No upcoming perfomances found for this event.
Now Indoors! Simulcast Outdoors!
Due to the recent high temperatures in Charleston and our wish to create an enjoyable experience for all patrons, the Orchestrating Freedom outdoor concert has been moved inside of the Gaillard Center’s Martha & John M. Rivers Performance Hall.
Please RSVP even if you plan on attending the event outdoors. Your RSVP does not guarantee a seat within the performance hall. Seating within the performance hall is limited and is first come, first served. Doors open at 4pm. However, the free indoor performance will also be simulcast outside of the Gaillard Center for those that wish to enjoy an outdoor experience! Plus, Partly Cloudy brings their funky soul, infectious grooves, and relentless energy outdoors at 3:45pm. Food trucks and an outdoor bar will be open outside of the Gaillard before the Orchestrating Freedom concert—we hope to see you there!
This one-hour reflection and celebration of Charleston’s continued pursuit of freedom in alignment with the bicentennial recognition of the execution of Denmark Vesey and his 33 associates. The program highlights the promise of America, the promise of freedom and pursuit of liberty, in juxtaposition to the experience of Vesey and other enslaved individuals endeavors on the same soil.
The promise of America is illustrated by Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” a fanfare born out of wartime but dedicated to the citizens experiencing the pains of war, with simultaneous poems outlining what America should be.
The presence of Antonin Dvorak and James Reese Europe is brought forward for their respective and tied efforts to fight for equality in music and in society. It was Dvorak who first championed the voice of African-America folk idioms and traditions to be the very identity of American classical music. His legacy led to James Reese Europe – one of WWI’s most decorated heroes, composer, band leader of the Harlem Hellfighter, and pioneer for jazz having a global presence. Through his efforts domestically and abroad Reese Europe is very much the 20th century echo of Denmark Vesey.
An acknowledgment of reflection of 34 persons executed via recitation of their names during Adolphus Hailstork’s “Epitaph for a Man Who Dreamed,” a work Hailstork wrote in dedication to the lifework and martyrdom of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Select movements of Joel Thompson’s “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed,” a work written as unflinching look gazed at one of our modern day struggles for freedom and agency as each movement is written for an unarmed black man who was killed by law enforcement.
The program ends not in hope but expectation and renewal of fervor with Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” and John Legend/Common’s “Glory” from the film Selma.
PROGRAM (Runtime 1 hour)
Charleston Symphony & Lowcountry Voices
James Johnson & John P. Johnson, arranged by Roland Carter
Lift Every Voice and Sing
Fanfare for the Common Man
Overture to Denmark Vesey
Slavonic Dances, Op. 46 No. 2 Dumka
James Reese Europe
Castle House Rag
Margaret Pleasant Douroux
Cynthia Chinasaokwuo Echeumuna-Erivo / Joshuah Brian Campbell
Arranged: Mac Huff
Charleston Symphony & Lowcountry Voices
Epitaph for a Man Who Dreamed
Seven Last Words of the Unarmed
A Change is Gonna Come
John Legend and Common
Glory from Selma
TICKETS: There will be no formal tickets issued to this event as it is free.
SEATING: Seating inside the Martha & John M. Rivers Performance Hall is first come, first served. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs for seating outside to watch the simulcast. (An RSVP does not guarantee a seat within the performance hall.)
WEATHER: In the event of sudden severe weather, the indoor portion of the concert will continue as planned. Seats inside the hall will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. All outdoor activities will be canceled. Please check our website and social media for updates on the day of the event.
CONCESSIONS: Café 95 will open at 3pm. Food trucks and the outdoor bar will be open beginning at 4pm. No outside food or drinks will be permitted during the event. Food trucks include Bert & T’s Desserts, Drew’s Heavenly French Fry Creations LLC, Sweet Manna Creations, and Sweetgrass Foodz.
EDUCATION CORNER: Prior to the Orchestrating Freedom Concert on Saturday, July 16th, caregivers and children are invited to join us in the Denmark Vesey Education Corner. Let us explain the story of Denmark Vesey through storytelling and watercolor quilts.
- 3:00pm-5:00pm Education Corner open for quilt painting
- 3:30pm-3:45pm The Resilience of Denmark Vesey for Kids with Professor Damon Fordham
- 4:15pm-4:30pm The Resilience of Denmark Vesey for Kids with Professor Damon Fordham (Second Session)
TURNING PAGE BOOKSHOP: Turning Page Bookshop will host a bookshop from 5pm – 9pm on Saturday, July 16. (They will also be present on Thursday and Friday.) The bookshop will include works from featured speakers and performers as well as other incredible Black authors, and will include literature for both adults and children. Turning Page Bookshop is an independently owned bookstore located in Goose Creek, S.C. It is the only African American brick and mortar bookstore in the state of South Carolina.
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY: Photography and videography will be allowed during the Orchestrating Freedom free concert! Share your images with us on social by tagging @GaillardCenter, @iaamuseum, and @motheremanuel_ame_official and using the hashtag #Vesey200.
