CCU blooms with cultural, musical events this spring

spalisin@thesunnews.comFebruary 21, 2014 

Sarah Reese performs at CCU on March 1 at 4 p.m.

COURTESY PHOTO

  • If you go

    What | Array of arts events, for Grand Strand community to enjoy

    Where | Coastal Carolina University, on main campus, accessed from U.S. 501 and S.C. 544 in Conway

    When | Through spring semester

    Information | 349-2787 or www.coastal.edu/culturalarts

    MUSIC/READINGS

    “Songs of South Carolina: Poets and Guitars,” 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 in Edwards Theatre, for free.

    • “Grand Strand Choir Challenge,” 6 p.m. Feb. 22 in Wheelwright Auditorium, benefiting Each 1 Teach 1, a CCU life skills and leadership development program for middle and high school youth. $7 advance or $10 at door for ages 13 or older, otherwise $5.

    • “Swing Jazz,” with films “Ken Burns’ Jazz: Episode 6: Swing, the Velocity of Celebration” and “International Sweethearts of Rhythm,” 7 p.m. Feb. 24 in Johnson Auditorium, for free.

    • “African American Music Through the Years,” 6 p.m. Feb. 25 in Wheelwright Auditorium, for free.

    “From Sousa to Swing,” by CCU Symphonic Band and Jazz After Hours Band, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 in Wheelwright Auditorium. $5 general; $3 CCU/Horry-Georgetown Technical College students, faculty and staff; and free for children.

    “An Evening with Sarah Reese,” Metropolitan Opera soprano, 4 p.m. March 1 in Wheelwright Auditorium. $15 general; $10 CCU/HGTC faculty, staff, alumni, OLLI members, seniors and teens; and $5 CCU/HGTC students and children.

    “Gospel Sing Out,” by Coastal Carolina University Inspirational Ambassadors, 4:30 p.m. March 2 in Wheelwright Auditorium, for free.

    • “Piano Series,” in Edwards Recital Hall with Bennie Woods at 4 p.m. March 16, Jerry Wong 4 p.m. April 6, and Catherine Kautsky 7:30 p.m. April 25. Each $5 general; $3 CCU/HGTC students, faculty and staff; and free for children.

    • “Choral Masterworks,” with CCU Concert and Chamber Choirs and voice faculty, and Long Bay Symphony, 7:30 p.m. March 18 in Wheelwright Auditorium. $5 general; $3 CCU/HGTC students, faculty and staff; and free for children.

    • CCU Student Jazz Combo, 7:30 p.m. March 19 in Edwards Recital Hall. $5 general; $3 CCU/HGTC students, faculty and staff; and free for children.

    • Second annual Tempo 54 Drumline, 5:30 p.m. March 22 in HTC Center. $7 general ($3 advance Feb. 3-7, when ticket sales start) ages 13 and older; and $5 CCU/HGTC students, faculty and staff, and for ages 12 and younger.

    • Regina Helcher Yost Flute Recital, 3 p.m. March 23 in Edwards Recital Hall. $5 general; $3 CCU/HGTC students, faculty and staff; and free for children.

    • “An Evening of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn,” with Grand Strand Jazz Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. March 23 in Wheelwright Auditorium. $15 general; $10 CCU/HGTC faculty, staff, alumni, OLLI members, seniors and teens; and $5 CCU/HGTC students and children.

    • “Country and Bluegrass,” with film “High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music,” 7 p.m. March 24 in Johnson Auditorium, for free.

    • Poetry Reading: Juliana Gray, author of “Roleplay” and “The Man Under My Skin,” 4:30 p.m. March 27 in Johnson Auditorium, for free.

    • “David Bankston and Friends,” 7:30 p.m. April 3 in Wheelwright Auditorium. $5 general; $3 CCU/HGTC students, faculty and staff; and free for children.

    • “Wax Museum,” by Aunt Pearlie Sue and the Gullah Kinfolk, 7:30 p.m. April 4 in Wheelwright Auditorium. $10 general; $5 CCU/HGTC students, faculty and staff, and OLLI members, seniors and teens; and free for children.

    • “Latin Rhythms from Mambo to Hip Hop,” with film “Latin Music USA, Episode 1: Bridges and From Mambo to Hip-Hop: A South Bronx Tale,” 7 p.m. April 7 in Johnson Auditorium, for free.

    • CCU World Music Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. April 8 in Wheelwright Auditorium. $5 general; $3 CCU/HGTC students, faculty and staff; and free for children.

