Charleston City Paper: Piccolo Spoleto 2022 Official Guide #1

Page 1

Official Program Guide FIRST OF TWO

Chamber Music Series

offers healing, beautiful sounds

May 27-June 12

Pop-ups connect neighborhoods to annual festival

Sunset Serenade

will bring back some musical magic


Outdoor Art Exhibition Craft Show Juried Art Exhibition And more!

A special publication of

“Eliane” by Alice Colin

Piccolo Spoleto 2022 MAY 27–JUNE 12, 2022 2

CHAMPIONING CHAMPIONING CHAMPIONING OUR OUR OUR CREATIVE. CREATIVE. CREATIVE. We’re proud to supportWe’re thoseproud to support those who dream of a brighterwho tomorrow dream of a brighter tomorrow proudthrough to support those throughWe’re the performing arts. the performing arts.

who dream of a brighter tomorrow through the performing arts. NOURISHING COMMUNITIES


Mayor’s Greeting


to the 2022 Piccolo Spoleto Festival, which once more promises to share and celebrate Charleston’s boundless creativity and artistic achievement. Each May, going back some 45 years, our local arts community has come together in the spirit of collaboration and partnership to create the perfect complement to the global aspirations of Spoleto Festival USA. This year, we assertively do so again, and we applaud the return of many Piccolo Spoleto traditions that were disrupted in recent seasons and are now set to lead us to forward as the arts bring us together as a community. artists and arts enthusiasts throughout our community, and I want to acknowledge all of the outstanding artists and appreciative audience members who will make the 2022 Piccolo Spoleto Festival an absolute triumph. I also want to thank the staff of the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and the team of dedicated community volunteers and arts leaders who bring Piccolo Spoleto to life. I very much hope you will join us in celebrating everything that Charleston and Piccolo Spoleto have to offer. It is always such an amazing time of the year as music, joy, and laughter spill out beyond our concert halls and auditoriums, transforming our city with artistry, whimsy and fun. Please be sure to join us, and bring along your family, friends and neighbors. I look forward to seeing you all at Piccolo Spoleto.

John J. Tecklenburg Mayor

Piccolo Spoleto truly offers something for everyone, charting 17 days and nights that resound with unbridled creativity, animating our galleries and theatres, historic houses of worship, public plazas, courtyards and gardens, and, of course, the City’s beloved and beautiful parks. It is a Charleston tradition that endures and grows richer with each new season. From our curtain raising Sunset Serenade concert with the Charleston Symphony at the US Custom House, to the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition at Marion Square, to neighborhood pop-ups and spontaneous performances, the festival is a reflection of both grand aspirations and small gestures. I hope you will all find moments of inspiration, repose, reflection, and even some giddy excitement in what the festival has to offer. The arts have remained resilient through the disruptions of the past few years and we salute Charleston’s artists and audiences alike for their resolve and tenacity to continue to create beauty and cultural vibrancy. Piccolo Spoleto is a direct reflection of the dedication and generosity of


About the Festival The Piccolo Spoleto Festival annually presents a

varied program that includes visual arts exhibitions, performances of classical music, jazz, dance, theater and choral music, as well as cultural events and community celebrations, poetry readings, children’s activities, craft shows and film screenings. Piccolo Spoleto prioritizes accessibility for both artists and performers, presenting professional work of the highest standard, while ensuring that nearly half of Piccolo’s events are admission-free, with the balance offered at affordable prices. In addition to the Festival’s visual arts, artisan crafts exhibitions and public art installations, performances are being planned for outdoor settings in Charleston’s parks. Events are scheduled for the City’s larger parks in formats that accommodate social distancing and smaller neighborhood pop-up events will be announced the week of the event to ensure that the weather will accommodate the performance. Piccolo Spoleto was launched in 1979 by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, which continues to work closely with an engaged group of volunteers from the Charleston arts community. The working group of arts professionals who serve as volunteer program coordinators for the Festival now numbers nearly 40 with each specializing in a particular discipline, genre or period. Applications for the 2023 Piccolo Spoleto Festival will be available online in the autumn at

Piccolo Spoleto 2022 MAY 27–JUNE 12, 2022

For more information, call the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs at (843) 724-7305 or email


Festival Staff Piccolo Spoleto Festival is produced and directed by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs CITY OF CHARLESTON John J. Tecklenburg Mayor CITY COUNCIL Boyd Gregg District 1

