|Issue 1.24 | Monday, Feb. 2, 2009 | Forward to your friends!|
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FEB. 2, 2009 -- It has been speculated by historians that 40 percent of all African slaves imported to North America came through what is know as Fort Moultrie. In July 1999, the General Assembly of South Carolina proclaimed spirituals as the official music of the state.
The Charleston Symphony Orchestra's Gospel Choir has formed a new vocal group known as the CSO Spiritual Ensemble that will focus on African-American spirituals. This 35-voice group will debut Saturday, Feb. 7 at 4 p.m. at Mount Zion AME Church in Charleston. Nathan L. Nelson, the director, will lead the group in a program titled "Spiritual Classics" that highlights the legacy of spirituals and their significance to the South Carolina Lowcountry.
The term "spiritual" is derived from spiritual song. The King James Bible referred to it as "speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." Spirituals were created out of the suffering and survival, pain and celebration, history and endurance, ingenuity and faith of Africans held in bondage on the Sea Islands who, without pay or acknowledgment, were a major force in the building of this country.
Negro spirituals (now termed African-American spirituals) are a musical form indigenous and specific to the religious experience of Africans transported from Africa to the United States, a result of the interaction of African religious elements with music and religion derived from Europe. This interaction occurred only in the United States. Interestingly, Africans who converted to Christianity in other parts of the world did not evolve this musical form.
The ensemble is an organic outcome of the CSO Gospel Choir's broad vocal talent that will honor the devout musical tradition that African-Americans formed as slaves and its relevant history in South Carolina.
For years I envisioned a smaller "ensemble" group and, along with our parent organization, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO), felt a spiritual ensemble would create greater opportunity to perform spiritual selections where a group the size of the CSO Gospel Choir would not be ideally suited. Mr. Nelson's experience working with many noted leaders of spiritual music has prepared him for his new role.
Because South Carolina's history is rooted in the development of this genre of music, I have been given approval by the CSO to formalize the ensemble as a separate and self-contained group. We will continue to partner with the CSO but will operate separately beginning next season. We hope the community will embrace this exciting experience indigenous to the state and its musical history.
FEB. 2, 2009 - - Instead of the Statehouse's political foes having land mammals as mascots - - donkeys for Democrats and elephants for Republicans - - a marine mammal realignment might be in the works.
State Sen. Phil Leventis, D-Sumter, wants the endangered northern right whale to become the state's official marine mammal. State Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston, wants that honor to go to the more common bottlenose dolphin.
So it's a smackdown that pits the Whales against the Dolphins.
On Jan. 14, Leventis introduced the right whale bill. Not to outdone, Campsen introduced his dolphin bill two weeks later.
Leventis filed his measure at the urging of students at Alice Drive Elementary School in Sumter where students have been learning about the northern right whale. Once the animals filled the ocean; now there are fewer than 400 left, Leventis said.
"They calve off the coast of South Carolina and they're definitely endangered," he said, nothing that man's overharvesting had diminished their numbers. "Man has been the undoing of the right whale.
"There are some things we need to do to protect the whale, not the least of which is slow the ships down coming into port [in Charleston] so they don't run over the doggone things."
Leventis was surprised this week that Campsen had introduced a competing bill to make the bottlenose dolphin become the state's official marine mammal.
"I don't doubt the idea of the bottlenose dolphin came about because somebody at the Ports Authority said we didn't want to do that," Leventis said.
Why would the Ports Authority care? Because giving recognition to the right whale might give a boost to efforts to change shipping channels or container ship patterns of entry into the port, which might hurt business.
When asked about Leventis' bill or whether it could impact commerce, State Ports Authority spokesman Byron Miller dodged questions. Instead, he pointed to the $1 million that the SPA is spending over five years to do aerial surveys of whale calving grounds. Later when notified that we had spoken to Campsen, Miller said the SPA supported the dolphin bill.
"There has been concern expressed by them," Campsen noted. "I think that concern may be a little overblown."
He said he introduced the dolphin measure because it was a common mammal that state residents actually have a chance of seeing frequently.
