We ask the same 10 questions to very different members of Charleston’s diverse community. This week, we chat with local jazz musician Charlton Singleton.
If you keep with the local cultural scene, you may recognize Charlton Singleton. One of the Holy City’s treasures, he’s the bandleader of Charleston Jazz Orchestra and Artist in Residence at the Charleston Gaillard Center — among many other things. We recently had the opportunity to get a little more acquainted with the prolific musician as part of our new ‘10 Questions With’ series, a profile series featuring interviews with intriguing members of the local community. We hope you enjoy!
If you’re not from Charleston originally, where are you from and when did you relocate here?
I am from Awendaw. I tell people that all of the time that Awendaw is about 14 miles going north of Charleston on Hwy 17. You will pass through it on your way to McClellanville, Georgetown, Myrtle Beach.
Did you go to college, and if so, where?
Yes! I graduated from South Carolina State University in 1994 with a BA Music Performance. Being at SC State was the best time of my life.
Occupation, employer, and what your role entails.
The short answer is that I am a Musician/Entertainer…
I am self-employed as a freelancing musician. I perform, compose, arrange, record…
I am the Artist In Residence at the Gaillard Center. This position allows me to go out to schools in the Tri-County area and be a resource to students and teachers. I talk with students in grades K-12 (and some in college) about everything from our rich history of music here in the Lowcountry to the many different careers in music.
I am the Artistic Director/Bandleader of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra. We have been around for eight years now and we have had tremendous support from the community. We have a season of shows with season ticket holders. All of the shows have a theme, and we perform in the historic Charleston Music Hall.
I am the organist and choir director at St. Patrick Catholic Church, which is located Downtown. I have been playing there since 1995 (although I was away touring for about four years and then came back). My first performance was at my dad’s church, Mt. Zion AME Church in Davis Station, SC. With that said, I am EXTREMELY comfortable at church.
How does your company and/or your role affect the community.
Hmmm…I like to think of myself as just an entertainer. However, I also like to educate and enlighten as many people as I can. My wife will tell you that I’m just a big ham! LOL. I love it. I love to talk. I love to perform. I hope that people in the community feel good after hearing or seeing me do those things.
Favorite part of your job?
Making people feel good. It’s just that simple. I think that I have succeeded if they leave and are humming a tune, or pondering about something I said that may have been new and/or intriguing to them. The best way of knowing if I was good or not is if they invite me back or come back to see/hear me again.
What area of Charleston do you live in and why do you love it?
I actually live in North Charleston. My part of the city is actually pretty quiet. I live close enough to downtown so that it is not so bad to go to “work,” and I live far enough from downtown that it is quiet. This is how I grew up (living in Awendaw), so it is perfect.
Who’s your most-loved local venue/cultural excursion and why? (Some examples are: rock shows at the Tin Roof, the symphony, Second Sunday, First Friday art walk, Terrace theater, Charleston Museum, PURE Theater shows, anything at Charleston Music Hall, etc)
That’s a tough question. There are many venues that I have had the good fortune to have played in. The NEW Gaillard Center…The Pour House…playing at the Music Farm back in the day with my ska band, SKWZBXX (say “squeeze box”), the intimacy of The Mezz on King St. with my small group…the Charleston Music Hall has been the venue that I have performed in most as of lately. Between the Charleston Jazz Orchestra shows and the Prince Tribute shows that my funk band have done recently at the Charleston Music Hall, they have been some of the most memorable performances that I have been a part of. I almost feel as if that is my private place, but…THERE GOES THE HAM IN ME! LOL!
What’s your go-to local dining or takeout spot, and what do you like to order?
Too many places to name. My wife and I go out to eat quite a bit. However, I do like to order sushi from Shi Ki on E. Bay St. I always get two Super Crunch Rolls, House Special Roll, Seaweed Salad, and Miso Soup. The owner will tease me whenever I order or come in without Mrs. Singleton. She will sometimes just ask, “Does Mrs. Singleton know that you are eating sushi without her…?” LOL.
