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Tuesday 13 November 2018
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Holiday Sea Island Celebration

When the Gullah Kinfolk get together to practice, it’s a family reunion, a prayer meeting, a celebration and a very serious commitment to their art, all at once. They arrive after a full day’s work, after dinner, and after dark.  They are there to prepare for their annual Christmas show with their Director, Anita Prather, or as you may know her, Aunt Pearlie Sue.
This really is a family reunion, for many of the group are related, and those who aren’t related by blood might as well be, because their bonds are strong and long-standing. Rehearsal is not only serious business, but it is also a time to catch up with each other’s news and watch each other’s children grow up.
And it really is a prayer meeting, because these singers pair their commitment to the presentation of their Gullah heritage with their faith in God and a desire to praise him, and the songs they sing reflect that.  Most have learned to sing in church choirs, and the level of talent and professionalism is very high.
When Aunt Pearlie Sue and the Gullah Kinfolk perform, they make you feel like part of that loving family.  Their joy in singing together is palpable and infectious, and they take you in – you are no longer a stranger.   It doesn’t matter whether or not you can carry a tune; you will find yourself singing with them – in spirit, if not in fact.
The full-stage musical, “Gullah Christmas Wish…Freedom Coming” has become a holiday favorite. This presentation is intended for people of all ages and races who want to catch the holiday spirit. It will be held on December 1st at 7:00 PM at USCB’s Performing Arts Center.
This musical performance depicts the last Christmas before the Civil War. It’s an historical account of December of 1860 and South Carolina has just seceded from the Union. The War of Freedom is the talk by both servant and master. The audience will get a glimpse into the “Quarters” and “Big House.”
Through soul-stirring, foot stopping singing and dancing, the audience is drawn into the excitement of the Yuletide season on a South Carolina Sea Island plantation. The show has become very popular with travelers near and far who wish to experience the spirit of the season. People have traveled from as far as London, England to see this performance.
Friday, December 7 through Sunday, December 9
7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, Original Musical, University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts
It’s December of 1860, the last Christmas before the Civil War and Reconstruction is soon to come. Masters in the “Big House” are talking about war coming while servants in their quarters are talking about freedom coming.  Join Aunt Pearlie Sue & The Gullah Kinfolk as they bring all that history alive during a special Yuletide Season Celebration on the Sea Islands of historic Beaufort South Carolina – the real Wakanda!
The group will lift you up with this special holiday weekend by delivering a rousing and inspirational, original musical, Gullah Kinfolk Christmas Wish… Freedom Comin’ on Friday, December 7, at 7 p.m. at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort’s Center for the Arts, 801 Carteret St., Beaufort, S.C.
The set depicts a South Carolina plantation shortly after the state secedes from the Union. The anticipation of freedom is expressed by the servants through jubilant song and dance on stage. The performance is anchored by the artful story-telling of Aunt Pearlie Sue, portrayed by Anita Singleton Prather. The show is intended for all people – of any age and any race. Performers hope to touch each audience member with the deep faith and loving spirit of the Gullah People.
Prather is a veteran educator, ordained minister and nationally-acclaimed storyteller and writer. She performed before the United Nations in 2016 and recently at the World Bank in Washington, DC. She has been featured, along with Gullah Kinfolk, on CNN’s Emmy winning, United Shades of America hosted by comedian Kamau Bell. She has appeared on other television networks including the Food Network Channel, PBS and SCETV. She produced and starred in the film, My Man Done Me Wrong, which was screened at film festivals around the nation. Prather and the Gullah Kinfolk were also featured in the made-for-television film Circle Unbroken… From Africa to America.
Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. Admission is $12 for those aged 7 to 17. Advance reservations may be made by calling the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce at (843) 986-1102 or visit www.bcbcc.org.  Information for out of town visitors regarding hotel and meal packages is also available.
Friday, December 7, Student Day Shows, 9:30, 10:30 & 11:30 a.m. USCB Center for the Arts
An abbreviated version of the Friday evening performance of the original musical, Gullah Kinfolk Christmas Wish… Freedom Comin’ is scheduled at USCB at 9:30, 10:30 & 11:30 a.m.
Admission is $9 for students and $15 for senior citizens.
Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7 & 8, Gullah Reconstruction Tours
“Kno’ Yo Gullah…Kno Yo Roots” Find out about the rich unique Gullah heritage of Beaufort Sea Islands…the real Wakanda! Fun and educational two-hour tours of Beaufort’s nationally-recognized Reconstruction monuments are offered at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8 starting at the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce Multiplex Center, 711 Bladen Street.
Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 children under 17.
Saturday, Dec. 8, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A Taste of A Gullah Christmas Buffet, Artist Showcase, Vendor’s Marketplace, Trees on Da’ Piazza & Live Entertainment.
Come enjoy lip-smacking, finger-licking, Gullahlicious Holiday Dishes prepared by some of the finest cooks ’round dese parts, beautiful, unique Gullah Arts & Crafts, Open House Tour, a live Christmas variety show and so much more! Cost for food is $20 adults and $10 for children.
Beautifully decorated Trees on Da’ Piazza will be available for viewing and purchase. Proceeds from sales will be donated to the United Community Task Force Youth Program. Location for this event will be the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce Multiplex Center, 711 Bladen Street.
Sunday, Dec. 9, 12:30 and 2 p.m.,
Christmas High Tea & Gullah Storytelling
St. Helena Island, a vibrant community of old live oaks and Gullah culture, is the location for this lovely afternoon event held at the Sea Island Center, 876 Sea Island Pkwy, St. Helena Island. There will be plenty of teapots and Christmas goodies for guests along with storytelling and music with Gullah Kinfolk CDs and DVDs for sale. Admission is $35 adults and $15 for those under 17.
Sunday, Dec. 9, Noon, St. Helena Island Gullah Tour
See the historic and beautiful Brick Baptist Church built in 1855, Penn Center (one of the first schools for emancipated people in the south), the Martin Luther King Cottage (where Dr. King found sanctuary and inspiration during the Civil Rights movement) the haunting ruins of the Chapel of Ease, the great folk art of famed native son Sam Doyle, the remarkable Lands End Woodlands, historic Ft Freemont, the praise houses of Coffin Pt and Eddings Pt. and the Red Piano Art and Co-op Building. Meet at the Sea Island Center, 876 Sea Island Pkwy, St. Helena Island, SC Tickets are $35.
Saturday, Dec. 8, Fri. & Sat. Dec. 14, 15, 21 & 22, 7 p.m., Gullah Jazz Cafe Christmas Dinner Theater & Gullah Soul food Buffet
Enjoy live music, entertainment & dancing with *drinks and appetizers, buffet, dessert and coffee.  Perfect for your Holiday parties or Night on the Town. The location for this event will be the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce Multiplex Center, 711 Bladen Street (*Wine sold separately.) $45 per person.
For more information and reservations for these events contact the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce at (843) 986-1102 or visit www.bcbcc.org.  Information for out of town visitors regarding hotel and meal packages is also available.
Additional holiday festivities are being offered the weekend of Dec. 7 – 9 by the City of Beaufort and are listed at www.cityofbeaufort.org.
Experience the real Wakanda here in Beaufort and come home to us this Christmas season as we celebrate the rich beauty of our shared Gullah heritage!
“To God Be All the Glory for the Great Things He Has Done”