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Jason Rapp

S.C. Arts Awards: Charlton Singleton

2021 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2021 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is focusing on this year's recipients: seven receiving the South Carolina Governor's Awards for the Arts and two receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina.

Charlton Singleton

Artist Category | Governor's Awards for the Arts

A native of Awendaw, Charlton Singleton began his musical studies at the age of 3 on the piano. He would then go on to study the organ, violin, cello, and the trumpet throughout elementary, middle and high school. In 1994, he received a bachelor of arts in music performance from South Carolina State University. Since that time, he has taught music at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, as well as being an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston. Currently, he is the previous artistic director of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra; an 18-piece jazz ensemble of some of the finest professional musicians in the Southeast and the resident big band in Charleston. Singleton is also the organist and choir director at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Charleston. In November of 2015 he was named the inaugural artist in residence at the recently renovated Gaillard Center in downtown Charleston. As a performer, Charlton leads his own ensembles that vary in size and style. He has performed in France, Great Britain, Scotland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, The Netherlands, as well as many great cities throughout the U.S. He is a member of Grammy Award-winning band Ranky Tanky, a quintet that interprets the sounds of Gullah from the Southeast coast of the U.S. In addition to performing, he is in demand as a speaker, composer, and arranger. He has also shared the stage with and/or worked with some of most talented entertainers in the world, including Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, Houston Person, Darius Rucker, Fred Wesley, and Cyrus Chestnut to name a few. Over the past several years, Charlton has emerged as the face of jazz performance in the Lowcountry. With his touring ensemble he models the classic quintet formats of jazz greats Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, and Clark Terry with his unique brand of southern charm and Lowcountry inspired composition.

Quotable

Charlton Singleton consistently impacts our state; the culture, the music and the people. As a mentioned in the opening of this letter, Charlton is a light in the community and is a luminary for us all. He is an outstanding person and defines the criteria of this recognition.

Sterling DeVries Director of Education Charleston Gaillard Center Charleston


The South Carolina Arts Awards stream live Monday, May 24, 2021. The festivities begin at 6 p.m. on SouthCarolinaArts.com. There is no in-person event in 2021. The virtual ceremony will be available on demand from the S.C. Arts Commission YouTube Channel after the livestream presentation.

Meet the Recipients

Use these links to read the long-form bios of the other 2021 South Carolina Arts Awards recipients.

Jason Rapp

SCAC to honor 7 with Governor’s Awards for the Arts

Four artists, one advocate, two organizations


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Today, the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is announcing seven qualified recipients of South Carolina’s highest award for high achievement in practicing or supporting the arts.

The South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts are presented annually by the SCAC. The appointed members of the agency’s board of directors vote on panel recommendations for the award. For 2021, the following honorees from their respective categories are being recognized for outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina:
  • LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Tom Flowers, Greenville (posthumous)
  • ARTIST: Charlton Singleton, Charleston
  • INDIVIDUAL: Jennifer Clark Evins, Spartanburg
  • ARTS IN EDUCATION: Tayloe Harding, Columbia
  • BUSINESS: Colonial Life, Columbia
  • ORGANIZATION: ColaJazz Foundation, Columbia
  • SPECIAL AWARD: Marjory Wentworth, Mount Pleasant
“With the Governor’s Award, we celebrate achievement and thank these accomplished recipients for enriching life and culture here in South Carolina. Recipients always represent the best of South Carolina. They are talented, successful, and dedicated. They exemplify giving of themselves to ensure everyone who wants to can benefit from access to the arts,” S.C. Arts Commission Chairwoman Dee Crawford said. A diverse committee, appointed by the S.C. Arts Commission Board of Directors and drawn from members community statewide, reviews all nominations. After a rigorous process and multiple meetings, the panel produces a recommendation from each category that is sent to the board for final approval. Serving on the panel for the 2021 awards were Flavia Harton (Greenville), Glenis Redmond (Mauldin), Bob Reeder (Columbia), Bhavna Vasudeva (Columbia), and Kim Wilson (Rock Hill). The South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards are presented to recipients at the South Carolina Arts Awards ceremony, normally held in person every spring. The pandemic forced the shift of last year’s ceremony to a virtual format in July rather than May. Reaction to that was positive and it is planned once again for 2021, but instead of being held in the summer it will revert to its normal timeframe in the spring. The SCAC and its partner for the Folk Heritage Awards, McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina, will announce a date and time later.