Favorite Charleston day-trip destination?
That’s a tough question. As much of a ham and public person as I am or try to be, when it is time to work, I equally enjoy just relaxing at home. We occasionally get to go to the Farmer’s Market, and it’s nice to walk around. We like walking on the bridge or going out to just sit and/or swing at the Waterfront Park Downtown or the park underneath the Ravenel Bridge on the Mt. Pleasant side.
If you could live anywhere in the world, other than the Lowcountry, where would that be?
That’s ANOTHER tough question. I would choose someplace that is in good driving distance or easy public transportation to a large city with a strong arts community. San Francisco has always seemed to appeal to me. I’ve only been there once, and it was an extremely short visit. Hopefully I will get back there someday soon.
There are so many ways to bring in the holiday season throughout Charleston, but here are a few holiday celebrations going on in the area for 2016. From jazz to a cruise to the hood’s own inaugural holiday fest, there’s plenty to do without traveling far if you’re one of the many who call Charleston home. Happy holidays, and enjoy!
James Island County Park’s Festival of Lights
This one’s a no-brainer, but if you haven’t gotten in on probably the most popular Charleston tradition, here’s what you need to know. The Festival of Lights is magical, and everyone should witness it. Even with traffic, the drive through doesn’t take more than half an hour at most — and that’s driving slowly so you can see it all. It’s $20 per car, so load it up! If you go Mon-Thurs, it’s only $15/car with a canned food donation. Be sure to park your car in one of the three lots and walk around the lit paths and to the winter wonderland (near lot A), where you’ll see everything from Santa to sand art and have the opportunity to roast marshmallows — oh yes: don’t forget to pack the marshmallows!
Charleston Sleigh Ride
This unique tour embarks at West Ashley’s Ripley Light Marina but its travels are predominantly on the Ashley River through James Island’s Intracoastal Waterway, where they say you’ll have a good chance of viewing holiday lights! The cruise is nearly two hours long and is spent listening to Christmas music and stories about Charleston’s most storied holiday traditions. There’ll be plenty of hot chocolate to go around, but guests are also welcome to bring their own cooler full of drinks — and yes, that means adult beverages, too. This has been a tradition of Pegasus Charters for eight years and counting, and it’s the perfect way to ring in the season — Charleston style. Dates run from Dec. 9 until Dec. 26.
The Pour House’s Christmas Party with the Hungry Monks
If you want to relax and have a chill celebration outside on the laid-back deck of one of Charleston’s best music venues, head to the Pour House on Thurs. Dec. 22 for the Hungry Monks’ Christmas Party. Doors open at 4 p.m., so you can grab some grub from their onsite food truck before the music starts at 6:30 p.m. The Hungry Monks features the guys who run the music school of the same name in West Ashley and have been playing their genius blend of folk, jam, Celtic, and bluegrass tunes for many years. Oh, and children and dogs are also welcome.
It’s just not Christmas without a viewing of White Christmas, the classic from 1954. It’s hard to imagine the Christmas season even existing prior to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.” While it’s fun to see the film at home, it’s extraordinary on the big screen, and that’s why the Terrace Theater is offering two chances with its screenings on Tues. Dec. 6 and Wed. Dec. 7 at 7:15 p.m. And let’s face it — this is the closest us Charlestonians will ever get to a white Christmas.
Dec. 11 Oscar Rivers and Sam Singleton Christmas show at How Art Thou
Fans of music from eras gone by will love this top-shelf jazz event coming to How Art Thou Jazz Cafe on Maybank Highway. Soul singer Sam Singleton joins jazz great Oscar Rivers (who has worked with the likes of Stevie Wonder, BB King, The Temptations, Etta James, and much more) the second Sunday of every month at this intimate local jazz club, but on Dec. 11 the session will be extra special, and extra Christmas-y. This is their Holiday Season Special, so expect to hear holiday tunes performed in the jazz idiom as well as some with a touch of rhythm and blues, plus a few jazz standards. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and showtime is at 6:30.
