Victoria Hansen

Forgiveness: Four Years After The Charleston Church Massacre

By Victoria Hansen

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Many remember where they were when they heard the news: nine people gunned down inside an historic African American church in Charleston at the hands of a stranger they welcomed to bible study. But few know the passage they read. Reporter Jennifer Berry Hawes does. "It's called the 'Parable of the Sower,'" she says.

Spoleto Festival USA Announces New Opera Based on the Life of a Slave

By Victoria Hansen

Portrait of "Uncle Moreau" elderly man seated wearingheadwrap, suit; left elbow rests on newel, cane in right hand

In the city where nearly half of all enslaved Africans were brought to this nation, Spoleto Festival USA will unveil a new opera based on the life of an African-Muslim slave.  His autobiography is believed to be the only surviving, unedited story written in Arabic in the United States.

Selecting the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra

By Victoria Hansen

Director and conductor John Kennedy with the Spoleto USA orchestra

 

 

 

They are sure signs of Spoleto in downtown Charleston; instrument toting musicians and scorching heat.  Among the jostling violin cases, is Shannon Fitzhenry.  She’s back for her second year with the annual Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, one of 92 musicians chosen to play.

“The goal is to get up in time to warm up before rehearsal,” she laughs.  The Charleston native grew up with Spoleto, but admits she didn't fully appreciate it until she  moved away to study music at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland.

Cuban Musicians Bring a Funky Beat to the Charleston Jazz Academy

By Victoria Hansen

Students at Charleston Jazz Institute take a master class as part of Spoleto community outreach program

Scribbling notes on a dry erase board just won't do.  So David Virelles plays them instead, on a piano.  The Cuban composer and pianist is teaching a masters class at the Charleston Jazz Academy in North Charleston, as part of the Spoleto arts festival's community outreach program.

In just a couple of hours, he's performing too.

"I hope the students walk away with what it takes to play music," Virelles says.  "It takes a lot of discipline, perseverance and love.  You have to be passionate about it and really spend time to be any good."

Spoleto Festival Hopes to Inspire Children through Music

By Victoria Hansen

Chamber Music musicians plays for kids at Sanders Clyde Elementary School in downtown Charleston

Chamber music and children may seem like an unusual combination.  But don't tell that to Geoff Nuttall.  The director of Spoleto’s Chamber Music Series works a room of fourth and fifth graders like the strings of his violin, with charisma and class.

“Music has been such a huge part of my life, said Nuttall.  “If there’s any way we can just open the ears and the eyes of a few of these kids it would be a great thing.”

Spoleto Festival Kicks Off with a Call for Unity through Art

By Victoria Hansen

Shakespeare's Globe performs at Spoleto's 2019 opening ceremony

As welcoming as the cannons and confetti, summer temperatures that would stretch into the 90s sizzled on the steps of Charleston’s city hall.  The 43rd annual Spoleto Festival opening ceremonies began on cue, with bells ringing, paper fans flapping and spectators  seeking shade beneath wide brimmed hats.

Roots Musik Karamu Celebrates 40 Years

By Victoria Hansen

Osei and his wife Saadeka at a Dragon Boat Race

When Osei Chandler’s wife Saadeka wanted to move from Brooklyn in 1977 closer to her home in Summerville,  SC, the now reggae music show host couldn’t say no.  He was smitten. “I remember the first time we met,” he said. “She was like six feet tall, with a mini skirt and afro. I was toast,” he laughs. Looking back, next to his marriage and kids, moving  was one of the best things he ever did.

Remembering a "One of a Kind Statesman"- The Funeral of Ernest "Fritz" Hollings

By Victoria Hansen

The C The U.S. flag is placed over the casket at the completion of the funeral for former SC Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings

It was one of those rare Charleston days with no humidity, only blue skies and a slight  breeze.  Rare indeed, like the Charleston native being remembered as a, “one of a kind statesman”.

The funeral of former South Carolina governor and six term U.S. Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings brought him back, near the neighborhood where he grew up and the school he held so dear, his Alma mater, The Citadel.

“He talked about The Citadel like it was in a literal sense, his citadel,” said former Vice President Joe Biden.  It meant, “Everything to him.”

Pondering Plastic - Wildlife, Bans and Trash

By Victoria Hansen

Dr. John Weinstein studies microplastics at the Citadel

He weighs less than five pounds, but Zazu had big belly problems when he was rescued off the Isle of Palms coast nearly three months ago.  The tiny, green sea turtle had eaten plastic, all kinds of plastic; part of a balloon, clear sheets of plastic and material from a grocery bag. 

The juvenile  turtle is the 23rd patient admitted to the South Carolina Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital because of sea debris.  He swims in a private tank next to 17 others now in recovery, including a 260 pound loggerhead named Voldemort who got caught up in crab traps nearly a year ago.

International African American Museum President Finds Strength in the Past

By Victoria Hansen

CEO and president Michael Moore (center) and the IAAM team

For as long as he can remember, Michael Boulware Moore has known the story of Robert Smalls;  a slave who not only gained his freedom by commandeering a Confederate ship and turning it over to Union forces, but later served in the South Carolina State Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Moore didn’t read about Smalls in school. Such bravery by slaves during the Civil War wasn’t always taught.  Instead, he grew up hearing personal stories from relatives like his grandmother.  Robert Smalls was his great-great grandfather.

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