    • CCU Bands Spring Concert, 7:30 p.m. April 11 in Wheelwright Auditorium. $5 general; $3 CCU/HGTC students, faculty and staff; and free for children.

    • CCU Flute Studio Recital, 3 p.m. April 13 in Edwards Recital Hall. $5 general; $3 CCU/HGTC students, faculty and staff; and free for children.

    • CCU Percussion Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. April 15 in Wheelwright Auditorium. $5 general; $3 CCU/HGTC students, faculty and staff; and free for children.

    • Guitar Studio recital, 7:30 p.m. April 16 in Edwards Recital Hall. $5 general; $3 CCU/HGTC students, faculty and staff; and free for children.

    • CCU Jazz Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. April 17 in Wheelwright Auditorium. $5 general; $3 CCU/HGTC students, faculty and staff; and free for children.

    • “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” with film “Plugging In,” 7 p.m. April 21 in Johnson Auditorium, for free.

    • Seventh annual “Isn’t It Romantic?” with CCU Choirs and Jazz Band, 7:30 p.m. April 22 in Wheelwright Auditorium. $5 general; $3 CCU/HGTC students, faculty and staff; and free for children.

    • “Pop 101” concert, 7:30 p.m. April 24 in Wheelwright Auditorium. $5 general; $3 CCU/HGTC students, faculty and staff; and free for children.

    THEATER

    Each $15 general; $10 CCU/HGTC faculty, staff, alumni, OLLI members, seniors and teens; and $5 CCU/HGTC students and children:

    “Crimes of the Heart,” 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20-22 and 26-28, and March 1; and 3 p.m. March 1, in 79th Avenue Theatre, in Myrtle Beach Education Center, at U.S. 17 Bypass

    • “Blood Wedding,” 7:30 p.m. April 3-5 and 10-12, and 3 p.m. April 12, in Edwards Theatre

    • “Dance Company & Music Theatre Showcase,” 3 and 7:30 p.m. April 27 in Wheelwright Auditorium.

    • Atlantic Stage professional troupe, at CCU’s Myrtle Beach Education Center’s 79th Avenue Theatre, at U.S. 17 Bypass, “The Nerd,” March 20-April 13: 7:30 pm. Thursdays-Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. for $27.50 general admission; $22.50 seniors (ages 55 and older)/educators/military; $17.50 students, including Osher Lifelong Learning Institute members; and $10 side section seats. 877-287-8587 or www.atlanticstage.com.

    ART EXHIBITS

    In CCU’s Rebecca Randall Bryan Art Gallery, in Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts, open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, with free admission (349-6454 or www.coastal.edu/bryanartgallery):

    • “Linda Stein: The Fluidity of Gender” (sculptural armor), through Feb. 28

    • “Maura Kenny: Out of Hobcaw” solo exhibition, March 10-April 4, with opening reception 4:30 p.m. March 13

    • “Portfolio I: Studio Arts” thesis exhibition, April 10-21, with opening reception 4:30 p.m. April 10

    “Portfolio II: Graphic Design” thesis exhibition, April 28-May 10, with closing reception 4:30 p.m. May 9.

    WOMEN’S CONFERENCE

    Fourth annual Women’s Leadership Conference & Celebration of Inspiring Women,” by Women in Philanthropy and Leadership for CCU, in “Lead the Change” theme, Feb. 26-27 at Myrtle Beach Convention Center, at Oak Street and 21st Avenue North: Pre-Conference Workshops and Networking Reception, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26, for $75; Networking Reception only, 5-6:30 p.m. Feb. 26, for $25; conference 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Feb. 27, for $125; and Celebration of Inspiring Women, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27, for $125. Also, register for preconference and conference workshops for $175. 349-5033 or www.wiplconference.com.

A new year also means another new semester with a slew of arts and activities to carry Coastal Carolina University deep into spring.

Concerts, plays and art exhibits, with many students taking the stage, play not only to colleagues across campus, but welcome the whole Grand Strand community to enjoy for an afternoon or evening out.

Matt White, a music professor, voiced his eagerness for several jazz/swing events this spring, “among various other cool things we’re up to.”

Five dates circled on his calendar range from the CCU Faculty Jazz Group playing Monday during the “Swing Jazz” evening in Johnson Auditorium, which will include two films, and the CCU Jazz Ensemble spring concert April 17 in Wheelwright Auditorium, with two big bands this year.

‘Choir Challenge’ benefit

Every winter, the downhill coast toward spring puts music in the ears of Yoav Wachsman, a professor of economics in CCU’s E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration.

