On Senator Joe Lieberman

by | Mar 29, 2024

I’m processing the sudden loss of Senator Joe Lieberman.

He was a vice presidential nominee, public servant, diplomat, author, maverick … and recording artist! 🎙

Here’s the backstory:

I met Joe Lieberman in an elevator bank in a Senate office building. I was a Senate intern at the time. We joked about my last name “Sehgal” sounding similar to the Jewish name “Siegel.”

When he announced his presidential bid, I volunteered to help as I was then studying in New Hampshire, the first presidential primary state. I joined him at a few campaign events over the months.

I even invited him to my fraternity where the jazz band welcomed him with a swinging arrangement of “Hail to the Chief.” He loved it!

I was always touched with his kindness, warmth, and abundant spirit.

He was good. He was decent.

We kept up over the years. He was always interested in the music projects on which I was working.

In 2014, I began collaborating with virtuoso Ted Nash, a saxophonist with Jazz at Lincoln Center.

He was composing Presidential Suite a big band jazz opus inspired by memorable oratory.

Ted listened closely to the inflections and intonations of how the words were delivered and wrote music to match these phrasings.

One of the pieces was inspired by John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address.

Ted and I thought it would be lovely to invite public servants to read portions of the speeches on the album. Especially if they had a strong connection to the source material.

I knew that Joe Lieberman was greatly inspired by JFK, so I asked the senator if he’d like to record himself reading a portion of this iconic speech.

This is a video of his performance. He nailed it on the first take.

(But we made sure to have him record a few different takes!)

The project went on to receive many wonderful reviews and much recognition.

Lieberman wrote me: “Participating in [this] musical production was even more unexpected by me than my other big ‘unexpected’ life experience – being nominated for Vice President and in this case we won!”

I’ll miss you, Senator Lieberman.

Thanks for your leadership, partnership, mentorship, and friendship.

My condolences to his family & friends.

May his memory be a blessing to all.

Listen to the track

Listen to the album

#music #portfoliocareer #culturaldiplomacy