Karl L. Brady Jr. District 5

A. Peter Shahid Jr. District 9

Kevin Shealy District 2

William Dudley Gregorie District 6

Stephen Bowden District 10

Jason Sakran District 3

Perry K. Wearing District 7

Ross A. Appel District 11

Robert Mitchell District 4

Michael S. Seekings District 8

Caroline Parker District 12

OFFICE OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS Basil Punsalan Scott Watson Outreach and Event Director Coordinator Mindy Manziano Anne Quattlebaum Associate Producer of City Gallery Piccolo Spoleto Festival Manager Harrison Chapman Farmers Market Manager

Katie LaPorte Cultural Projects Coordinator Ray Swagerty Production Manager Rachel D. Workman Finance Manager


Best Lighting Store Finalist • Best of Charleston 2022® 843-763-2282 • 1027 St. Andrews Blvd •

Festival Sponsors

Piccolo Spoleto salutes its sponsors


Chamber Music Series


Jack Alterman

Harpist Abigail Kent is a local musician with an international reputation.

Piccolo Spoleto 2022 MAY 27–JUNE 12, 2022

Series offers healing, beautiful sounds


By Michael Smallwood International award-winning harpist Abigail Kent has spent her entire life in Charleston, and has been a part of its music scene for most of that time. She is excited about being one of the performers in an exceptional 2022 Piccolo Spoleto Chamber Music series, which will feature unique performances from world-class musicians who call Charleston home. “I’ve performed in both Piccolo Spoleto as well as the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in the past, and it’s always a wonderful time to make music,” said Kent. “Especially in the midst of so many things going on in the world, it’s healing to perform music for others.” Kent, who will perform 6 p.m. June 6 at Cannon Street Arts Center, has been a featured harp soloist for the World Harp Congress in Hong Kong, silver medalist for

the 2019 Medallion International Concerto Competition and 2020 finalist for the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. She also works locally as the harp faculty for the College of Charleston, as well as the principal harpist for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Her June 6 show will feature a collection of solos alongside numbers that pair the harp with flute or piano. One such piece is Sonata by Nino Rota, who is best known for composing the Academy Awardwinning soundtrack to The Godfather. “I hope audiences can see how diverse the harp can be,” said Kent. “And also that they take away a moment of joy or curiosity from the variety of music.”

The series continues to grow

Charleston audiences are no strangers to chamber music. Chamber Music Charleston

In the midst of so many things going on in the world, it’s healing to perform music for others.” —Abigail Kent

sees growing audiences every single year. The 2021 Bank of America Chamber Music Series, a staple of Spoleto Festival USA, sold out weeks ahead of the start of the festival. The Piccolo Spoleto edition will no doubt see excited crowds hungry for the intimate sounds of strings and woodwinds. In addition to Kent in the series are notable local Charleston musicians Natalia Khoma, Yuriy Bekker and Regina Helcher

Yost. Khoma will be joined by longtime collaborator Volodymyr Vynnystksy, and Bekker will play with Gary Levinson and the CSO String Quartet. Khoma is a cellist with credits and accolades all over the world. Locally, Khoma works as an associate professor of cello at the College of Charleston and serves as director of the Charleston Music Fest. Vynnystksy joins Khoma on piano and the two Ukrainian musicians make a pairing that “epitomizes elegance of execution, virtuosic technique, a sense of internal drama and the merging of two artists playing as one,” according to Ukrainian journalist Dzerkalo Tyzhnya. The duo will perform at 6 p.m.on June 4 at Second Presbyterian Church, 342 Meeting St.

A chance to hear rare violins Bekker is the concertmaster and Principal

cian, and serves locally as the adjunct professor of flute at Charleston Southern University. She also works with Chamber Music Charleston. Yost has not only performed the world over, with major showcases in the United States, Switzerland, France and Italy, but she has also been the cover feature artist for an issue of Flute Talk magazine in 2015. Yost performs 7 p.m. June 2 at Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church. 2022 is the first year the church will host a Piccolo Spoleto event. “Audiences…shouldn’t be afraid to hear works by living composers,” said Yost. “Not all living composers write music that is challenging to listen to or understand.” Yost will be premiering an arrangement by Herman Beeftink. “Beeftink’s work is amazingly beautiful and tuneful and I’m sure they will love it!”

Opportunities abound during Piccolo Spoleto Festival 2022 for music lovers to enjoy beautiful classical music from some of the best artists in Charleston and the world. To learn more, check out the festival’s website at:

handcrafted ART. handpicked ARTISTS.

