Inaugural Gala Celebration planned

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The Gullah Cultural Alliance, which sponsors the annual Gullah Festival and other historical and cultural projects, will hold an Inaugural Gala Celebration Monday, January 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn, Beaufort.

The black tie event coincides with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and with President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremonies. In addition to wide-screen viewing of celebrations in Washington, D.C., there will be heavy hors d’oeuvres, live entertainment by members of the Savannah Jazz Hall of Fame, Anita Prather, Scott Gibbs and other performers. Organizers will also present awards for community leadership to deserving citizens.

Ticket prices range from $55 to $65 per person. Tables of ten are available at a discounted group rate. The money raised from ticket sales will support the alliance’s educational and cultural preservation projects, the Disabled Veterans, Chapter 12, and the Beaufort Alliance of Mental Illness.

Alliance President Charlotte Pazant Brown, daughter of the group’s founder, the late Rosalie Frazier Pazant, said new projects are in the works. “We have some exciting plans for 2013. They include a new black inventor’s museum which we will reveal more about later in the year. My mother acquired several artifacts that compose a valuable collection and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to share them with the world — especially with our children. The museum will give us the opportunity to disclose more about the contributions of African Americans to society as a whole.”

Brown said the alliance recently reviewed its by-laws with the intention of strengthening its mission. “We must lead by example. We are about education and furthering leadership in our community. However, the Gullah Festival grew so quickly that it took on a life of its own. We had no choice but to continue it because of the huge international demand from people who wanted to come to this lovely part of the world to find out more about their history and culture.

“We want to continue the festival, but we also want to redirect our focus on our priorities of public education regarding Gullah culture and history and encouraging community leadership,” Brown said.

Tickets for the gala may be purchased by contacting the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce at 843-986-1102 or www.bcbcc.org, The Beaufort Visitor’s Center, Andy’s Secrets, or the Gullah Festival organization at 843-525-0628 or www.gullahfestival.net.

The Brandyfoot Award

Musician William Bradford Frazier was known by friends and family as “Brandyfoot.” The nickname derived from Frazier’s middle name and reflected his smooth bass vocals and polished performance style. Frazier was born in 1895 on Hilton Head Island.  He was the father of Rosalie Pazant, founder of the Gullah Festival. He was a performer and music teacher revered for his pride in showmanship and for his example of artistic excellence.

Granddaughter Charlotte Pazant Brown said Frazier was a vibrant entertainer. “He was in the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, D.C. in the early 1930’s with his band when John Phillip Souza watched him perform.”

Brown is president of The Gullah Cultural Alliance which has named an award for community leadership after Frazier. The group will present The Brandyfoot Award at an Inaugural Gala Celebration on Monday, January 21, 2013 at Beaufort’s Holiday Inn.