Thrifters and Drifters
Find gifts for everyone on your list this holiday at the Royal American from 12pm-5pm on Sunday, December 11th. Thrifters and Drifters features unique vintage gifts and handmade creations from your favorite Charleston artisans. If you love vintage art, jewelry, crafts you will not want to miss this!
Charleston Parade of Boats
‘Tis the season to jingle and mingle on the harbor front! Join the Rotary Club of Charleston to celebrate the holiday season with a viewing party of the Holiday Parade of Boats at the Maritime Center on December 10th from 5-8pm. Enjoy savory foods, holiday music and a view of spectacular boats decorated for the season as they cruise across the harbor.
What holiday outing are you excited about this year?
Looking for some plans outside the house this fall? A simple scroll through the charlestoncvb.com calendar will render a long list of possibilities. Here are just a few of the events we’re looking forward to this season.
Charleston Arts Festival | Oct. 5-8
The first annual Charleston Arts Festival is brought to you by the creator of Jailbreak. Though Jailbreak’s technically defunct, the CFA finale will take place at the Old Jail on Magazine Street, so it’ll be like a Jailbreak reincarnated. Also on the agenda for CFA is Pecha Kucha 25 (8 presentations by local members of Charleston’s music community and Women & Radiohead, where local female musicians will perform Radiohead songs. Both of the latter events take place at the Music Hall, while the other facet of CAF, a Culinary Evolution, will go down at High Wire Distillery. For tickets, dates, and further details, go to charlestonartsfestival.com.
MOJA Arts Festival | Sept. 29-Oct. 9
This will be Charleston’s 33rd year with the MOJA Arts fest, a celebration of African-American and Caribbean Arts. The city will be taken over by isual arts, classical music, dance, gospel, jazz, poetry, R&B music, storytelling, theatre, children’s activities, traditional crafts, ethnic food, and much more. Guess what else — most events are free! Ticketed events are priced modestly. For further details, see mojafestival.com.
Lovin’ the Lowcountry Fall Festival | Nov. 3
The Footlight Players will bring their own festival to life on Nov. 3 at Pierce Park Pavilion (1801 Pierce Street, Daniel Island). Celebrating all that is fall, the fest involves a heapin’ helping of Lowcountry boil, plus bee, wine, and a silent auction. The Shem Creek Boogie Band will provide the beach music soundtrack, while SC Shagging Hall of Fame dancer Claude Robertson and dance partner Linda Ouzts cut a rug. Tickets are $35 and will benefit the Footlight Players, one of the oldest community theaters in Charleston.
Y’allFest | Nov. 11-12
Something for the teens or any young adult fiction lover, Y’allFest celebrates YA fiction, welcoming best-selling authors to the city for a series of events at Charleston Music Hall, the Charleston County Library. This year’s featured authors are many, and they include Beautiful Creatures’ Kami Garcia, Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars), and Renee Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn). Check yallfest.org for a complete list and schedule of events, like book signings and forums.
Colour of Music Festival Masterwork Series | Oct 19-23
Colour of Music celebrates black classical musicians. This year’s edition brings renowned artists from around the world to Charleston for the occasion. Some notable events include the debut of18th-Century African-American French composer Chevalier de Saint George’s only discovered opera as well as “The Anonymous Lover,” featuring Magali Leger, native of Saint George’s birthplace, the Isle of Guadeloupe, showcasing the festival’s All Things French theme. The Masterworks series opens with the petit opera on Thurs. Oct. 20 at the Gaillard Center downtown and will also include Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 44 in G Minor.
What are you looking forward to this season?