318 Wichman St, Walterboro

Pops conductor of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and he’s also an accomplished violinist. After conducting Sunset Serenade to kick off Piccolo Spoleto Festival 2022, Bekker will join violinist Levinson for a string concert in collaboration with the CSO String Quartet at 6 p.m. June 1 at Second Presbyterian Church, 342 Meeting St. “He’s a phenomenal violinist,” Bekker said of his collaborator. The two will play together during an evening of Baroque concertos that includes Bach and Vivaldi dual violin pieces. Levinson, the senior principal associate concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, will play on a rare 18th century Stradivarius violin on loan from the Dallas Symphony Association Bekker will play a borrowed Guarnerius violin, dating to the 17th century. These masterpiece instruments from rival violin makers played by consummate professionals will provide a unique opportunity for Charleston’s music and history lovers. Yost, a CSO performer, will bring her talented flute work to the chamber music series as well. Yost is nationally renowned as an orchestral and chamber music musi-


Piccolo Spoleto 2022 MAY 27–JUNE 12, 2022

Piccolo Tradition


Sunset Serenade will bring back some musical magic By Michael Smallwood For Yuriy Bekker, the Charleston Symphony’s opening night performance during Piccolo Spoleto is going to be a touching celebration for the Holy City. “When Hurricane Hugo came through Charleston [in 1989], the Symphony, a few days later, performed a free concert for the community at the Custom House,” said Bekker, the critically-acclaimed conductor and violinist who will lead the May 30 free performance. “So people haven’t showered [then] because nothing was working and there’s no water, but for one moment, it brought so much peace to folks.” He is betting the same magic works this year. “I hope that this concert, after pandemic pains, brings peace and brings our commu-

nity together and we’ll celebrate. Celebrate each other. Pay tribute to our heroes. Pay tribute to people in need in Ukraine. With music we have a lot to say and contribute.” This year, the free concert will feature the Charleston Symphony performing a collection of incredible musical pieces. Audiences will delight in hearing from such acclaimed composers as Georges Bizet, George Gershwin, Antonín Dvorák and John Williams. “It’s truly a staple in our community,” Bekker said. “It brings [the] community together and it’s kind of a big foundation of Piccolo Spoleto. It highlights local talent. It will be very much fun to bring everyone together.” The show will begin with the National Anthem before going into John Williams’ Summon the Heroes. Anyone who watches

Led by conductor Yuriy Bekker, the Charleston Symphony returns to present the Sunset Serenade, an opening night tradition since 1989. any Olympics coverage will recognize the big, brassy, epic anthem. “I want to dedicate this work to our frontline workers,” said Bekker. “I wanted to dedicate it to the heroes.”

Concert is a Piccolo tradition Sunset Serenade is a Piccolo Spoleto tradition as old as the festival itself. The history

of the annual curtain raiser for the city’s arts celebration dates back to the early 80s. That history came to a halt in 2020, when the festival itself was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sunset Serenade did not return with the festival in 2021 either. Lack of vaccinations and the ongoing pandemic discouraged artists from returning safely. In its place was a small string quartet perfor-

LOCAL SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT To nominate a local small business visit

Richardson’s passion for cuisine was inspired by her travels to foreign countries with her grandparents while growing up.

I hope that this concert, after pandemic pains, brings peace and brings our community together and we’ll celebrate. Celebrate each other. Pay tribute to our heroes. Pay tribute to people in need in Ukraine.” —Yuriy Bekker

Audiences will thrill to works from Ukraine to New Orleans

Photos provided

Audiences will be able to enjoy the Serenade from the steps of the U.S. Customs House, a Charleston landmark. Williams to celebrate his 90th birthday with a big October showcase. In addition to its opener, the symphony will give a nod to world events by performing a piece by Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk, a renowned composer who had performed in Charleston with the Charleston Symphony before his death in 2020. “It’s a really beautiful and solemn piece, and I wanted to dedicate it to the people of Ukraine,” Bekker said. Anthonín Dvorák’s New World Symphony will be performed during the Serenade. Dvorák’s work helped legitimize the American, or “New World,” sound in the late 1800s. There will also be pieces from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, a show which is no stranger to Charleston audiences. Porgy and Bess was performed during Spoleto Festival USA in 2016. Jason S. McKinney, an acclaimed bass-baritone singer, will join the CSO for these arias, as well as a number of other selections. The Serenade will also include a medley of New Orleans jazz and will end with Stars and Stripes. Bottom line: It’s a jam-packed fun evening of music for Charleston audiences that’s not to be missed.

The Charleston Symphony will be returning Michael Smallwood is contributing arts editor later this year to perform music by John for Charleston City Paper.

