Victoria Hansen

Charleston Artist Honors Our Nation's Veterans

By Victoria Hansen

"Bunker" depicts homeless veteran Dennis of California as if he is surrounded by gunfire.

Charleston artist Mary Whyte secretly scoured the country painting portraits for seven years as part of her latest project, "We the People".  Her ambition is as extraordinary as her subjects; our nation's veterans. "I really believe our truest Americans really are our veterans," says Whyte.

Protecting Gullah Culture

By Victoria Hansen

Nakia Wigfall coils a sweetgrass basket at her Mount Pleasant home.

Nearly two hours south of Charleston, over Beaufort's Woods Memorial Bridge, South Carolina's Sea Islands stretch out adorned with palms trees and pines, and grassy marshes that glitter at twilight.

How Hurricane Hugo Shaped the Life of an Emergency Managment Director

By Victoria Hansen

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There's a brief lull in the heavy rain that's hit Charleston as Hurricane Dorian lingers off the coast.  The city's Emergency Managment Director Shannon Scaff takes a deep breath.  He's about to interview live, nationally with The Weather Channel.  He's also relieved.  The storm isn't over yet and already he knows it could have been much worse. "We got lucky with the tides," he tells the reporter.

Charleston Prepares for Possible Record Flooding from Hurricane Dorian

By Victoria Hansen

The corner of Water Street and East Bay along the Battery in downtown Charleston.  The area is known for flooding.

Charleston city officials say they're ready for whatever Hurricane Dorian brings our way.  But what about the people who decided to stay?  Many were still checking out the winds and waves along the historic city's battery wall late Wednesday, just hours before the storm's anticpated arrival.  An evacuation order for the entire coast has been in place since Monday.

Sister Cities: The Connection between Charleston and Freetown, Sierra Leone

By Victoria Hansen

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Dressed in a brightly colored, patterned dress and wearing stylishly large, black rimmed glasses, 51 year-old Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr flashes the most fantastic smile. The mayor of Freetown, Seirra Leone in West Africa has travelled more than 4,000 miles to visit Charleston and South Carolina's Sea Islands. She must be exhausted. Yet she glows with warmth and enthusiasm.

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. "It's a story where Jesus talks about what happens when you throw seeds of faith onto different types of terrain."

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.”

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