This month, musicians from the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Spiritual Ensemble will travel to Beaufort to share their creative process with high school students, and then release their joyful noises at a public concert at Battery Creek High. This arts-education celebration is a direct result of the ambitions of ARTworks, the community arts center in Beaufort, and executive director JW Rone.
“We’ve observed that there are racial, cultural and generational audience diversity issues which could be addressed through creative music-based projects,” commented Rone. “Our Bridging initiative is our way of addressing both youth education and audience diversity, of race and age, by enlisting prominent musicians to perform and teach in Beaufort County.”
This powerful outreach began in 2011 when ARTworks was contacted by the Arts Education Counselor of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) earlier this year to inform staff that ARTworks had been hand-selected for a non-competitive “Arts Education in American Communities” grant. The NEA soon approved ARTworks’ plan for the “Bridging Cultures & Generations through Music” initiative, supporting it with $10,000 from the NEA, to be matched by funds from the community.
The goals for the project are: to introduce students and the community to the musicians and their artforms; to inspire young musicians in our community regardless of race and socio-economic status; and to encourage audience diversity and assist in bridging cultural and generational divides.
The Charleston Symphony Orchestra Spiritual Ensemble will be in residency and in concert Saturday, October 20, at the Battery Creek High School Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. The ensemble’s residency will include two days of vocal music classes in Whale Branch Early College High School and Battery Creek High School. Their work will culminate in a community performance of “Circa 1871: An Ode to the Fisk University Jubilee Singers.”
Now in its fourth season, The ensemble strives to honor the devout musical tradition that African-Americans formed as slaves after arriving in this country and in particular its history in the Lowcountry.
General admission is $17; students & groups of 10 or more, $12; children under 12, $7. For more information call 843-379-2787, www.artworksinbeaufort.org. Battery Creek High School is located at 1 Blue Dolphin Drive, Beaufort, SC 29906.