About the 2021 S.C. Governor’s Awards for the Arts Recipients

Washington, D.C. native TOM FLOWERS (Lifetime Achievement) came to South Carolina for football at Furman University and left with a bachelor’s in art. After earning a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Iowa and serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, his teaching career wound its way from Kansas and North Carolina back to Furman. He spent the next 30 years teaching arts at the school, from 1959 to 1989, and was chairman of the art department for most of his tenure. Upon completion he was named to the school’s emeritus faculty. Decorated and widely exhibited as an artist, Flowers’ works have homes in museums and collections throughout the Southeast, including the South Carolina State Art Collection. He served on several Upstate arts boards and commissions and as a state representative on the American Craft Council. Thomas Earl Flowers passed away Dec. 13, 2020 after his nomination was made in the Governor’s Award artist category. He is survived by multiple practicing artists in his family, further adding to his legacy. Over the past several years, CHARLTON SINGLETON (Artist Category) has emerged as the face of jazz performance in the Lowcountry. Because of his membership in the band Ranky Tanky, a quintet that interprets the sounds of Gullah culture, he can also be called a Grammy Award winner. Singleton studied organ, violin, cello, and trumpet throughout childhood and adolescence and earned a music performance degree from South Carolina State University. Since, he’s taught music at every level from elementary school through college. In addition to Ranky Tanky, he is previous artistic director of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, has his own touring ensemble, is organist and choir director of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Charleston and was named inaugural artist-in-residence at the renovated Gaillard Center in Charleston. He is in demand as a speaker, composer, and arranger. As president and CEO, JENNIFER CLARK EVINS (Individual Category) leads the day-to-day operations and management of Chapman Cultural Center (CCC), Spartanburg city and county’s local arts agency. Along with her county-wide arts coordination, she has nearly 26 years as a visionary community and statewide arts leader to her credit. As a volunteer, Evins led the 10-year project and capital campaign that raised $42 million that built CCC, led another successful campaign to add Mayfair Art Studios to CCC, and led the charge to get Downtown Spartanburg named a South Carolina Cultural District. Evins was the author and director for the winning $1 million Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. Her Culture Counts program, which started as a local asset inventory and mapping project, is now used as a South Carolina cultural tourism tool through Ten at the Top. A winner of numerous awards for service and leadership, she serves or served on prominent Upstate boards. Evins is a strong advocate for local artists, arts organizations, and arts education, and is an active board member of the South Carolina Arts Alliance. TAYLOE HARDING (Arts in Education Category) has a belief in the power of music and the arts to transform communities and individuals that is evident in his work with local and state arts education and advocacy organizations. The dean of the University of South Carolina School of Music has participated in and led efforts as diverse as 12 years on the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project steering committee, consulting on the city of Columbia’s cultural plan and for its One Columbia for Arts & Culture office, frequent advocacy work on behalf of the South Carolina Arts Alliance, and on grant panels for the defunct Cultural Council of Richland/Lexington Counties. Harding has national exposure as past president of the College Music Society and past secretary of the National Association for Schools of Music. He remains active as a composer, earning commissions, performances, and recordings worldwide. COLONIAL LIFE (Business/Foundation Category) is a Columbia-based market leader of financial protection benefits offered through the workplace. For more than 80 years the company has demonstrated a commitment to the community through corporate giving, the employee matching gift programs and volunteerism. The company also has made significant investments each year to support educational, health, wellbeing, arts and culture state programs. Colonial Life’s mission to help America’s workers face unexpected events and challenging times makes it the extraordinary company it is today. Since its 2014 founding, COLAJAZZ FOUNDATION (Organization Category) has worked tirelessly to establish Columbia as a premier jazz destination by highlighting the accomplished jazz artists and educators active in and around the city. Successful and vibrant programming includes bringing international jazz stars, including NEA Jazz Masters and Grammy Award winners, to Columbia. Its annual season includes the ColaJazz Summer Camp; ColaJazz Fest; Great Day in Columbia; Live in the Lobby (Koger Center for the Arts) series; monthly Dinner & Jazz concerts; Jazz Appreciation Month; ColaJazz Crawl; live and virtual concerts, workshops, after-school curriculum for International Jazz Day; and Jazz for Young People concerts that bring people from across the state and beyond to enjoy the capital city. The erstwhile poet laureate of South Carolina, MARJORY WENTWORTH (Special Award) is its second-longest serving. She received her appointment to the position from Gov. Mark Sanford in 2003 and served until 2020. Wentworth is New York Times bestselling co-author of Out of Wonder, Poems Celebrating Poets and author of prize-winning children’s story Shackles. Her lengthy list of published titles includes several of her own poetry books, additional co-authored titles, and she is co-editor, with Kwame Dawes, of Seeking: Poetry and Prose Inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green. Wentworth serves on the board of advisors at The Global Social Justice Practice Academy, and she is a 2020 National Coalition Against Censorship Free Speech is for Me Advocate. She teaches courses in writing, social justice and banned books at the College of Charleston and formerly taught courses at The Citadel and Art Institute of Charleston and Charleston County School of the Arts.

