As Spoleto ages, so too do its organizers and luminaries, like Joseph Flummerfelt. Thursday night’s party was a grand send-off to the man who spent more than 30 years as Spoleto’s Director of Choral Activities.
Tropical Storm Andrea’s rains ruined the Spoleto courtyard on George Street and forced the party into a ballroom at the Francis Marion Hotel. Small bites were catered by Salthouse and included hits like the Carolina crab cakes as well as misses like the pimento sandwiches in linzer style with centers of red pepper jelly.
Guests mingled for a moment until Spoleto Director Nigel Redden took to the podium, giving a speech lauding how important Joseph Flummerfelt has been to the festival. He read a letter of thanks from the mayor of Spoleto, Italy and presented Flummerfelt with an engraved silver tray. Upon accepting the gift, Flummerfelt thanked Redden. “Nigel and I have a really long and deep history. We wouldn’t be here without his leadership because there were some difficult years. It means a lot to have this come from him.” He added, before relinquishing the microphone, “Let's just have a party!”
Guests crowded around Flummerfelt for the remainder of the party, a mix of patrons, fans, and former students from the Westminster Choir College. Mayor Joseph Riley exchanged pleasantries before making his way to the exit. Jennifer Check, the soprano soloist of the evening’s performance, was among those sharing praise. “He’s a very special man. He’s responsible for the musician that I am today.” Performers Will Berman, Madeline Apple Healey and Michael Bennet, who sang Verdi's Requiem, confided that among their recent touring stops, Charleston has been their favorite destination. A chat with Spoleto staffers revealed that although Tropical Storm Andrea had rained out a few outdoor performances, the weather was a manageable challenge.