Lowcountry Voices concert honors Nelson Mandela

A sample of Shibori dyeing with indigo. A workshop will be held at the Charleston Museum on Saturday.

It's nice when a relatively new choir is finding success, and such is the case with Lowcountry Voices, a choir found by Nathan Nelson and Sandra Barnhardt.

The choir was formed in 2012 and was embraced by the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, making it the official choir for the city. In its first season, the choir presented several concerts across the region and in May, was invited to sing at the Prayer Breakfast for the National Council of Black Mayors in Atlanta.

So the concert coming up at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Mt. Zion AME Church should be a good one. It's new performance, "Lift Every Voice," made up of anthems, hymns and spirituals is a tribute to the life and legacy of world leader Nelson Mandela. The choir is also honoring Bishop Frederick James as the first recipient of its Living Legend Award.

The performance will included nationally acclaimed guest conductors Roland Carter and Vivian Jones. Carter is a noted composer and arranger of African-American spirituals and will conduct several of his choral works. Jones will direct the choir in several hymns such as "It Is Well" and "Precious Lord." She is known for her work with the Choraliers, CSO Gospel Choir and Burke High School.

Bishop James, 91, is being honored for his many accomplishments, including serving on White House advisory boards, being presiding bishop of the AME Church in South Africa, a college professor, a theological seminary dean, a social and political action leader and a champion of the civil rights movement.

James will present a poem he wrote about Mandela that Mandela later requested a copy.

With such illustrious conductors and honorees, this is a concert to see. Tickets are $15. For ticket information go to www.lowcountry voices.com.

Fashionista history

I love it when I can mix a little history and a little fashion. First, the Charleston Museum is continuing its accessories exhibition with my favorite topic, purses.

This exhibit goes until April 27 and looks at 200 years of handbags. A great purse is a treasure, and a fairly timeless piece of fashion art, so many chic women love to carry vintage purses. This exhibit gives the true fashionista a look at styles gone by so that they can understand that flea market find.

But of course, it also includes a famous ostrich feather purse titled "Breakfast at Tiffany's, 2003," by noted Charleston designer Mary K. Norton. She's designed bags for the rich and famous, and more than one of her creations have been down the Oscar red carpet. Her work is trendsetting for the Vogue-minded, and worth some serious study.

Another favorite look is the delicate mesh bags so popular in the 1920s. These add a certain flair to an evening look and can still be found reasonably priced wherever vintage looks are sold.

Shibori and indigo

Also at the Charleston Museum is a textile dyeing workshop working with the local dye, indigo. The pigment is the color in blue jeans but has deep ties to Charleston.

A woman planter, Eliza Lucas Pinckney, made her family fortune by planting and shipping the dye prior to the Revolutionary War. It was one of Charleston's first cash crops and helped establish the city as a marketplace.

So learning the technique of shibori dyeing with indigo at a workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday is a mix of two ideas. Shibori is the Japanese art of fold- and bind-resist dyeing that yields patterns ranging from stripes, chevrons, water-like striations and repeated geometric shapes to circles and ovals.

Students will learn how to create an assortment of patterns and will keep a journal of how they were able to create their designs.

Participants will leave the workshop with patterns on cotton yardage and cotton gauze. The materials and supplies are provided by the instructor. Cost is $50 for museum members, $60 for nonmembers.

Advance registration is required. For all the events at the museum go to www.charlestonmuseum.org or call 722-2996, ext. 235.

Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557 or sharvin@postandcourier.com.

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