He coordinates the annual “Grand Strand Choral Challenge,” the third edition of which will resonate through university’s Wheelwright Auditorium at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Wachsman said five choirs will compete for $1,000, based on votes from the audience. He’s equally energized about the organization that will benefit from these concerts, Each 1 Teach 1 (www.coastal.edu/business/entrepreneur/index.html). This program, for local middle- and high schoolers from more meager backgrounds, emphasizes life and entrepreneurial skills. The goal, Wachsman said, centers on helping motivate the youth “to go to college.”

Seeing this annual concert grow each year, Wachsman said the audience size last winter doubled attendance from the inaugural event, and he hopes 500 people turn out this year.

Lining up performers, especially high school choirs, poses its own challenge, he said, because the older students are immersed in their own schools’ musical productions to round out the school year.

Yet, attracting middle school and church choirs has proven easier, Wachsman said, and that gospel and inspirational music fills the hall.

The 2014 concert also marks a new high, with five ensembles competing, and more donations already in hand, thanks to matching gifts from “an anonymous donor,” Wachsman said, grateful for all the benefactors who continue stepping up for the cause every year.

Bringing up another goal, Wachsman said ultimately, Each 1 Teach 1 coordinators seek to raise $15,000 this year, also with help from an annual autumn miniature golf tournament.

Wachsman also will direct the 2014 “Celebration of Inquiry,” March 31-April 1, this year with a “Human Spirit” theme. He said all classes on campus “get redirected and everybody shares in creative thinking and expression” across campus, with student and faculty presentations and many speakers. Joe Moglia, the CCU head football coach, will give the keynote address 7-8:30 p.m. April 1 in Wheelwright Auditorium; admission is free, but call the box office at 349-2787 for tickets.

Singing, sharing her heart

Sarah Reese will sing a program of arias at 4 p.m. March 1 in Wheelwright Auditorium.

The Metropolitan Opera soprano, who has carried her chops around the world for more than two decades, said being shy and not talkative, “my most comfortable mode of communication is singing.”

Chatting by phone last week from home in Greenville, Reese reflected on her impetus for opera. At age 15, after singing a number for church, a woman whom Reese said “had never heard of” belted out a song to preface her husband’s speech. Reese called the selection the “most important I ever heard,” which the guest delivered with “a booming, operatic voice.”

“She sang ‘If I Can Help Somebody,’ ” Reese said, “and when she was finished, everybody leapt to their feet.”

Afterward, Reese welcomed an invitation to sit next to the guest, Coretta Scott King. Reese said King was an aspiring opera singer with “an incredible voice,” but she forsake that career to be by husband Martin Luther King Jr.’s side.

Reese, who said the only singer she had heard to that point was Marian Anderson, enjoyed Coretta Scott King’s talking with her about singing, the voice as “an instrument,” and continuing to study.

“Little did I know who that woman was,” Reese said, “and who that woman was going to be. When she sang, I’m like, ‘Wow.’”

Reese said when she received an award years later from CCU’s Women in Philanthropy and Leadership, she marked the honor by remembering her meeting with Mrs. King.

“That was my life has been about,” Reese said, “otherwise I would not have come full circle and return to my roots.”

Fond of laughing, unable to contain her natural cheer in conversation, Reese said that in childhood, “at church, when we sang, I never sang like anyone else, but they let me be in the choir anyway.”

Reese treats singing as “that gift and that investment” she loves to share with young people, not matter what their talent level.

“You take what a person has,” she said, “and help to develop it as much as possible.”

If someone asks Reese, “Why are you here?” she has a simple, heartfelt response: “I’m where God wants me to be.”

Singing with ensembles in places such as Berlin, Vienna and Carnegie Hall, and on Grammy Award-winning recordings, Reese needs no further convincing of her dreams come true.

“Really, come on,” she said. “Those are miracles.”

No matter where she trots across the globe, Reese has a signature finale, Margaret Bonds’ arrangement of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”

“Everybody responds to that song,” she said, remembering how in Russia, an interpreter explained to the audience what the song’s words mean. “And they clapped for 20 minutes, and that’s after I’ve done an operatic concert.”

Reese said such a lighter, even spiritual piece helps make her presentations “eclectic,” so a concert does not comprise just “serious songs” sung in another language to which audiences “politely applaud at the end.”

Breaking from some breakfast nibbles for this interview, Reese said her dog was begging for her attention. A group of students, wanting to cheer her up after her mother’s death, made a surprise gift with the half-Chihuahua, half-dachshund.

“I named her after my first opera performance in Chicago,” Reese said. “Tosca. She’s also known as Diva Reese.”

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.

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