It’s National Poetry Month! To celebrate, we’d love to share Dusk, a beautiful piece by DuBose Heyward, whose 1925 novel Porgy later inspired the 1935 Opera Porgy and Bess with music by George Gershwin. Heyward was born in 1885 in Charleston, and it appears from his work that he knew and loved our city well.
Dusk by DuBose Heyward
They tell me she is beautiful, my City,
That she is colorful and quaint, alone
Among the cities. But I, I who have known
Her tenderness, her courage, and her pity,
Have felt her forces mold me, mind and bone,
Life after life, up from her first beginning.
How can I think of her in wood and stone!
To others she has given of her beauty,
Her gardens, and her dim, old, faded ways,
Her laughter, and her happy, drifting hours,
Glad, spendthrift April, squandering her flowers,
The sharp, still wonder of her Autumn days;
Her chimes that shimmer from St. Michael‘s steeple
Across the deep maturity of June,
Like sunlight slanting over open water
Under a high, blue, listless afternoon.
But when the dusk is deep upon the harbor,
She finds me where her rivers meet and speak,
And while the constellations ride the silence
High overhead, her cheek is on my cheek.
I know her in the thrill behind the dark
When sleep brims all her silent thoroughfares.
She is the glamor in the quiet park
That kindles simple things like grass and trees.
Wistful and wanton as her sea-born airs,
Bringer of dim, rich, age-old memories.
Out on the gloom-deep water, when the nights
Are choked with fog, and perilous, and blind,
She is the faith that tends the calling lights.
Hers is the stifled voice of harbor bells
Muffled and broken by the mist and wind.
Hers are the eyes through which I look on life
And find it brave and splendid. And the stir
Of hidden music shaping all my songs,
And these my songs, my all, belong to her.
Get Inspired by Charleston Poetry
Charleston, by Henry Timrod
Poems for Charleston, In Honor of Emanuel AME Church
Modern Works by Charleston Poets
Since the busy season is over, the Folly Beach locals can throw a party and take back the beach. Follypalooza, a carnival style, family friendly event with arts, music, games, food and more will be Saturday October 24, 2015. Come on out and enjoy the fall sunshine, listen to some tunes, and see your Folly friends, while benefiting the Folly Angels.
Last year I remember the great chili served up by the loggerheads crew, the goat curry from Chico Feo, and the Corn on the Cob seasoned perfectly from the Taco Boy truck. There is so much food to choose from, you really can’t go wrong. The music is another of my favorite parts of the festival, and this year all the bands are local. Come see my buddy Nathan play in Deadwin, just one of the acts I am looking forward to. The Folly Beach Jazz All-Stars is another act that should draw a big crowd, as they are Folly favorites, and can really jam. Arts and Crafts will be on display throughout the event, so pick up some stained glass, candles, jewelry, and more.
Kids games are the biggest part of the festival, as a boardwalk style atmosphere is created on Center Street. My kids loved the field goal kick and ring toss the best, but you will also see an inflatable obstacle course, a mechanical bull, and games for kids of all ages. You can win prizes at these games, which makes the little ones so excited, and all the proceeds are benefiting those in need.
Lastly, the people are the best part of the event. Getting the chance to see your friends, relax and chat, and meet new ones is what it is all about. I can usually count on running into some long lost pals, and catching up, while enjoying a cold beverage and watching some great music. This year, I am helping out near the obstacle course running the beanbag toss, so stop by, say hi, and we’ll be new friends too. See you there! -Vince Perna
1:30 – 3:00 Noelle Brown & The Troublemakers
3:30 – 5:00 Deadwin
3:30 – 5:00 Jazz on the Edge Allstars
Additional Info about Follypalooza 2015:
The sponsors for this year’s event include Holy City Brewing Co., Dos Equis, Thurmond Kirchner Timbes & Yelverton Law Firm, Peter McCoy/McCoy & Stokes Attorneys at Law, Dunes Properties, Planet Follywood, Follywood Productions & more.
