College of Charleston School of the Arts to Receive Prestigious Verner Award

The College of Charleston School of the Arts is proud to be a recipient of the South Carolina Arts Commission’s 2015 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts, which recognizes outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina.

The School’s Dean, Valerie Morris, expresses, “It is an honor that our school has been recognized for its dedicated artist-scholars, tremendous academic programming, and extensive community outreach – through its bustling schedule of cultural events and its community partnerships. As we celebrate the School’s 25th anniversary, this award is a testament to the positive growth and direction that we’ve strived to achieve.”

Read more about the School’s achievements.

“South Carolina’s quality of life, education and economy are enhanced tremendously by those who dedicate their work and lives to the arts,” said S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz. “The Verner Awards recognize that service of commitment and passion. We are honored again this year to present the awards to a most worthy group of organizations and individuals. We are grateful for their contributions to our state.”

Awardees will be honored at a Statehouse ceremony on Wednesday, May 13. The complete list of recipients are:

About the S.C. Arts Commission

The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants and leadership initiatives in three areas: arts education, community arts development and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit or call (803) 734-8696.

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CofC Theatre: Home on the Mornin’ Train

The Department of Theatre and Dance in the College of Charleston School of the Arts will present Kim Hines’ moving drama, Home on the Mornin’ Train.

The kindness of strangers amidst great danger has kept the Underground Railroad alive to this day. In this play, the audience sees the freedom train in action as two stories unfold a hundred years apart. In 1939 as World War II begins, young Jews escaping Germany find inspiration in a book about the journey of young slaves escaping the South, in 1839. Intertwined in their stories are beautiful African American and Jewish songs that speak to a legacy of hope through the ages. Their stories stand as a testament to the unimaginable courage to reach out and help no matter one’s color, one’s beliefs or one’s station in life.

Director and Music Director of the production, Laura Turner, describes the drama, stating, “ Unlike most scripts dealing with Slavery or the Holocaust, this play chooses to focus on the brave work done by those willing to risk their lives for freedom. Instead of dwelling on the horrible circumstances of the characters’ situations, this play’s uplifting music and surprising moments of humor, takes the audience on a journey of hope.”

DETAILS: The production will take place Thursday, March 12 through Sunday, March 15 with a second run from Wednesday, March 18 through Sunday, March 22. The performances will take place at the Chapel Theatre, 172 Calhoun St. Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m, except the Sunday shows, which will take place at 3:00 p.m. only. The performances on Saturday, March 14 and Saturday, March 21 will take place at both 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for College of Charleston students, faculty/staff, and senior citizens. Tickets can be purchased online at, or by email or phone (843) 953-5604.

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CofC Vocal Virtuosos in Concert

The 2nd Monday Series at the College of Charleston School of the Arts will present a concert featuring virtuoso singers on March 9. Professors from the College’s bustling music department will perform an array of works: Scotch Songs by Ludwig van Beethoven, “Soliloquoy” from Carousel by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Johannes Brahms Vier Duette, Op. 61, the hilarious Act II “Poison scene” from Cosi fan tutte by W.A. Mozart, and also the U.S. premiere of Garden Songs composed by faculty composer Edward Hart.

The performers will include sopranos Deanna McBroom, Amanda Castellone and Anna Steenerson-Young; tenor Robert Taylor; baritones David Templeton and Art Bumgardner; pianist Robin Zemp; violinist Yuriy Bekker; and cellist Natalia Khoma. Each artist-scholar carries an impressive range of performance and teaching experience; the concert offers a unique opportunity for students and the public to see them perform on stage together. McBroom will also be joined on the Hart duets by mezzo Helen Tintes-Schuermann, from Vienna, Austria.

DETAILS: The Monday, March 9 performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Recital Hall in the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St. General admission is $15 and $10 for all students. Tickets can be purchased by email, by phone (843) 953-6575, or at the door.

CofC Concerts




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A Little Romance

The 2nd Monday Series at the College of Charleston School of the Arts will host its sister series, Charleston Music Fest, for a night of intimate chamber music on February 9. Faculty duo and graduates of the prestigious Moscow Conservatory, Natalia Khoma (cello) and Volodymyr Vynnytsky (piano), will present a romantic concert of Robert Schumann’s Fantasy pieces for cello and piano, Op. 73, Mykola Lysenko’s Elegy “Sorrow” for cello and piano, Franz Schubert’s Sonata Arpeggione D821 in A minor for cello and piano, Frederic Chopin’s Ballade in A flat Major No. 3, Op. 47 for piano, and more.

The Khoma-Vynnytsky Duo is a unique team of virtuoso soloists from the same city and with a similar background. Both were born in Lviv, Ukraine, studied at the Moscow Conservatory, and won distinguished International Competitions. Each artist has a prestigious career as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. Khoma and Vynnytsky have appeared individually and as a duo with major orchestras and premier chamber music series throughout the United States and Europe.

Watch a video of Khoma and Vynnytsky in concert.

