The Charleston Symphony Orchestra enters the fall season with more cause for optimism than it's had in quite some time. They've found a new executive director, Janet Newcombe, who brings 25 years of experience with her to help keep the CSO afloat.
Another source of classical music in Chucktown is the College of Charleston, where the music department is fast becoming one to reckon with in the Southeast. Violinist Lee Chin Siow, cellist Natalia Khoma, and pianist Enrique Graf are all famous artists, and just last season they established a chamber music series at the college that rivals Spoleto's best.
With a brand-new season comes the opportunity for theatre companies to wipe away the memories of any previous disasters and dazzle their subscribers anew. Last year's season was full of delights and disappointments.
Take a look around the galleries in Charleston and you'll see what appears to be a thriving, active community. More galleries are opening every year, and miraculously, they're staying open.
Charleston Ballet Theatre's 20th anniversary is just like any birthday, says artistic director Jill Eathorne Bahr. It's a celebration of growing up but still looking good.
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If you ever get the chance to hear Michael Hanf play his vibraphone in an intimate, solo setting, you'll notice there's something more going on than just the cool, resounding harmonies of the thick, metal keys on his instrument. Along with the light squeak of his pedal, methodically dampening the keys that would otherwise vibrate for minutes, there's an audible sound from his mouth.
Brazilian-born singer, guitarist, and composer Duda Lucena is on a journey he embarked upon at the age of 12 when he began composing tunes on his first acoustic guitar. These days, he's stationed in Charleston and, fortunately for local world-music lovers, seems in no hurry to take the next step down the road.
The departure of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra's principal second violin Megan Holland and her husband, principal cello James Holland, left two pairs of big shoes to fill among the CSO's section leaders. Of the two, the only successor we're sure of right now is Alan Molina, who will fill the empty violin seat, making him the CSO's number two fiddler, after Concertmaster Yuriy Bekker.
For a guy who moved to Charleston only last year, Nat Jones has made quite an impression on the local theatre community. The artist, graphic designer, and copywriter got his foot in Charleston's stage door with Arsenic and Old Lace, part of the Footlight's 75th anniversary season.
Driving tests? Fashion nightmares?
Toby Singer is full of ideas and energy. The recent University of Michigan graduate is music director at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim synagogue, a member of piano rock band The Guilt Trips, and a composer.
It had to be sometime in the 1980s because we were still in school. Joss Innombre and I were barreling down I-75 in his 1979 Camaro Berlinetta (305-cid V8, baby!)
Situated on Summerville's sleepy Main Street in the historic James F. Dean Community Theatre, the Flowertown Players have always been an intensely community-oriented company. Local actors make up the cast in many of the shows, donors are listed on several pages in the back of shows' bulletins, reading like a who's who of Summerville residents, and the Players make sure to call up loyal subscribers when considering a new play that might offend.
"Fearless in her style," is how Brandy Sullivan of Theatre 99 sums up Jenny Pringle onstage. Fearlessness, of course, only goes so far without talent, experience, and dedication — so, luckily, Ms. Pringle packs those in abundance as well.
Whether you know it or not, you've probably seen Nathan Durfee's art around Charleston. It may have been within the pages of the City Paper or Charleston Magazine, or hanging on the walls of Theatre 99, Redux, or Modernisme.
When Allison Sprock moved from Atlanta to Charleston two and a half years ago, she had no money, no means of support, and no business starting a gallery. "I was told I'd never make it," she recalls, "because I wasn't selling what the tourists wanted."
"My sculptures aren't based solely on my social perspective," says Hawaii-born Ted Pickering. "I'm part Irish, German, English, and Blackfoot."
Richard Bryant has spent his summer surfing in Santa Monica, going to a few auditions, and dealing with life as a regular on a nationally-broadcast hit TV show. "I was discussed on The View," says the 23-year-old Bryant, who was raised in Charleston.
Ballet by day, cabaret by night: that's a schedule sure to keep a dancer on her toes. Stephanie Bussell and Danielle Forrestal were already accomplished ballerinas long before they came to Charleston.
Very few movie theaters let you sip on a bottle of Möet Chandon champagne from the concession stand while watching a Russian art house film. Thanks to Michael Furlinger, Charleston's own Terrace Theatre is now one of those few.
In the late '80s, when Charleston attorney Mario Inglese was a freshman at the College of Charleston, his English 101 teacher was a young writer named Bret Lott. "Nobody knew who he was," Inglese says.
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