Donnie Whitaker has been with the dunes properties family since 2005 and specializes in second home buyers and investment properties. He is extremely knowledgeable about Wild Dunes, Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, and all areas East of the Cooper, having worked at Wild Dunes Resort as a tennis pro before joining our Isle of Palms office over 10 years ago. Donnie splits his time between the IOP and our centrally-located flagship office in historic Charleston.
When Donnie isn’t selling homes and showing properties, he likes to spend his time in the great outdoors shooting nature and wildlife with his camera. He has a passion for landscape photography from the mountains to the coast, which he likely inherited from his father. Donnie feels extremely lucky to live in a place with such natural beauty and photo opportunities everywhere you turn, but he also enjoys traveling for photography and fun, especially to his home state of North Carolina. You can view and even purchase his photos at his photography website or learn more about his adventures in Charleston area real estate at donniewhitaker.com.
In honor of the 10th Anniversary of the Ravenel Bridge, Donnie recently entered a picture in the Post and Courier’s Bridge Photo contest. His photo was chosen as “Photo Pick of the Week” for Sunday, July 26, 2015.
The Real Estate Studio is currently showcasing local photographer Mark Swick until July 28, 2015. We recently hosted a reception for his beautiful photographs of all things Charleston – window boxes, doors, wrought iron gates, and landscapes that celebrate the beauty of the Lowcountry. Mark certainly has talent and an appreciation for the architecture and charm of this town. We sat down with Mark to get the skinny on his photography, and here’s what he had to say…
Dunes Properties: What inspired you to start taking photos?Mark Swick: I have no formal background in photography, and it did not become a passion for me until I moved to Charleston in 2012. Living downtown and spending lots of time on a bike, I quickly developed an appreciation for the impressive historic architecture on the peninsula. Previously I had only used the camera on my iPhone casually, but I began to take pictures in earnest – mainly of doors and windows. I found myself seeking out entire neighborhoods and canvassing their entrances, gates and flower boxes. I was hooked, and it was around that time that I became more serious about sharing my photographs on Instagram. The support of the Instagram community propelled my interest further, and in 2014 I began shooting with a DSLR and editing primarily on a computer.
What is your absolute favorite thing to photograph in Charleston?After all this time I’m still entranced by Charleston’s different neighborhoods and architecture. I love being a part of this city; photographing Charleston homes and sharing them with others all over the world is my small contribution to what makes the Lowcountry so great.What do you like to do in your free time besides photography?I spend a lot of time exploring the city with my girlfriend, trying new restaurants and attending local events. I am also very involved in Charleston’s Jewish community.Do you plan on venturing into any other types of photography?I am really fortunate, especially of late, that my humble photography beginnings have led to new professional experiences. I recently photographed a couple’s engagement proposal, and have also done album cover and profile work for a local country duo. I hope to gain additional experiences in portraiture and event photography — who knows where that will take me!You can purchase Mark’s from his website, in any size or medium that you would like. You can also follow him on Instagram and Twitter. dunes properties agents Angela Wicke and Emily Gildea recently caught up with Mark at his Studio reception, and he is featured this week on their blog Lowcountry Love Letters. Check it out!Don’t forget to check back in to The Real Estate Studio where we showcase a new local artist every 6 weeks in our space. We love this town and all the talented people who live, work, and play here.
The Real Estate Studio is excited to feature “Close to Home,” an exhibit of oil and pastel paintings featuring unique visions of the islands and city of Charleston by James Island artists Susan Trott, Jane Hart, and Anna Cox. This beautiful exhibit of landscapes and architecture of the area will be on display from February 11 – March 24, 2015, with an Artists Reception on Friday, February 13 from 5-8pm.
