Tuning Up: Creative Placemaking, Gullah Geechee in Philadelphia, more
"Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers 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'll be hearing more from us about this, but we have to start somewhere. South Arts is presenting the "Beyond Big Cities" Southern Creative Placemaking Conference in Chattanooga, Tenn. next month. This is the place to be for civic/arts leaders interesting in leveraging the creative assets in rural communities and small towns to attract and retain residents, creatives and businesses, and bring visitors to experience the unique nature of your place.
- The Gullah Geechee remain in the spotlight, this time as Aunt Pearlie Sue and the Gullah Kinfolk take the story of Gullah Geechees to the City of Brotherly Love for a free performance at Villanova University. The performance will recognize the important link between Philadelphia and the Sea Islands of S.C. during slavery and Reconstruction. Group leader Anita Singleton-Prather is a Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award winner and an acclaimed musician, storyteller, and actress.
- Verner Award recipients Jonathan Green (2010) and William Starrett (2002) rekindle a collaboration that took Green's paintings (right) Off the Wall and Onto the Stage with Columbia City Ballet when they reprise the critically acclaimed ballet at Township Auditorium in Columbia this Friday and in Charleston Saturday, March 3.
- And finally, a hearty congratulations to Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz for receiving the Buck Mikel Leadership Award from the Greenville Chamber of Commerce.
McKissick Museum to host free symposium: Shared Traditions: Sacred Music in the South
The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum will host the music symposium Shared Traditions: Sacred Music in the South Feb. 26 -27, 2016, in Columbia, S.C. The program will feature live performances, a panel session, presentations, and music workshops. All Shared Traditions programs are free and open to the public. The event is co-sponsored by the USC School of Music and Brookland Baptist Church.
Shared Traditions will start with a meet-and-greet with Gullah storyteller Anita Singleton-Prather at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26 at McKissick Museum on USC’s historic horseshoe. Singleton-Prather, a recipient of the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, is a singer, actress, and the director and producer of Broadway Back In Da' Woods Productions, a full-stage musical theater experience featuring the performance group The Gullah Kinfolk.
Friday evening will include a presentation at 6:30 p.m. by Dr. Eric Crawford on the topic of African-American spirituals in the South Carolina Sea Islands. Held at Johnson Hall at the Darla Moore School of Business on the USC campus, the talk will lead into a live performance of Circle Unbroken: A Gullah Journey from Africa to America by Singleton-Prather and The Gullah Kinfolk at 7 p.m.
Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia will host all program events on Saturday, Feb. 27. The day will begin with a panel presentation titled “Vocal Godliness: Gospel in Black and White” and will feature current research by graduate students from Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Following this session, Dr. Minuette Floyd will present on the topic of the music of the African-American camp meeting.
The keynote speaker, ethnomusicologist Dr. Cynthia Schmidt, will screen the award-winning documentary, The Language You Cry In, which tells the investigative story of discovering the significance of a Gullah song sung in the Mende language of Sierra Leone. Beginning with Dr. Lorenzo Turner’s research in South Carolina in the 1920s, the song becomes more layered in meaning through time on both sides of the Atlantic. Dr. Schmidt will share an update on her research and host a Q&A with the audience.
Following the keynote address, conference participants will have the opportunity to attend three music workshops focusing on shape-note and hymn-raising traditions. Led by practitioners and choir leaders, these workshops will provide the opportunity to learn about the history of these traditions and the chance to participate in fellowship and song. Saturday’s program will conclude with an evening concert, highlighting the songs and styles learned during the workshops.
A complete schedule is available on McKissick Museum's website. For more information, call Saddler Taylor at (803) 777-3714.
This program is funded in part by the Humanities CouncilSC and the South Carolina Arts Commission.
Image: The Gullah Kinfolk