Sink your teeth into Swank Desserts’ unique sweet treats D

anetra Richardson has worked in nearly every part of the kitchen. After moving to Charleston in 2008, she worked for four years at Magnolia’s before landing a job in the pastry department at the Ocean Course Clubhouse at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. There, she honed her craft and put her creativity to the test. Richardson launched Swank Desserts in March 2015 as an online-only shop, but after acquiring a sizable following, shen opened a Summerville storefront in November 2019 “to offer desserts that were unique and creative,” she said. Sweet treats offered daily And she succeeded. Swank Desserts offers a variety of sweet treats in-store daily including cookie sandwiches, bread pudding, brioche doughnuts, macaron ice cream sandwiches and her signature pastry, Swank Brownies made from dark chocolate, nutella and salted caramel fudge brownies. Macarons are a top seller. Customers can also pre-order beautiful cakes available in six different flavors: vanilla and smoked caramel, champagne and strawberries, s’mores, red velvet, creme brulee and birthday cake. Richardson offers custom dessert displays for weddings and events as well. These options include smaller tiered cakes, mini desserts, party favors and more. 110 A South Cedar Street, Summerville •



mance during the Art Walk. But now, after a two-year hiatus, Piccolo Spoleto will mount its popular musical opener from the steps of the historic U.S. Custom House. Bekker said he is very excited to see the full Serenade brought back to the festival. “For some people, it’s the only time they have a chance to see the Symphony,” said Bekker. The idea for the original Serenade concert is attributed to former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. The first editions of the Serenade were late concerts which started at 9 p.m. These early versions were more block parties than the current, more subdued affair. The concert now starts at 8 p.m., and people are encouraged to bring their own chairs for an easy night out. The Serenade typically draws in hundreds of people, some already subscribers to the Symphony’s seasons, but many of whom will be getting an introduction to the work of Charleston’s premiere classical music company. It drives local Charlestonians and tourists alike to check out the Charleston Symphony throughout the rest of the year. The symphony is made up of a collection of some of the best musicians in the country. Micah Gangwer, Asako Kremer, Alexander Boissonnault, Jan-Marie Christy Joyce, Alexander Agrest, Norbert Lewandowski and Damian Kremer make up the strings section, playing a collection of violin, violas, and cellos. The woodwind section is Jessica Hull-Dambaugh, Regina Helcher-Yost, Zachary Hammond, Kari Kistler, Charles Messersmith, Gretchen Roper and Katherine St. John. On brass are Brandon Nichols, Anne Holmi, Christopher Lindgren, Thomas Joyce, and Antonio Martí. Beth Albert and Ryan Laveille round out the sound as the percussion section.


The Festival by Genre


Charleston’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival is back with a broad range of performances — from free outdoor concerts, family-friendly fun and exhibitions to ticketed events to whet your cultural whistle in theater, music and more. Get out during the 17-day festival to experience the Holy City’s creative community. This year’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival includes a number of surprise pop-ups around Charleston as well as outdoor poetry recitations and a chamber music series that will blow you away. And, of course, Piccolo Spoleto features an outdoor arts exhibition that you know and love in Marion Square as well as two weekends of crafts markets nearby. For tickets and more information on everything about the festival, visit

FESTIVAL TRADITIONS Sunset Serenade with Charleston Symphony

Piccolo Spoleto’s annual curtain-raiser is a free, outdoor concert that features the Charleston Symphony under the direction of Artistic Director Yuriy Bekker. 8 p.m., May 27. Location: U.S. Custom House, 200 East Bay St.

Midnight Pajama March with the Seed & Feed Marching Abominable

Piccolo Spoleto 2022 MAY 27–JUNE 12, 2022

You’ll have more fun than you can imagine when watching this colorful and wild marching band from Atlanta. The allvolunteer group electrifies crowds. 10:30 p.m. to midnight, May 28. Location: U.S. Custom House, 200 East Bay St.


Memorial Day Concert

This annual patriotic tradition features the combined Charleston Concert Band and Columbia Community Band in a concert ranging from rousing marches to Broadway show tunes. It concludes with a stirring musical tribute to each of the nation’s armed forces. 3 p.m., May 30. Location: Hampton Park, 30 Mary Murray Blvd.

Sand Sculpting Competition

Visit the front beach of Isle of Palms to watch artists transform the beach into art as they compete for prizes in six categories of the annual sand sculpting competition. Family-friendly and free. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., June 11. Location: Isle of Palms, front beach.

Patriotic Parade with the Seed & Feed Marching Abominable

Daytime merriment, colorful street theater and explosive sound from this eclectic band. Noon to 1:30 p.m., May 29. Location: U.S. Custom House, 200 East Bay St.

