PRESS RELEASE - The Four Freedoms - Piccolo Spoleto Festival
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Emily Miller
520 Folly Dr., 25-170
Charleston, SC 29412
MT PLEASANT, SC - Audiences are raving about the patriotic Piccolo Spoleto concert entitled “The Four Freedoms - A Tribute To Norman Rockwell.” The June 9th performance that drew nearly 400 guests, was hosted by East Cooper Baptist Church in honor of the 75th anniversary of illustrator Norman Rockwell’s famed series of paintings: Freedom Of Speech, Freedom From Want, Freedom From Fear, and Freedom Of Worship.
The soaring, Broadway-style score was written by Charleston’s very own sister duo, “Gracie & Lacy,” with intricate orchestrations and selections by Jonathan Gathman of St. Louis. Additional featured music was composed by Michael Ramshaw who made an unannounced appearance at the show - surprising even Gracie & Lacy! It was the first time in over a decade that all four of the collaborators have worked on a show together.
Local vocalist Benjamin Seabrook starred as Norman Rockwell, belting out the message of freedom with his rich baritone voice, and conveying the depth of each line with his commanding presence. Norman’s infamous sidekick, Mead Schaefer, was played by Jay White with brilliant comedic timing. Both were interviewed old-time-radio-style throughout the show by WTMA’s popular morning show host, Charlie James, who, not surprisingly, played the role of “Radio Announcer” with great ease.
The production team was comprised of over 70 volunteers. The talents of the East Cooper Baptist Orchestra and Choir were well showcased as the orchestra branched out from their usual repertoire into the reed-bending swing vibe of the 1940s. The choir traded in their navy choir robes for throwback fashions, compete with hats, gloves, and a smattering of bowties and pearls. One choir member, Linda Champion, shared that her grandfather had actually posed for some of Norman Rockwell’s work.
The musical numbers centered around the Four Freedoms paintings and themes from the World War Two era. The moving lullaby “Light In The Open Door” was beautifully interpreted by Elena Cope, followed by the powerful “Hannah’s Song” performed by Lacy Miller with guest ballerina, Grace Rauton. There were lighter moments too, as the famous Thanksgiving dinner painting came to life - and drawing upon one of Rockwell’s real-life experiences - the turkey went flying at the end of the piece! Audiences also enjoyed the humorous song about rationing nylons, performed à la Andrews Sisters, and the very lively Ward Bond Show finale which featured projected slides of veterans and military and culminated with the return of a soldier played by local singer, Omar Valencia.
Local artist, Seth Kimble created in-progress renderings of Rockwell’s paintings for the show. The official images, as published by the Saturday Evening Post, were projected through special arrangement with Curtis Publishing to complement the heartfelt “Painter’s Song Reprise” which received a standing ovation. Among the crowd was former First Lady of South Carolina, Ann Edwards, sitting in the second row. While unable to attend, Medal of Honor recipient, General James Livingston sent this quote, “The remembrance of such an iconic American [Norman Rockwell] will take us all down memory lane. Thanks for the memories.”
Special thanks to all of the volunteers who made this event possible including our sponsors, East Cooper Baptist Church, Rebecca Motte NSDAR chapter, Piccolo Spoleto Festival, and the community of all those who love and deeply appreciate our Four Freedoms!
To learn more about Gracie & Lacy and their future plans for the “Four Freedoms - A Tribute To Norman Rockwell,” visit: GracieAndLacy.com