Correction

On Feb. 17, this copy was corrected to reflect that Charlton Singleton is a former artistic director of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra. The original copy stated he is the current artistic director and conductor.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences. A state agency created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the SCAC works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas: arts education, community arts development, and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the SCAC is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources. Visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696, and follow @scartscomm on social media.

Jason Rapp

New entertainment venue planned for Midlands

Concerts announced today include Ranky Tanky


Announced yesterday, Innovation Arts & Entertainment (IAE) and The Roberts Group have partnered to launch Cola Concerts presents Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center.

The new partnership will bring major touring artists and well-known comedians to the Soda City providing the live entertainment experience people have been missing. Cola Concerts will build a new venue from the ground up at historic Columbia Speedway (2001 Charleston Highway, Cayce). An initial artist lineup for Cola Concerts presents Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center was just announced and includes Charleston-based Grammy Award winners Ranky Tanky on Nov. 22, 2020. Live concerts are set to begin this Nov. 14. Fans will be able to get early access to tickets by signing up for the Cola Concerts Speedway Club at ColaConcerts.com. The Cola Concert Series at the Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center will feature a pair of 40-foot state-of-the-art digital screens allowing for picture-perfect viewing even during daylight hours. With a capacity of 3500, the site will be one of the largest entertainment experiences operating in South Carolina. Fans will be able to safely experience live music, comedy and live broadcasts of professional and collegiate sports from special coves, which are 12’x12’ areas enclosed by posts and ornamental rope. The coves will be big enough for up to four fans to safely socially distance from others.

A proven model

IAE is a boutique live entertainment company known for national and international theatrical tours, as well as live music events including the Beach Road Weekend Music Festival on Martha’s Vineyard and the Yarmouth Drive-in on Cape Cod in Yarmouth, Massachusetts. Launched in June 2020, the Yarmouth Drive-in has hosted more than 50 live music and comedy shows this summer including performances by Marcus King Trio, Chase Rice, The Disco Biscuits, Goose, and comedians Bert Kreischer, Nikki Glaser and Iliza Shlesinger. Employing more than 100 people, the venue provided a boost to the area economy during the pandemic. The Yarmouth Drive-in has become the blueprint for the return of the fan and band interactive experience at live entertainment venues. “We are excited to take what we learned at the drive-in this summer and use it to create the best live entertainment venue in South Carolina,” said Adam Epstein, founder and CEO of IAE. “We have had an overwhelming response from artists that are ready to bring music back to Columbia.” The Roberts Group is a national live entertainment promotion company. They have a deep connection to Columbia, having brought more than 100 theatrical performances to the city through their Broadway in Columbia series, which launched in 2003 at the Koger Center for the Arts. “When we began talking with Adam and IAE about launching a live entertainment series, the first place we thought of was Columbia,” Managing Director of The Roberts Group Daniel Hampel said. “Every time we bring a show to Columbia the fans are so warm and kind. We couldn’t be happier about bringing live entertainment back to the Soda City.”