The consummate culmination for another memorable festival, as friends, family, and neighbors gather and groove to a fantastic lineup with an infectious vibe that brings together some of Charleston’s hardest working musicians. Family fun, food vendors, and the beautiful backdrop of Hampton Park make this night the ideal way to close out Piccolo Spoleto. 5 p.m., June 11. Location: Hampton Park, Charleston.

MUSIC All shows are ticketed. Visit:

Early Music Series

A major part of Piccolo Spoleto since 1986, the Early Music Series this year moves to Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, 89 Hasell St, Charleston. Bach, Vivaldi, and Mozart are the composers that will be featured in an intimate setting with stunning acoustics. All concerts start at 3 p.m. and last an hour. Buy tickets ($25) online. May 31, June 6 – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons June 1 – Bach’s Violin June 2, 8 – Mozart in Old St. Mary’s June 7 – The Virtuoso Recorder

Chamber Music

Piccolo Spoleto Festival’s chamber music offerings in 2022 feature unique performances from world-class musicians who call Charleston home. For tickets, visit Yuriy Bekker and Gary Levinson 6 p.m., June 1. Location: Second Presbyterian Church, 342 Meeting St. Charleston Academy of Music Faculty 6 p.m., June 3. Location: Second Presbyterian Church, 342 Meeting St.

File photo

The sand-sculpting competition attracts hundreds of people.

Note Schedule is subject to change, with additions and tweaks expected in the

coming weeks. Be sure to check back with the Charleston City Paper and the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs for the latest up-to-date information. This advance calendar listing focuses on the events in the opening week of Piccolo Spoleto. Additional offerings will be highlighted in the second Piccolo Spoleto program guide to be published on June 1. The most up-to-date calendar information can always be found on PiccoloSpoletoFestival

Piccolo Spoleto Finale charlestoncitypaper

Natalia Khoma and Volodymyr Vynnytsky 6 p.m., June 4. Location: Second Presbyterian Church, 342 Meeting St. The Romantic Harp with Abigail Kent 6 p.m., June 6.Location: Cannon Street Arts Center, 134 Cannon St.

Palmetto Bronze handbells

Free event. 4 p.m., May 29. Location: Bethel United Methodist Church, 5 Pitt St., Charleston.

Charleston Men’s Chorus Celebrate those who sacrificed for the nation in this Memorial Day concert at a new venue, the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul on Coming St. Noon, May 30.

New South Festival Singers Free. This group, formerly known as the William Baker Festival Singers, has delighted capacity Piccolo audiences annually since 1989 with classical works, spirituals and gospel songs. This year’s program includes the Charleston premieres by distinguished composers Sean Sweeden, Carolina Mallonee and Daniel Sabghabaei. 3 p.m., May 30. Location: Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St., Charleston.

Taylor Festival Choir The Taylor Festival Choir, led by founder Rob Taylor, performs a program of inspiring spiritual music featuring two settings of the Miserere liturgical text: one being Allegri’s famous setting that was for centuries only heard in the Sistine Chapel; the other by Sir James MacMillan, one of today’s classical scenes greatest composers. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus will perform with the group on June 1. (Two locations over three days.) Reaching for the Light: 5 p.m., May 30, Second Presbyterian Church, 342 Meeting St., Charleston. Soloists: May 31, 4 p.m. Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St., Charleston. Reaching for the Light: 7 p.m., June 1, Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St., Charleston.

Jazz Music lovers will hear the warm sounds of jazz throughout Piccolo Spoleto Festival in 2022. Among the treats awaiting you are:

Magnolia Singers with Ann Caldwell 7 p.m., June 2. Location: Second Presbyterian Church, 342 Meeting St., Charleston.

Noon, June 3. Location: The Hill Gallery, College of Charleston, 161 Calhoun St., Charleston.

Gershwin and Jazz with an All-Star Cast

2 p.m., June 5. Location: Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St., Charleston.

Piccolo Picks Piccolo Spoleto 2022 is back, stronger than ever. This year’s annual event will offer scores of fun, innovative programs and art experiences, according to Scott Watson, director of the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs. It produces the festival that draws thousands to the city every year as a people’s companion to the internationally-recognized Spoleto Festival USA. “Come out and enjoy all of the offerings that will be available for 17 glorious days this spring,” said Watson. “It might not look exactly like it looked five years ago, but neither does your cell phone! There’s going to be a whole lot of fun going on.” This year’s festival will again feature several last-minute neighborhood “pop-up events,” as highlighted in a story in this special section. But here are five things you can count on to make memories that will last for years:

43rd Annual Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition

Charleston Jazz Momentum

Free. Marion Square is transformed into a beautiful open-air market as more than 50 of the finest and most creative local artists exhibit and sell their work. You can view original oils, pastels, watercolors, acrylics, encaustics, photography and more. May 27–June 11. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday-Sunday. Location: Marion Square, King and Calhoun streets

6 p.m., June 10. Location: Hampstead Square, 67 Columbus St., Charleston.

