to be stretching his heart out in love to all people,” Kim said. “We are honored to be part of an event whose mission is bringing people to together. I’m honored, just honored. It will be a moment in time.
“I hope people feel unity and the bound of peace and realize that love covers a multitude of our differences.”
For more information about the Festival of Families visit www.worldmeeting2015.org.