In a video featuring a beautiful medley of spirituals, Jenny Oaks Baker and Condoleezza Rice combine their musical talents through song.
Arranged by Kurt Bestor, the “Free at Last Medley” begins with Rice playing a Kawai grand piano outside among the trees. Baker adds her violin to the song, playing from a different location in nature as they perform “Free at Last,” “Deep River,” and “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” At the end of the piece, the pair then plays “Go Down Moses,” at which point Baker joins Rice at the piano.
While most may recognize Rice as the US secretary of state from 2005–09, she is also an accomplished musician: As a 15-year-old, Rice played Mozart with the Denver Symphony and she started college as a music major but decided to study political science instead. In the video, she starts the medley with a glissando followed by light phrases in her piano accompaniment. Baker, who has a master’s degree in music from Julliard School, maneuvers impressive runs on her violin with dexterity all while capturing the emotion of the spirituals.
The video was sponsored by The National Museum of American Religion in Washington, DC. According to its Twitter account, the museum “tells the story of what religion has done for America, and what America has done to religion.”
Watch the video below.