Shaggin’ and Braggin’

Piccolo Spoleto Juried Art Exhibition

Experience what is half concert and half TEDTalk about South Carolina’s music and its fun personalities. Enjoy the sounds of Dizzy Gillespie, James Brown, Hootie and the Blowfish and more. Edgy, as music always is, but appropriate for all ages! 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., June 4. Location: Cannon Street Arts Center, 134 Cannon St.

Charleston Musical Heritage Series

Free. This annual juried art exhibition presented by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs is on view at the City Gallery throughout Piccolo Spoleto, from May 27 to June 12. This year’s show, judged by French-born photographer Marie Carladous, highlights the recent work of artists across South Carolina featuring painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking and photography. Noon to 5 p.m. daily from May 27 to June 12. Location: City Gallery, 34 Prioleau St.


Rana Jordahl

The Sound of Charleston, featuring music of Charleston’s history, from gospel to Gershwin, is a Festival favorite that this year offers more than ever. All shows at Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St. The Sound of Charleston: 1 p.m., May 28; 2 p.m., June 4 and June 8. Oh Happy Day Gospel Concert: 2 p.m., May 29. Gershwin and Jazz with an All Star Cast: 2 p.m., June 5.

Ocho Festival 2022

Free. Learn about Princess Inikpi, the Gullah Wars, Seminole Wars and more. You’ll hear the pounding rhythms of the Deninufay African Drum and Dance Group and see a visual art exhibit by Abba Nizar. The celebration, an ancient African Igala Kingdom hunting and pre-harvest festival dating back to 800 BC, was celebrated for the first time in America in Charleston in 2021. 10 a.m., May 28 and May 29. Location: African Redemptive Struggle Museum, 249 St. Philip St. Charleston.

Piccolo Spoleto Rising Stars

Now in its 14th year, Palmetto State Arts Education will host its Rising Stars Series, which will showcase six young actors, dancers, musicians, writers or visual artists in each of six programs. All shows in the parish hall of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 1 Vanderhorst St. 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., May 30. 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., June 4. 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., June 11. CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

Art Forms and Theatre Concepts returns from a pandemic hiatus to present Dot, a heartfelt holiday comedy-drama by Colman Domingo. Dot is a dramatic comedy that deals with aging parents and midlife crises in West Philadelphia. Premiering in 2015, Dot has been called “a fearless mix of bone-dry humor and warp-speed emotional shifts” by Entertainment Weekly. In the show, Dottie’s memory is slipping as her unique children clash over how to best care for her. Eight performances over 11 days. 8 p.m. on June 2, 3, 9, 10 and 11; 2 p.m., June 4; 3 p.m., 6 p.m., June 5; 3 p.m., June 12. Location: Queen Street Playhouse, 20 Queen St.

Piccolo Spoleto Craft Show

Gale Ray

Free. The annual craft show will take place over two weekends. Baskets, centerpieces, jewelry, clothing and more will be on display and for sale from some of the most innovative and creative craft artists in and around Charleston. You’ll find the perfect treat for yourself or a special gift for a friend or loved one in this diverse, exciting craft display. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 27 and May 28; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 29. On the second weekend, the show will have similar times. Location: Wragg Square, 342 Meeting St.

All that Jazz with the College of Charleston Jazz Combo 1


The Festival by Genre CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11

Charleston Opera Theater Charleston Opera Theater and the Summerville Orchestra partner to stage this charming double bill of Bach’s Coffee Cantata and Menotti’s The Telephone. 5 p.m. June 2; 6 p.m. June 3; 4 p.m. June 4; 6:30 p.m., June 4. Location: Mercantile and Mash cafe, 701 East Bay St.

PICCOLO FRINGE Tickets online at All shows at 280 Meeting St. The Have Nots! Comedy Improv Company offers powerful improvisational comedy in Charleston’s longest running show. Shows on May 28, June 3 and June 11 at 8 p.m. OTHER THEATRE 99 SHOWS

Take the Funny and Run Bring your improv suggestions. May 27, June 4, June 10. All shows at 8 p.m.

Mary Kay Has a Posse Unforgettable night of all-female improv comedy. 7:30 p.m., June 9; and 6 p.m., June 11.

Piccolo Spoleto 2022 MAY 27–JUNE 12, 2022



The full name belies the family nature of this group, Finch Boys Improv, featuring Timmy Finch and the next generation. 8 p.m., June 2.


