For Immediate Release

Media Contacts: Melanie Mathos / Hannah Nuccio
Lou Hammond & Associates /
(843) 371-1363 / (843) 410-5306


Charleston Chamber Opera Presents "Songs for the Spirit—Opera and the African American Experience"

At the Gibbes Museum of Art on Sunday, May 6 at 3pm

(April 4, 2012 - Charleston, South Carolina) – Charleston Chamber Opera and the Gibbes Museum of Art are partnering for an afternoon of art and opera in the Gibbes Rotunda on Sunday, May 6 at 3pm. Performed in conjunction with the North Charleston Arts Festival and with the exhibition Places for the Spirit: Traditional African American Gardens of the South as a backdrop, Charleston Chamber Opera will present Songs for the Spirit—Opera and the African American Experience. The operatic performance showcases excerpts from Scott Joplin’s opera Treemonisha as well as additional selections from African American composers. Famous for creating such ragtime gems as The Maple Leaf Rag, Joplin wrote a spellbinding tale of life in a post-Civil War plantation, and how the power of one voice can change a community. This concert features three of South Carolina's most promising emerging singers as part of the inaugural Young Artist Program of Charleston Chamber Opera.

Featured performers are baritone Darius Gillard, soprano Taylor Johnson, mezzo-soprano Ginger Jones, and pianist Lynn Kompass.

“We are pleased to partner with the talented performers from Charleston Chamber Opera on the opening weekend of our Places for the Spirit exhibition. It is always fascinating to see how our exhibitions inspire their program selection and we look forward to a wonderful blending of music and the visual arts on May 6,” said Gibbes Executive Director Angela D. Mack.

Tickets for Songs for the Spirit are $15 for museum members and students and $25 for non-members (museum admission is included in the ticket price). Tickets can be purchased online at, at the Gibbes Museum Store, or by calling 722-2706 x22. Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended.

This exhibition, on view from May 4 through September 9, showcases a stunning collection of photographs documenting African American folk gardens­—and their creators— by fine art photographer Vaughn Sills. The landscapes that Sills documents have a unique historical significance due to the design elements and spiritual meanings that have been traced to the yards and gardens of American slaves and further back to their African heritage. These seemingly whimsical arrangements are actually subtle and symbolic reminders of the divine in everyday life and the cycles of the natural world.

Charleston Chamber Opera is a professional opera company dedicated to presenting its audiences with innovative and high quality performances in small venues providing a more intimate experience than traditional grand opera. The company’s hallmarks are creative programming and inventive educational outreach to enrich the community.

Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905 in historic Charleston, S.C. The Gibbes houses one of the foremost collections of American Art from the 18th century to the present. The Gibbes is currently undergoing major renovations and will reopen in the spring of 2016. The renovated museum will properly showcase its extensive collections and will feature an admission-free ground floor, providing a place to watch artists at work in studios and stroll through a world-class garden.

135 Meeting Street | Charleston, SC | 29401