"If we're going to have a state mammal, I don't think it ought to be something that's an interloper," said Campsen, an avid seaman who added he'd only seen one pod of whales in his life. "I don't think the northern right whale, which is not endemic to South Carolina and almost no one will ever see, is an appropriate state mammal."
For Kevin Mills, head of the S.C. Aquarium in Charleston, having one official state mammal - - or even two - - would be great because it would help educate people about the sea.
In fact, he said the Aquarium would love to facilitate a statewide vote among school children to help them recommend the official state marine mammal to legislators.
"May every flipper be counted in the vote!" he joked.
For now, Campsen said his measure appeared to have bipartisan support. A Senate subcommittee this week delayed a decision on whether to move forward with Leventis' bill.
Leventis seems encouraged that a debate on the issue is ensuing. While not the most important legislation in Columbia today, it does matter, he said.
"So much of what we do in Columbia is substantive, but we also do symbolic things. The northern right whale is a symbol of the past that we have changed. Symbols are important too."
Donkeys and elephants: beware.
Andy Brack is publisher of CharlestonCurrents.com. He can be reached at: email@example.com
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. In this issue, we highlight the Joye Law Firm. Committed to fighting for the rights of the wrongly injured in South Carolina for more than 40 years, the experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyers of the Joye Law Firm want to help you get every dollar you truly deserve for the injuries you've suffered. Whether you've been injured in an auto accident, by a defective product, in a nursing home, or on the job, we may be able to help you. For more information, contact Joye Law Firm at 843.554.3100 or visit online at: http://www.joyelawfirm.com.
More than 400 College of Charleston students are expected to take part in the school's third annual dance marathon Feb. 6 to benefit the Children's Miracle Network at MUSC Children's Hospital. The marathon begins at 7 p.m. and will continue for 15 hours, with the fundraising grand total to be announced just before 10 a.m. Feb. 7.
The event will begin with an opening ceremony featuring patients, former patients and their families from the Children's Hospital. "Dance marathon is a great organization for students, faculty and the community to become involved," says Chelsey Rohler, the executive director of the event. "Students selflessly give their time and money to benefit children they have never met. This organization is a true testament to the students at The College of Charleston and how they are willing to help others in need."
Participants raise money through pledges, promising to dance all night in honor of kids who can't. All proceeds from the marathon will be used in the Lowcountry for local programs and research. In the past two years, the event has raised more than $60,000. For more information, contact Mallory Kowalczyk at 609-468-7964.
S.C. tax form check-off box supports state parks
South Carolinians can have a significant impact on their state parks this year when filing their state income tax returns. The S.C. State Park Service is encouraging citizens to "Check Off for State Parks" by designating any amount from $1 up to be used for state park improvements. Contributions will fund new trails, better programs and other visitor enhancements at South Carolina's 47 state parks.
"The majority of the 7 million annual visitors to South Carolina's state parks are South Carolina residents," says Chad Prosser, director of the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. "This program provides an easy way for these loyal park customers to support their state parks."
brought in more than $33,000 for the parks last year. Among the projects
the donations will support, Prosser says, are replacements for the viewing
platforms at Huntington Beach, trail improvements at Table Rock and
Unlike most state programs, the State Park Service receives only a small portion of its budget from state taxes. As a result, state parks depend on charitable contributions and park revenues for maintenance and improvements.
Center for Women to offer job, career programs this month
The Center for Women is planning several programs this month that are designed to help women maximize their career possibilities in the midst of a struggling economy.
A Career Transitions Group will meet for seven weeks and will focus on four major aspects of career development: self-exploration; identifying occupations that best fit one's interests, background and skills; researching potential jobs to learn about the demand in the current market as well as potential salaries and employers; and creating an action plan to accomplish goals.
Meetings will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. each Tuesday, Feb. 17 through March 31, at the S.C. Thrift and Resale Store, 1670 Highway 17 North (at Mathis Ferry Road), Mount Pleasant. The cost is $35 for Center for Women members, $70 for nonmembers.
On Feb. 28, the "You Can Do It" series focuses on getting a great job. Participants will learn how to position themselves in a highly competitive job market; identify their skills and strengths; find out what they're worth; prepare for the kinds of interview questions they might face; and evaluate pay, benefits and work environment.