The Complete History of Charleston for Morons 350 years of Lowcountry history in 60 minutes. 6 p.m., May 28.

Clean Improv Comedy Show

You can bring your parents and kids to enjoy improv. 6 p.m., June 4.

Laughway to the Weekend

Midweek fun featuring up to three acts per night. 8 p.m, June 1 and 8.

THEATER Tickets online at

Boy Vey

A solo show ripped straight from Rachel’s teenage diary. 7 p.m. May 27 and 28; 1 p.m. May 29. Location: Cannon Street Arts Center, 134 Cannon St.


A heartfelt holiday comedy-drama by Colman Domingo and offered by Art Forms & Theatre Concepts. In the show, Dottie’s memory is slipping as her unique children clash over how to best care for her. Eight performances over 11 days. 8 p.m. on June 2, 3, 9, 10 and 11; 2 p.m., June 4; 3 p.m., 6 p.m., June 5; 3 p.m., June 12. Location: Queen Street Playhouse, 20 Queen St.

Secrets of Dracula ...Unearthed

Celebrate the 125th anniversary of Dracula with dramatic readings and more, including a Dracula scholar and descendant of writer Bram Stoker. 7:30 p.m. on June 2, 3 and 4; 2 p.m. on June 4 and 5. Location: Chapel Theater, 66 George St.

You Might As Well Live

A one-woman show that’s the story of literary icon Dorothy Parker. 7:30 p.m., June 4; and 3 p.m. June. 5. Location: Threshold Repertory Theatre, 84 Society St.

Stelle Di Domani

Stelle Di Domani is a broad, lively series by students, faculty and alumni of the College of Charleston of Charleston’s award-winning Department of Theatre and Dance. All shows at the College of Charleston’s Chapel Theatre, 172 Calhoun St., Charleston. This season’s performances include a play about growing old without aging (The Swing of the Sea), a one-person show about an 18-year-old’s coming out (Over the Rainbow); the festival’s first stage readings in three years, and modern dance works by Annex Dance Company that celebrate the resilience of human connection (Beautifully Weathered).

The Swing of the Sea

6 p.m., May 27 and May 29; 3 p.m. May 28 and May 31; 7 p.m., May 30.

Over the Rainbow

Beautiful Weathered 7 p.m., June 9; 6 p.m., June 10.

L’ORGANO Musicians will explore the range of pipe organs in nine churches throughout the Holy City in Piccolo Spoleto’s annual L’Organo performances. Learn more about the music and locations online at Free, but contributions welcome. 3 p.m. May 29: Michael Ging 10 a.m., May 30: Nicholas Quardokus 10 a.m., May 31: Eric Pickford 10 a.m., June 1: John Alexander 10 a.m., June 2: Rees Taylor Roberts 10 a.m., June 3: Timothy Tikker 3 p.m., June 5: Anthony Rispo 10 a.m., June 6: Daniel Sansone 10 a.m., June 7: Julia Harlow 10 a.m., June 8: Debra Dickensheets 10 a.m., June 9: Jacob Benda 10 a.m., June 10: Thomas Fielding

POETRY Sundown Poetry Series

Piccolo Spoleto’s annual Sundown Poetry Series features acclaimed poets who read from their work in the coziness of the Gibbes Museum of Art’s Lenhardt Garden (135 Meeting St.). Free. Performers during the first few days of the festival include: Laurel Blossom: 6 p.m., May 31. Ed Gold: 6 p.m., June 1. Lisa Hase-Jackson: 6 p.m., June 2. Cornelius Eady: 6 p.m., June 3.

A Coming Out Story: 6 p.m., May 28 and May 31; 3 p.m., May 29; 5 p.m., May 30.

Stage Readings from the Todd McNerney Playwriting Contest 4 p.m., May 31, June 1; 3 p.m., June 2 and June 3.


Mary Kay Has a Posse offers an unforgetable night with all-female improv.

Piccolo Spoleto, the official outreach arm of Spoleto Festival USA, was founded by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs in 1979. The 2022 Piccolo Spoleto Festival is funded in part by grants from the City of Charleston, and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Patrons with accessibility concerns should call or email the Office of Cultural Affairs at (843) 7247305 or email The Office of Cultural Affairs is open Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm. ©City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, 2022.

Family-Friendly Programming

Courtesy The V-Tones

Don’t be scared, the wildly upredictable, local ukulele/jug band V-Tones are for the whole family.