The Charleston Gaillard Center is taking still photography and video during this event. By entering this area, you irrevocably consent to authorize the Gaillard Management Corporation, its successors, assignees and licensees, to photos and recordings of you and to use said photographs and/or recordings for worldwide use, in perpetuity in any and all media, whether now or hereafter devised, for any purpose whatsoever. All such photographs and recordings shall be the sole property of the Gaillard Management Corporation and you release the Gaillard Management Corporation its successors, assignees and licensees, from any and all liability on account of such usage. If you do not wish to be subject to the foregoing, please notify the photographer, videographer, or staff member.
PROHIBITED ITEMS: Some prohibited items include pets, coolers, outside food and beverages, illicit or illegal substances, and weapons of any kind (including pocket knives and firearms).
ACCESSIBILITY: Sensory Bags can be checked out at the Ticket Office prior to the performance. Transport wheelchairs are available upon request. For additional assistance, please reach out to a member of our Usher or House Management Team.
PARKING ALERT: Anson Street will be closed 2:00pm – 9:00pm. Calhoun Street will be closed 3:30pm – 4:00pm. Please plan you arrival accordingly.
PARKING GARAGES: Parking is available in the City of Charleston Garage adjacent to the facility at 33 Alexander St, as well as the City of Charleston Garage near the Aquarium located at 24 Calhoun St. Both garages accept cash and credit cards. The closest accessible parking spaces are located in the City of Charleston garage at 33 Alexander St. If you have an accessible tag or license plate, you do not have to pay any fee to park in the garage.
SHUTTLE SERVICE: There will be a shuttle service from the Aquarium Garage to the Charleston Gaillard Center. Shuttles will begin at 3:00pm and end at 1:30am.
Gaillard Center partner and resident orchestra, the Charleston Symphony is one of the leading arts organizations in the Southeast. The CSO strives to not only be recognized for both performance and presentation of the highest quality music, but also to engage and enrich people of all backgrounds and beliefs through culturally meaningful and relevant programming for our communities.
Lowcountry Voices is a multicultural and ethnically diverse choral performing arts organization based in North Charleston, SC. It performs all genres of choral music with an emphasis on African American music performed in the South Carolina Lowcountry tradition.
Turning awesome events into epic everlasting memories, #PartlyCloudy Brass Band delivers that ideology whenever they are called. Led by Orangeburg, SC native Clyde Frazier III, this ensemble brings a different element to the scene with their funky soul, infectious grooves, their relentless energy, and ability to make their audience move. #PartlyCloudy
Osei Terry Chandler is the widowed father of three adult offspring. A retired educator, he was the Director of the Educational Opportunity Center at Trident Technical College.
Osei continues to voluntarily produce and host the Roots Musik Karamu for South Carolina Public Radio. This Caribbean oriented music program has been broadcasting since April, 1979… Over 42 years. He’s received many awards and honors. Chandler was recently inducted into the Lowcountry Music Hall of Fame.
Chandler’s voice can be heard on the “Weekend Jazz” segment of the widely syndicated”Jazz Works” programs.
Because of his various involvements and commitments Osei has been called a “communityactivist”. Osei’s family, (along with four or five other families), was among the first to practice Kwanzaa publically in Charleston in 1978. He co – founded the still active Ebony City Soccer Club – “The Li’l Peles”; he is co- founder of the Charleston Remembrance Program (an annual commemoration to the African ancestors who perished during the Middle Passage); Osei has served as President of the Avery Institute of Afro-American History & Culture and as Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Avery Research Center.
Chandler has hosted a good number of concerts; he has facilitated and participated in a variety of presentations and panels relative to the enlightenment and upliftment of his family and his community.
Osei Terry Chandler holds a high school diploma from the legendary Boys High School in Brooklyn; Bachelor of Arts degree from MacMurray College and Masters Degree in Counseling from Webster University.
Denmark Vesey Education Corner
Saturday, July 16 | 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Prior to the Orchestrating Freedom Concert on Saturday, July 16th, caregivers and children are invited to join us in the Denmark Vesey Education Corner. Let us explain the story of Denmark Vesey through storytelling and watercolor quilts.
The children’s corner will be open Saturday, July 16 from 3:00pm-5:00pm on the first floor of the Gaillard Center.
Using quilt symbols that assisted in the path to freedom and colors of Africa, children will paint two canvas quilt squares using watercolors. The children will leave one quilt square behind that will be used to create one large quilt, which will represent a piece of all of those within our community, and will take one quilt square home so they too have a story to tell.
In addition to the art project, the Gaillard Center’s Education & Community Program is honored to present two storytelling sessions with local scholar, Professor Damon Fordham. Professor Fordham will lead two fifteen minute children’s storytelling sessions to pass on the remarkable story of Denmark Vesey.