The program will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 28 at the Center, 129 Cannon St. in Charleston, and costs $20 for CFW members or $40 for nonmembers.
Registration is required for both programs. To sign up or learn more about other CFW programs, click here. The Center for Women is a nonprofit partner of CharlestonCurrents.com.
Conference to focus on Lincoln, Civil War in America today
"Lincoln and the Civil War in Contemporary America" will be the topic for a conference this week at the Avery Research Center for African-American History and Culture. The College of Charleston's Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and the University of South Carolina are presenting the conference, which will take place Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 at the Avery Center's McKinley Washington Auditorium, 125 Bull St. All presentations are free.
A group of leading humanities scholars will lead discussions examining Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War as continuing presences in contemporary American culture, with "Obama, Lincoln and 2008" as the first presentation. The Halsey Institute has invited a number of visual artists to participate in sessions with the public audience, and to propose works for a forthcoming exhibition, "Present Tense: Vestiges of the Civil War," which is scheduled to open in April 2011 on the 150th anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter.
Andrew Keen examines the effect of the Internet on our culture in "The Cult of the Amateur." Whether you concur with his premise that the Internet is having a negative impact, all can understand the need to be cautious. I agree that just because something is online, it does not mean it is true. However, I am less quick to diminish the value of some contributors to the Web 2.0 realm. "The Cult of the Amateur" is a thought-provoking book that can spark a lively debate between adopters of Web 2.0 and those who have not quite embraced this new world order.
Shortly after establishing the colony of South Carolina in 1670, European settlers began trading manufactured goods for deerskins obtained by Native Americans. A leading economic activity during the colonial period, the skin trade provided an initial foothold along the frontier. Drawing Indians into the formative global economy of the period, the peltry trade was also a substantial source of social change that significantly restructured Native American culture.
In the late 1600s and early 1700s the deerskin trade comprised at least half of the colony's export revenue. By the 1740s deerskins were second among leading colonial exports, behind rice, and by the 1760s the peltry trade ranked third in economic value behind rice and indigo. In 1747 deerskins exported from the colony were worth 57,143 pounds sterling, and by 1769 their annual value had declined to 18,422 pounds sterling.
Charleston was the economic hub of the skin trade during the colonial period in South Carolina. Charleston merchants, supplied by factors in England, maintained trade links extending from North Carolina and Virginia along the Atlantic coast, to East Tennessee and Georgia, and as far west as modern Alabama and Mississippi along the Gulf coast. Factors in England provided Indian traders with trade goods that were transported into the South Carolina backcountry along trade paths and the major river systems. The trade goods were in turn used to stock Indian trading posts that were located along major transportation routes. Indian trading posts, such as George Galphin's at Silver Bluff on the Savannah River or Old Fort Congaree near present-day Columbia, were similar to frontier forts. Square or rectangular in shape, trading posts were often palisaded with wooden stockades and contained trade houses and residences.
At trading posts the Catawbas, Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws exchanged dressed deerskins for blankets, firearms, shot, gunpowder, cloth, axes, hoes, and brass kettles. In 1763 a pound of dressed deerskins was worth six shillings. The dressed skins, eventually used to make clothes, were packed in barrels by traders and shipped to England to supply the formative garment industry.
The deerskin trade encouraged settlement of the frontier, and yet it also had a deleterious effect on Native American groups. The peltry trade eroded Native American self-sufficiency and during the eighteenth century fostered material dependency on European trade goods. Further, unscrupulous traders advanced substantial credit to many Native American groups, which left them deeply in debt. As compensation for trade debt, Native Americans were eventually forced to cede lands to the colonial government. The Creeks and Cherokees in South Carolina relinquished millions of acres of tribal land in the early 1770s to pay their trade debts. By the third quarter of the eighteenth century, the deerskin trade had diminished in economic importance in South Carolina, although the peltry trade continued to be practiced on the edge of the frontier during the nineteenth century as settlement expanded across western North America.
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Fore! No, make that five -- five facts about golf in Charleston and South Carolina, that is.
