Victoria Hansen

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.”

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.”

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