Turning Page Bookshop will host a bookshop from 5pm – 9pm on Saturday, July 16. (They will also be present on Thursday and Friday.) The bookshop will include works from featured speakers and performers as well as other incredible Black authors, and will include literature for both adults and children.
A full schedule of the Education Corner is below:
3:00pm-5:00pm Education Corner open for quilt painting
3:30pm-3:45pm The Resilience of Denmark Vesey for Kids with Professor Damon Fordham
4:15pm-4:30pm The Resilience of Denmark Vesey for Kids with Professor Damon Fordham (Second Session)
Bookstore will be open:
Please RSVP below if you plan to join us in the Gaillard Center’s Denmark Vesey Education Corner.
Damon Lamar Fordham was born in Spartanburg, SC on December 23, 1964 to Anne Montgomery and was adopted by Pearl and Abraham Fordham of Mt. Pleasant, SC the following year. He received his Master’s Degree in history from the College of Charleston and the Citadel, and his undergraduate degrees at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. He is currently an adjunct professor of World Civilizations, United States, and African-American History at Charleston Southern University and The Citadel in Charleston, SC and has taught US History and African-American Studies at the College of Charleston. He was a weekly columnist for the Charleston Coastal Times from 1994 to 1998, as well as the author of The 1895 Segregation Fight in South Carolina (Charleston: History Press, 2022), Mr. Potts and Me (Charleston: Evening Post Books, 2012) Voices of Black South Carolina-Legend and Legacy (Charleston: History Press, 2009), True Stories of Black South Carolina (Charleston: History Press, 2008) and coauthor of Born to Serve-The Story of the WBEMC in South Carolina in 2006.
Research and articles by Mr. Fordham appear in the books Sweetgrass Baskets and the Gullah Tradition by Joyce Coakley, South of Main by Beatrice Hill and Brenda Lee, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African-American Folklore for the University of Missouri Press, Cecil Williams and Sonny DuBose’s Orangeburg 1968, and The Malcolm X Encyclopedia for the University of Southern Mississippi Press in 2001. He has also commented on history and storytelling for numerous radio and television programs in the United States, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom. He was on a ten day tour of Senegal and Gambia, West Africa, with fellow educators where he spoke to students at the University of The Gambia in May 2022. He has also appeared on the NBC LX News and CBS Sunday Morning in 2022.
He conducts a walking tour called “The Lost Stories of Black Charleston, and has received a citation form the South Carolina House of Representatives for his work in education, historical research, and social justice. He was also on an educational fact finding visit to Senegal and Gambia, West Africa, where he toured the Slave Port at Gorre Island and spoke to a class of students at the University of Gambia in Banjul.
His motto is Educate yourself to lead yourself, for if you wait on others to show you the way, you will wait for a long time.
Turning Page Bookshop is an independently owned bookstore located in Goose Creek, S.C. It is the only African American brick and mortar bookstore in the state of South Carolina. Turning Page Bookshop is evolving to be recognized as a type of community center, a meeting place to socialize with friends, to meet new friends who share a common interest, to participate in various group activities, to attend readings, author signings, exhibitions of student art, and special community events which the store would either host or participate in. We also intend to provide and be accepted and recognized as a safe haven for children, and so a place to be trusted in our customers’ collective awareness.
Denmark Vesey Bicentenary | July 14 – 16
The Charleston Gaillard Center, a leader for performing arts in the Southeast, is partnering with Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and the soon-to-open International African American Museum (IAAM), to mark the bicentenary of freedom fighter Denmark Vesey’s planned uprising to free the enslaved people of Charleston through three days of free and paid cultural performances and conversations. Taking place July 14-16, 2022, the Gaillard Center will open its doors to the Charleston community to acknowledge America’s difficult history of race and slavery, and use arts and entertainment to bridge divides, build dialogues, and support healing in a city that historically saw some of the first enslaved men, women and children enter through its port, and only six years ago, witnessed the racially motivated murder of nine congregants at Mother Emanuel AME Church.
Consisting of discussion panels, musical and comedy performances, and installations, the three-day initiative will bring together prominent artists, scholars, educators, and the community to reflect on Denmark Vesey—a formerly enslaved man and respected, multilingual church leader and businessman—and redefine his place in American history. Attendees will participate in a vital journey of acknowledgement and exploration of the past, present, and future with conversations that reckon with the abominable truths and ongoing repercussions of slavery. The weekend will also include and center performances that aim to facilitate healing through the arts.
Thursday, July 14 at 7:30pm – Truth be Told: Vesey
Friday, July 15 at 8:00pm – Performance by multi-platinum singer, songwriter, producer, and actor Anthony Hamilton
Saturday, July 16 at 5:00pm – Orchestrating Freedom: a free concert featuring the Charleston Symphony and Lowcountry Voices
Saturday, July 16 at 9:00pm – Performance by Comedian DL Hughley
Learn more about all the events at gaillardcenter.org/denmark-vesey/.