DETAILS: Charleston Music Fest presents intimate chamber music concerts featuring College of Charleston faculty, and local and international artists. The Monday, February 9 performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Recital Hall in the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St. General admission is $15 and $10 for all students. Tickets can be purchased by email, by phone (843) 953-6575, or at the door. 

The concert is dedicated to the memory of Dottie Rhett, who was a marvelous pianist and devoted music patron of the College of Charleston School of the Arts.

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IN THE MIX Music Industry Series Continues

IN THE MIX returns to the College of Charleston with three new sessions this spring. The monthly music series connects College of Charleston students and the public to music industry leaders through discussions on different industry topics. Arts Management adjunct instructor Mark Bryan will moderate the discussions. (See time/date/venue info in image below.)

Presented by the Arts Management Program in the College of Charleston School of the Arts, the sessions will be free and open to students, staff and the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

The topic for the first session on Monday, February 16 is “Synchronization Licensing” and includes guest speakers Marianne Goode and arts management alumna Emma Rose Isley, both from All Media Music Group in Los Angeles. Speakers for the remaining two sessions will be announced closer to each event date.

Watch a video of last year’s inaugural IN THE MIX session with Darius Rucker and Cary Ann Hearst ’01.


Since spring of 2014, IN THE MIX has already connected over 500 students, musicians, music professionals, and alumni to music industry professionals and even a few moguls. The first season’s highlights included Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish and Cary Ann Hearst of Shovels & Rope, Frank Rogers, Producer of Darius Rucker and founder of Sea Gayle Music, Dan Hannon, Producer of Manchester Orchestra, Duda Lucena of Borboleta Audio Mastering, Jerrod Wilkins, Manager of Duncan Sheik and NY Dolls at Gold Mountain Entertainment, Dolph Ramseur, Manager of Avett Brothers and Carolina Chocolate Drops at Ramseur Records, Luke Lewis, Former CEO of Universal Music Group and Founder of Lost Highway RecordsMike Doernberg, CEO and co-founder of ReverbNation and John Simson Former Executive Director of SoundExchange.

Successful musician and Music Industry Advancement Leader at the College of Charleston, Mark Bryan, expresses his excitement for the series: “Charleston is right on the edge of becoming a music center with all its talent and infrastructure. This series is a great way to provide our students and local musicians with unprecedented insight into various aspects of the music industry.”

As of Fall 2014, the College’s arts management majors who are aspiring musicians or interested in music management, can pursue a music industry concentration. Courses include Introduction to the Music Industry, Legal Aspects of the Entertainment Industry, Music in the Marketplace, and more. For information visit or call (843) 953-6301.

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Pianist Stephen Beus to Perform

The International Piano Series at the College of Charleston School of the Arts will present a performance by celebrated pianist Stephen Beus on Tuesday, Feb. 3.

Within a span of four months, Beus won first prize in the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, first place in the Vendome Prize International Competition (Lisbon) and received the Max I. Allen Fellowship of the American Pianists Association (Indianapolis).

Born and raised on a farm in eastern Washington, Beus began lessons at age five and made his orchestral debut four years later. He went on to win numerous national and international competitions throughout his youth, capturing the attention of both audiences and critics. Commenting on Beus’ competition success, Fanfare magazine writes: “In some ways Beus doesn’t fit the mold of the typical competition winner. His playing is strikingly original and, despite his youth, he has an interpretive voice all his own… Above all, his playing is so natural as to seem effortless and the sound he produces has extraordinary richness and depth, not quite like anyone else’s.” [Learn more about Beus.]

Watch videos of Beus in performance.

DETAILS:  The concert is generously sponsored by the Remington Master Artist Series and will take place on Tuesday, February 3 at 7:30 p.m., in the Sottile Theatre, 44 George St. General admission is $20 and free for students. Tickets may be purchased online, at the door, or by calling (843) 953-6575. 

The program is scheduled to include Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 903 by J.S. Bach; Les cloches de Geneve from Annees de Pelerinage Bk. 1 by Franz Liszt; Variations on a Theme of Bach “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen” by Liszt; Fur Alina by Arvo Pärt; Grand Etude No. 7 “The Flight Over the Ocean” by Ronn Yedidia; Prelude in G Major, Op. 32 No. 5 by Sergei Rachmaninov; and Sonata tragica, Op. 39 No. 5 by Nikolai Medtner.

Beus also will offer a master class, free and open to the public, on Wednesday, February 4, at 10 a.m., at the Recital Hall in the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St. 

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CofC Theatre to Stage Eccentric Comedy

The Department of Theatre and Dance in the College of Charleston School of the Arts will present Noel Coward’s bizarre comic play, Blithe Spirit.

The story centers on socialite and novelist, Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric clairvoyant and medium, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance. Condomine hopes the séance will help him gather new material for his next book, however the idea backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his first wife, Elvira. Elvira vies with the novelist’s second wife, Ruth, for attention and tries to disrupt their marriage. Blithe Spirit combines sparkling dialogue, an out-of-this-world medium, and the oddest of love triangles in a witty, slightly deranged romp.