Piccolo pop-ups connect neighborhoods to annual festival Neighborhood parks and public places around Charleston will transform into pop-up performance spaces throughout this year’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival from May 27 to June 12. Scott Watson, director of the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, said ensuring the arts are accessible to everyone is at the heart of the outreach program. While the Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto Festivals has meant art programming was happening in Charleston, parking concerns or waiting too long to buy tickets meant a big local audience wasn’t engaging with either festival, he said. “Our attitude was this was entirely a missed opportunity to intervene and just bring the

arts directly to people, particularly families, right in their backyard,” said Watson.

How the program popped up The pop-up program as it exists today was formalized between 2014 and 2015 after several years of trial runs. Watson’s team works with neighborhood service staff, council members and neighborhood self-nominations to select geographically diverse pop-up locations across the peninsula. Then, a roster of local artists–such as The V-Tones of Charleston–bring free, family friendly entertainment to their neighbors’ backyards. “Putting in those pop-ups, like in Allen


City of Charleston Office of Cutural Affairs

Lawn chairs and strollers are welcome at neighborhood pop-up events throughout the festival. Learn where they are on the festival’s social media accounts.

By Katherine Kiessling



Piccolo Spoleto 2022 MAY 27–JUNE 12, 2022





Park or the Greenway, is a way to saturate the art of Charleston down into the neighborhoods and make it easier for parents and kids to get out,” said Noodle McDoodle, The V-Tones’s co-founder and ukulele player. “And personally, our band is a little anarchic, so we’re always interested in doing free, fun, interesting shows and playing situations that are new to us.” Because the pop-ups focus on family friendly programming and not all kids are (or can be) vaccinated, Watson said they aren’t planning any large-scale pop-up events that would draw large, concentrated crowds. The outdoor nature of the venues, though, means there will still be plenty of pop-up options to choose from. “Now that we’ve had years of the pandemic, it really made us value live performances, and it makes every performance really, really special,” McDoodle said.

Putting in those popups, like in Allen Park or the Greenway, is a way to saturate the art of Charleston down into the neighborhoods and make it easier for parents and kids to get out.” —Noodle McDoodle

something that you hear about from a friend a week out and say, ‘hey, let’s go and give that a try.’ ” McDoodle said he enjoys seeing The V-Tone’s swing and jazz music resonate with audiences of all ages. He said he’ll look out and see older folks fondly rememHow pop-ups work bering the music of their past next to The pop-ups, which run throughout young kids bopping along to the rhythm– the 17-day festival, are announced a toddler even plopped himself onstage through Piccolo’s social media channels during one of the band’s pop-ups. The pop-ups also provide a platform and newsletter the week they occur to for local artists to showcase their talcoordinate with the weather forecast. ents. Local art and music teachers, for And due to the unpredictable nature of example, have a chance to be seen as Charleston’s storm season, unexpected sophisticated professional studio pracweather interruptions can happen. titioners or phenomenal composers and Watson said one year that a deluge multi-instrumentalists. flooded avenue shortly after one band “That’s kind of the magic that we wrapped its set, causing the rest of the share,” said Watson. “The pop-ups are a concert to be canceled. McDoodle said chance to reinforce community and build The V-Tones have had some close calls, a sense of civic pride, but also to remind but the payoff of performing for the Charlestonians that the arts reside in every community is worth the gamble. corner of the community.” “If your name is Noodle, you’ve got to be Even though pop-up planning is intenflexible,” McDoodle said. tional, Watson acknowledges some places Following the Festival’s Facebook and may get overlooked, such as a newly renoTwitter accounts is the best way to keep vated park or a space available through up-to-date on any delayed, rescheduled or a Homeowners’ Association. The Office canceled events. And the flexibility of the of Cultural Affairs encourages neighborartists and audiences, paired with back-up dates and venues, means rain won’t dampen hoods to reach out directly if residents have a proposed pop-up space so the prothe spirit of the pop-ups. gram can continue bridging the Spoleto “I feel it’s almost like throwing a kid’s Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto Festivals birthday party when they’re young to the community. enough that they don’t know what their “Now that people are more in the loop, actual birthday is,” said Watson. “They’re they’re coming over prepared,” Watson said. just excited to see the cake and the hats “They’re loading up their little red wagon and the streamers.” with their folding chairs, with a picnic, with the Paw Patrol airplane full of toys for the Flexibility is a key to success kids and having a nice evening out.” The flexible scheduling also works well for busy families and last-minute planners. “The intention is to offer some quick Katherine Kiessling is a graduate student in the and easy fun, not make it the calendar item that you need to fix in your planning Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications Program at Syracuse University. six weeks out,” said Watson, “but more






HOSTING AN EVENT? For more information on using City Paper Tickets for your next event contact us at