Susan Trott began painting at a young age, exploring the galleries and museums of Washington, D.C. After attending the Art School at Virginia Commonwealth University she became further attracted to the culture and architectural details of historic cities. Trott has lived in Charleston for over 30 years and can frequently be seen painting outdoors around historic Charleston. She takes inspiration for her work from the historic architecture of Charleston, including buildings with interesting features or unique signage. You can see Susan’s work at www.susantrott.com.
Jane Hart is a retired systems analyst and business manager who fell in love with painting after her first painting
class. Soon after, master pastelist Claire Miller Hopkins introduced Hart to pastels and since then she has taken college-level art classes and studied extensively with well-known artists. She considers the composition, or design, to be key to a successful painting and loves that painting is a constant learning process. Jane’s oil paintings and pastels have been exhibited in both juried and invitational exhibitions, including the Piccolo Spoleto Juried Art Exhibition and Southeastern Pastel Society Exhibition. See more of Jane’s work at www.janehartart.com.
Anna Cox was introduced to oil painting in a class at the Corcoran School of Art & Design while she was working as an interior designer in the metro D.C. area. She traveled to Italy to continue her study and over the last 7 years Cox has combined her interior design skills and oil paintings to give her the unique ability to create personalized works that perfectly accent homes and offices. After moving to Charleston, Anna found the natural landscape to be a perfect subject to explore and intends for her work to convey a shared respect, gratitude, and love for nature that supports and connects everyone. You can see Anna’s work at www.annacoxstudio.com.
The Real Estate Studio is excited to feature local artist Blakely Little’s beautiful paintings on display from January 2–February 10, with an Artists Reception on Saturday, January 3, 2015.
A Maryland native, Blakely grew up in Annapolis where she developed her passion for art after taking a painting class in high school. Growing up surrounded by water, Blakely spent time with her family boating down the river and uses her love of water as her main inspiration for her work today. Her main muses are bays, rivers, coastlines, water’s edge, harbors, marshes, and boats.
Blakely came to Charleston for college and received her Bachelor Degree in Arts Management with a minor in Studio Art from the College of Charleston, where she learned to create a business behind what she loved. She had the opportunity to study abroad at Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy, where she began to play with color, pattern, and developed her own unique style as an artist.
Painting on Birchwood panels with a mix of acrylic, oil, and Neocolor crayons, Blakely continues to incorporate her biggest inspiration, water, into her work. “I love the way water reflects color and has its own. Water is so beautiful and serene, but sometimes dangerous and completely out of control,” says Blakely.
Residing in downtown Charleston, Blakely enjoys the local growing and supportive art community. In her free time she loves to explore Charleston and discover the hidden streets, waterways, and parks. Blakely can be reached at email@example.com or by visiting her website, www.blakelymade.com.
There will be an Artists Reception on Saturday, January 3 from 5-8pm. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served.
The Real Estate Studio welcomes local artist Arthur Newman for his latest show, A Mini Retrospective. Arthur’s luminous paintings will be on display from November 18 – December 30, 2014.
Arthur Newman has been painting for sixty years. His first show was in 1958 at his alma mater, Union College, in New York. For the next ten years, Arthur pursued his passion for painting while he lived and worked a variety of jobs in Vermont and New York State including an auto mechanic, house painter, and teacher. He taught painting at The Shore Institute for Contemporary Art and the Albany Museum of Art, but was drawn to teaching emotionally disturbed and autistic children. He earned his Masters at Bank Street College of Education in 1968 and later his Doctorate in Special Education from Rutgers University.
After retiring in 1994, Arthur began painting artistically again. His earlier works are highly influenced by the art scene and his contemporaries of 1950s New York City, and have evolved to a radiant study of the complexities of the human condition. The Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, D. Ferrari, has said that Arthur “often varies the application of his pigment utilizing the degrees of luminosity achieved between the soft washes and glazes,” and that his paintings are “always grounded to some degree in the figurative.”
An Artists Reception will be held on Friday, November 21 from 6-9pm. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served, with music from Richard Show. For more information, contact The Real Estate Studio at 722-5618.