The featured artists for South Bend Symphony’s first Pops Concert were Cassidy Catanzaro, Celisse Henderson, and Katrina Rose. The theme of the show was Women Rock. Katrina, the Janis Joplin of the group, noted in her remarks that there may be some who had come expecting a symphonic evening, only to discover that a rock concert had broken out.

The evening’s music demonstrated the breadth and expanse of the symphony. For the evening there were two guitars, a guest drummer, an electronic organ, and only two woodwinds. There was a saxophone solo and several guitar solos. I kept waiting for a violin solo. If there are jazz violinists, why can’t there be rock violinists? The evening proved that not only can the South Bend Symphony play classical music, they can rock.

Cassidy Catanazaro sang a song, “You’ve Got A Friend,” that was written and first recorded by Carole King. According to King, she wrote the song in response to the James Taylor’s song “Fire and Rain” in which he writes “I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend.” Carole has stated that “the song was as close to pure inspiration as I’ve ever experienced.”

In her introduction to the song Cassidy gave some biographical background about why the song had meaning for her. She was raised in New Jersey, and moved to California, to seek her fortune where she did well. Cassidy was the lead singer and songwriter for the female rock band Antigone Rising. As her mother was getting older she asked Cassidy to move back to New Jersey. She went only thinking she would stay a short time. However, she discovered that the people back home really cared for her and were interested in her. In California, people only knew her by her persona. In New Jersey, people knew the real Cassidy. In New Jersey, there was someone who would watch her cat and who would help her move a piece of furniture from one part of the room to another. In California, you would have to pay to have these things done. In New Jersey, she has friends. In California, she had acquaintances.

I Corinthian Chapter 13 is known as the love chapter. It could also describe a good friend. With this in mind I Corinthians 13:7, using a variation of the Living Bible translation, would read: “If someone is your friend you will be loyal to them no matter what the cost. You will always believe in them, always expect the best of them, and always stand your ground in defending them.” Carole King adds that a friend is someone who will give a helping hand, will brighten up one’s darkest night, and will come running when needed.

In light of Cassidy’s remarks I find it interesting that numerous times throughout the concert Cassidy, Celisse and Katrina mention what good friends they are. Evidently they travel together with their drummer giving concerts around the country. In such circumstance it would be hard to maintain one’s public persona all the time. In traveling from place to place they would get to see the real person behind the persona. I would suspect in such circumstances the only way the three could make their arrangement work is if they are friends.

One of the essential things we need in life is good friends. Friends as Carole King writes who will be there when “we are down and troubled and nothing is going right, when life is dark and full of clouds, when people are cold and hurt you and desert you and take your soul.” Truly blessed is a person who has a few good friends.

The Rev. Dave Hogsett is a retired United Methodist pastor. He can be e-mailed at

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