Friday, April 12, 2013
Aspiring musicians have found a home at the Charleston County School of the Arts, where band director Basil Kerr is engaged in one of the toughest jobs in arts today, securing sufficient funding to keep the music playing at a time when districts perennially threaten to slash arts budgets. Who better to sell his message than the band members themselves, who will provide the entertainment for “A Swing Thing on King,” a 40s era, big band dance party to be held on Friday, April 12, from 7 to 11 p.m. in the Francis Marion Hotel Colonial Ballroom. The evening will feature the SOA’s much acclaimed Jazz Band as well as other ensembles who will put the spotlight on this high quality music education offered to our Charleston County public school students.
“This band program is capable of competing nationally among the most elite high school bands in the country,” says Kerr. “I select each band student and want to see every individual talent developed to its full potential. “But despite the talent they exhibit sometimes financial considerations keep us from taking them as far as they can go. These are the young arts leaders of the future, and we could be engaging them more in community events, where they would get more performance experience and at the same time inspire younger students across the district to pursue their own artistic dreams, Kerr adds.”
The SOA band boasts some talented alumni who are part of Charleston’s rich and diverse musical scene today. For his meritorious service fostering young musical artists SOA Band Boosters will be presenting its inaugural “Treble” award to local jazz phenom Charlton Singleton during the evening’s festivities. In addition to live music and dancing, there will be food, libations, and a silent and live auction. Community donations of cash, gift cards and other contributions are most welcome. Annually, the School of the Arts accepts about 100 of the most talented band students from all over the county, who audition for admission to this unique arts-based education experience, the only one of its kind in Charleston County. But locally, Kerr says, the county still doesn’t appreciate what it has in this little known community treasure. He hopes an annual event like this will reach out to the community’s arts patrons and garner the kind of involvement and support that is vital to nurture and develop our future musicians.
“It has been established in fact that participation in an instrumental band program is a key indicator of success in school for many kids, and unfortunately we have too many low performing schools where music programs are no longer available to the students,” according to Kerr. “Our students not only get a first-rate education, but the chance to explore where music can take them artistically,” adds Kerr. “And being part of something bigger than themselves teaches them life lessons which are of inestimable value as they pursue their future plans.”