Venue will create jobs

The Cola Concert Series is expected to hire more than 100 local employees to handle everything from ticketing to security. Additionally, there will be space for 10 local food vendors at the Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center, providing concessions to 3,000+ fans at every show. A schedule of initial shows is available now at ColaConcerts.com. While at the website, fans are encouraged to sign up for Cola Concerts Speedway Club to get all show announcements and early access to ticket presales, and they can follow them on Instagram and Twitter using @ColaConcerts and "Cola Concerts" on Facebook.

Tuning Up: The Lowcountry is hopping

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


You love to see it.

SCAC grantee Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston (FY20 General Operating Support) was the subject of the "Non-Profit Minute" from LowcountryBizSC late last week:

Verner Award recipients unite!

Verner Award recipients Nikky Finney (2016, Lifetime Achievement) and the Gibbes Museum of Art (2019, Organization) will collaborate tomorrow night, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. Finney, along with author of Charleston-based novel The Cigar Factory Michele Moore and professor and director of southern studies at the College of Charleston Julia Eichelberger join the museum to consider the literary traditions and social landscape that gave rise to voices like Eudora Welty and Zora Neale Hurston. This event is inspired by the exhibition Central to Their Lives: Women Artists in the Johnson Collection and is designed to put the stories and experiences of southern women artists in dialogue with the experiences of southern women writers. Guests will also have an exclusive opportunity to purchase copies of Finney's newest publication Love Child's Hotbead of Occasional Poetry, which will not be available to the general public until April. Finney and Moore will be signing copies of their works after the program. Learn more about the speakers and register here. (Member, non-member, and student rates apply; 135 Meeting St., Charleston)

Artist Minute, Feb. 18

The Artist Minute is up on LowcountryBiz, and you will want to make sure you listen to and watch Quiana Parler of Ranky Tanky fame.

Ranky Tanky gets Grammy Award nomination

#SCartists' album up for major award


This has been making the rounds since the announcement on Wednesday, but The Hub would be remiss not to mention the major news for South Carolina's own Ranky Tanky. The folk band's latest album Good Time was nominated for a Grammy Award in the "best regional roots music album" category. According to a release from the College of Charleston, which boast three of the band's five members as alumni, the band's second album debuted in July 2019 at No. 2 on Billboard’s Jazz Chart. The band’s self-titled initial release, which came out in 2017, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Jazz and Contemporary Jazz charts in January 2018.

Started by alumnus Clay Ross ’98, Ranky Tanky, which is a Gullah term loosely translated as “work it” or “get funky,” takes a modern approach to the traditional sounds of Gullah music. Rooted in the cultural traditions passed down from West African slaves in the sea islands of South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina, Gullah culture encompasses a rich African-American heritage expressed through arts, crafts, cuisine and the creole influenced language of Gullah.

Ranky Tanky features a quintet of musicians including Ross on vocals and guitar, Quentin Baxter ’98 on drums, Kevin Hamilton ’95 on bass, Charlton Singleton on trumpet and vocals, and Quiana Parler on vocals. Ross, Baxter and Hamilton all majored in music at the College. Baxter also previously worked as adjunct faculty at CofC, teaching jazz percussion.

Congratulations to Ranky Tanky on this accomplishment.