The play was first seen in London’s West End in 1941, creating a new long-run record for non-musical British plays of 1,997 performances. It also did well on Broadway later that year, running for 657 performances. Coward adapted the play into a movie production in 1945, starring Rex Harrison, and directed a musical adaptation, “High Spirits,” on Broadway in 1964. It was also adapted for television in the 1950s and 1960s and for radio. And now, College of Charleston theatre professor Evan Parry is directing theatre students in his own rendition of this classic comedy.

Parry describes the play as “incredibly funny, frothy yet intelligent, with jokes to please the most varied audience: silly sight gags, acerbic commentary on marriage and gender roles, and brilliant wordplay.”

College of Charleston Theatre and Dance students comprise the cast: Peter Braxton Spearman as Charles, Ashley Gennarelli as Ruth, Caroline Connell as Elvira, Jessi Vickers as Madame Arcati, Cameron Tubbs and Leah Anderson as Dr. and Mrs. Bradman, and Julia Marks as Edith.

The design and production staff for “Blithe Spirit” includes students William Klein (Scenic Designer), Tessa Silvernale (Costume Designer), as well as Corazon Stegelin (Stage Manager).

DETAILS:  The production will take place from Thursday, February 12 through Tuesday, February 17 at the Emmett Robinson Theatre, housed within the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St. Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m, except the show on Sunday, February 15, which will take place at 3:00 p.m. only. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for College of Charleston students, faculty/staff, and senior citizens.

Tickets can be purchased by calling (843) 953-5604 or online. Half-season subscriptions are available.

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CofC Opera Presents Double Bill of One Acts

CofC OperaDavid Templeton, Associate Professor of Voice/Opera, directs two one-act operas featuring talented voice majors from the College’s Department of Music. He describes the event as “a very powerful production ranging from the uproarious comedy of ‘The Old Maid and the Thief’ to the gripping sorrow of ‘Suor Angelica.’”

Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Old Maid and the Thief” is a twisted tale of morals and evil womanly power. A handsome beggar takes up lodging in the home of a middle-aged spinster and her young servant. Infatuation overcomes the women, which begins a series of questionable decisions. Commissioned by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), the opera was among the first written specifically for the radio and premiered in 1939.

Giacomo Puccini’s “Suor Angelica,” translated as “Sister Angelica,” is a one-act opera that is part of the trio of operas known as trittico or Triptych. The story begins with scenes depicting typical life in the convent, yet takes a quick shift after the nuns begin to discuss their greatest desires.

The production will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 30 and at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 1 at the Recital Hall in the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 St. Philip St. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for College of Charleston students. Tickets will be available at the door (cash and checks only). Tickets also can be purchased online. For more information, visit

CofC Concerts

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Arts Abound | Spring 2015 Events Calendar

springartsimageA New Year’s Resolution to try something new? Or to add more personal time to your busy schedule?

With events ranging from fully-staged, professional theatre productions to scholarly lectures on historic preservation, the School of the Arts offers numerous public arts experiences for well-seasoned patrons and curious novices alike. Throughout the academic year, the school presents a robust season of CofC Concerts, theatre + dance performances, studio art lectures, art history lectures, arts management sessions on navigating the music industry, plus the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art’s unique exhibitions, lectures and films.

View our spring arts calendar for a listing of this semester’s arts opportunities. Additional events are added as the semester progresses, so be social with the School of the Arts for the latest news.


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Revel in Renaissance Music and Feast with the Madrigal Singers

Madrigal SingersThe Department of Music in the College of Charleston School of the Arts will present the 2014 “A Yuletide Madrigal Feast,” on Thursday, Dec. 4, Friday, Dec. 5, and Saturday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m., in the Alumni Memorial Hall of Randolph Hall on the College of Charleston campus, 66 George St.

The award-winning College of Charleston Madrigal Singers, conducted by Dr. Robert Taylor, will perform sacred and secular traditional holiday season carols, such as “Coventry Carol,” “Once in Royal David’s City” and “Carol of the Bells.” Each of the three evenings will be filled with Renaissance entertainment and a feast fit for royalty. The Renaissance menu will include Cornish hen, haricot vert, wild rice, apple caramel tart, coffee and wine. Wassail will also be served.

Watch a video of prior Madrigal Feasts!

Tickets are $70 for preferred seating, $60 for general admission and $40 for College of Charleston faculty and staff, sold in advance until two days prior to each performance. Seating is limited, and tickets will not be sold at the door. Purchase tickets ONLINE or make reservations, (843) 953-8231.

The College of Charleston Madrigal Singers is an auditioned ensemble made up of students from the College’s Concert Choir that specializes in chamber music ranging from the Renaissance to the present. The Madrigal Singers are perhaps best known for their annual Yuletide Madrigal Feast and are also annually featured on the Early Music Series and the Young Artists Series in the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. They also frequently have performed and toured with Steve Rosenberg and Charleston Pro Musica, and they function as the community outreach arm of the choral program, performing for various civic functions and charitable organizations.

Robert Taylor, Director of Choral Activities at the College, is also director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Singers, and the professional choir-in-residence at the College of Charleston – the Taylor Festival Choir. He holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from Louisiana State University and is an experienced soloist, having sung leading tenor roles in a variety of operas, oratorios and musicals.

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