"A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people's patience."
'Uptown in Downtown Charleston': Throughout February, Saul Alexander Gallery, Charleston County Library Main Branch, 68 Calhoun St. Watercolors by artist Andrea Hazel, a native Charlestonian, will focus on the neighborhood people, corner stores and small businesses that becoming harder to find in downtown Charleston. The paintings are part of an ongoing series that reflects Hazel's love for her hometown and the streets where locals live and hang out.
CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON
(NEW) Singles in the City Mixer: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 10, Tristan Restaurant, 55 S. Market St., Charleston. Singles in the City, a local social networking group for those age 35 and older, will hold a Valentine's mixer with cocktails, appetizers, socializing and party games. Cost: $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Tickets/details.
Southeastern Wildlife Exposition: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 13 and Feb. 14; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 15, downtown Charleston (eight venues). SEWE features 120 artists, lectures, Busch Wildlife shows, sporting outfitters, and conservation exhibits. In addition, the popular Dock Dogs competitions return, along with retriever demos, free flight shows by the Center for Birds of Prey, and children's activities. Tickets start at $10 & kids 10 and under are free. VIP packages available. More info/tickets: http://www.sewe.com or 723-1748.
CSO, CBT Collaboration: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14, Sottile Theatre, 44 George St., Charleston. The Charleston Ballet Theatre and Charleston Symphony Orchestra will offer a joint performance of three ballet masterworks underscored by works from a trio of celebrated composers. Tickets: $35-$45, available only through the CBT box office, 477 King St., by calling 723-7334 or ordering online.
Winter Golf Classic: Feb. 16, Wild Dunes Resort's Links and Harbor courses, Isle of Palms. Sponsored by Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, with 60 teams and plenty of chances to network. Following the event, there will be a Business After Hours at the Sweetgrass Pavilion. Sponsorships still available. Tournament cost: $650 per team, or $200 per individual. To register or learn more, click here. For sponsorship info: Laura Kate Whitney, 805-3113.
(NEW) Entertaining with Nathalie: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 16 through Feb. 20, Culinary Institute of Charleston, Palmer Campus, 66 Columbus St., Charleston. Join internationally known cookbook author and Charleston resident Nathalie Dupree for "Entertaining With Ease," a week's worth of classes on the art of entertaining, including recipes, ideas and tips for preparing ahead. Each day's class includes a brief talk and demo followed by hands-on cooking with Nathalie. The week concludes with dinner at Nathalie's Charleston home on Feb. 20 featuring the menu prepared that day. Cost: $899. Click here to register (it's course number is XPOC 657-501) or phone 574-6152.
An Evening in the Orient: 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 21, Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St., Charleston. Annual fundraiser sponsored by Friends and Needed Supporters (FANS) of the Charleston Museum. Far East food, culture and items from the museum's Asian collections are showcased. George Read of Sotheby's will preside at an auction, with items including vacations, jewelry, Charleston silver, a 100-person oyster roast, a quail hunt, and artwork by local artists. Tickets: $60 members, $70 nonmembers. To register: 722-2996, ext. 264, or http://www.CharlestonMuseum.org.
Chefs' Feast for Food Bank: 6:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 22, Embassy Suites Charleston Area Convention Center, North Charleston. 10th annual Chefs' Feast fundraiser for the Lowcountry Food Bank features approximately two dozen chefs from the area's top restaurants serving samples of their best dishes. More than 95 percent of proceeds support programs that fight childhood hunger, and all money raised stays in the community. Tickets: $150 per person, available online. Corporate and event sponsorships: Miriam Coombes, 747-8146, ext. 104, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(NEW) Penguins 'n' Pajamas Family Sleepover: 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. March 20, S.C. Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston. Sleep with the penguins at the aquarium on the night that the new Penguin Planet exhibit opens. Family sleepover will offer special chances to watch the penguins dive underwater, learn about penguin colonies and discover what makes them march. One adult required per two children attending the event. Reservations and advance payment required. Cost: $30 per member child, $40 per member adult; $40 and $50 for nonmember child and adult, respectively. Reservations: 577-3474. More info.
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