An unexpected duet

Opera singer and PSU grad reunite for holiday encore

It was a spontaneous moment that turned into Portland State’s most-watched virtual video ever.  

School of Music jazz studies alum Madisen Hallberg was outdoors in the Park Blocks taping a performance of the national anthem for Portland State’s commencement ceremonies.  A stranger walking by asked if he could sing with her.  That stranger turned out to be Emmanuel Henreid, a classically trained singer, dancer, actor and pianist who goes by “Onry.”  And the resulting video performance and their stories struck a chord with literally millions of people all over the world.

Their “unexpected duet” was covered by the Today Show, NPR, ABC World News Tonight, and a whole host of other local, national and international media outlets.  Conservatively speaking, their story and their duet performance have been viewed over one billion times.

And so, as Portland State’s College of the Arts was thinking of ways to mark this most unusual holiday season, they invited Madisen and Onry back together again to sing a song of peace, "Dona Nobis Pacem."  

Onry currently sings for the Portland Opera, Opera Maui, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Gospel Choir: Kingdom Sound and teaches students around the globe. He is currently working on a documentary and EP, Livin' in the Light. He and his collaborator, Joni Whitworth, are raising funds for this project on GoFundMe

"Livin' in the Light is a bold, timely message to creatives, urging them to keep making and sharing art during the pandemic and challenging institutional responses to this crisis. My film and music document the impact of COVID-19 on Black creatives. This work is an attempt to witness and index the joy, perseverance, and struggle of being a Black male artist in what is often called "the Whitest City in America" while honoring the timeless art form that is opera." - Onry

Madisen Hallberg, Music ’20, studied jazz at Portland State and is a budding recording artist. Hear more of her performances on Spotify.

Watch how Madisen and Onry's original national anthem duet came together.

Watch Madisen and Onry's full performance of the national anthem.