New Spirituals Group

The 100-plus member CSO Gospel Choir has a new spin-off. It’s called the CSO Spiritual Ensemble. The aim is to use 35 lead singers from the parent organizaton to present smaller, more ambitious concerts of traditional African-American spirituals around Charleston and the Lowcountry.

“Artistically, we felt that spirituals were the way to go,” says spokesperson Allison Savicz. “The larger group will perform during the holidays and Palm Sunday and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But the smaller group is able to sing the music of South Carolina.”

A new director, Nathan Nelson, leads the effort. He said, “The ensemble’s core repertoire will focus on preserving the authenticity of spirituals while integrating classical choral works by African-American composers.”

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We need to laugh

Among good indicators of how people are feeling during this crappy economy, one might look at the business stats from the Charleston Comedy Festival. The 2009 festival saw a 40 percent increase in ticket sales over 2008, with more than 3,500 tickets sold over the course of the four-day event. Yeah, the equation is pretty simple — reasonably priced tickets plus lots of laughs equals escape from this hangover
of excess.

Little City’s leader moves to Tampa

Looks like playing Dr. Frank-N-Furter wasn’t enough for him. Ralph Prentice Daniel, the driving force behind the Little City Musical Theatre Company, has moved on to pursue his acting career. He sent this message last week: “I hope this e-mail finds you well. I just wanted to let you know (if you don’t know already) I have stepped down as artistic director for Little City to continue my professional acting career. I have currently relocated to Tampa, Florida. I am sure Little City will continue to be a success with Robbi at the helm. Best of luck to you and Charleston City Paper!” Robbi Kenney, music director, has taken over as artistic director of the grass-roots ensemble that staged an uproarious version of the Rocky Horror Show in October (Kenney is on a roll; she led the band for Reefer Madness). Before that, Little City did a commendable staging of Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World.

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