CALA-bash: Claflin celebrates arts and letters

By: Panther staff
Mar 31, 2017

PANTHER 2017 grevious on calabash

CALA-Bash chair Annette Grevious speaks to The Panther about CALA-Bash 2017. (Panther photo)

It began eight years ago with a desire by President Henry N. Tisdale to celebrate Claflin University's arts and letters legacy.

Today CALA-Bash (Claflin's Arts and Letters Annual Bash) has become an event spanning more than a week and featuring a variety of student and community talent. This year's festival kicked off March 30 and will continue through April 9.

"I have heard students refer to it as kind of like a second homecoming," said Annette Grevious, associate professor of speech and drama at Claflin. Grevious is the CALA-Bash chair and one of its founders.

CALA-Bash was founded during the university's 140th anniversary, Grevious said. "The president had the idea of wanting to celebrate the arts and letters and it was something that had been talked about for quite some time."

"The festival took off as a celebration of art, dance, music and theater," Grevious said. More talent from on campus was added, with the 2017 festival including events highlighting each department in the School of Humanities.

"I am proud of where the event has gone so far in eight years," Grevious said. "I look for it to grow even more."

Theater is a key component of this year's event, with the spring musical production "Carmen Jones" being performed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Center. Grevious is director of the musical, which features student and community performers.

The show opened Friday night, with performances following at 7:30 Saturday, and 3 p.m. and 7:30 Sunday.

On Monday, CALA-Bash kicks off in earnest with events including the Mass Communications Film Festival Winner's Showcase in the Grace Thomas Kennedy Building Auditorium at 5 p.m. Student-produced films in multiple categories will be screened and judged.

Later Monday at 8 p.m., International Film on The Green will be held in the Claflin Commons area featuring a Spanish film, "Under the Moon," Grevious said. A similar event at 8 p.m Wednesday will offer a Brazilian film, "Trash."

An added taste of the international comes with students being offered Spanish and Brazilian cuisine in the cafeteria on Monday and Wednesday respectively.

Tuesday's headline event features CNN political analyst Angela Rye, principal and CEO of Impact Strategies, at the Community Forum at the Orangeburg Arts Center in Edisto Memorial Gardens at 5 p.m. The forum will feature community leaders such the Orangeburg mayor pro tem and contributors from the Claflin Sociology Department.

Paint Night Out is a popular Tuesday event during which adults and children from the community come together to create artwork, Grevious said. It begins at 5:30 in Laymen Hall Rooms 204, 208 and 211.

Following the CALA-Bash worship service at 6 p.m. in the Elmore Chapel on campus, the Claflin Vocal Jazz Extravaganza will be held in the WVM Auditorium at 7:30. The university jazz band and vocalists from the Claflin Music Department will be featured, Grevious said.

Then other students get a chance to show their talents in Open Mic at the Claflin Commons at 9 p.m. "This started out as kind of a jam session and we kind of opened it up," Grevious said.

Wednesday continues daily performances on the plaza in the middle of campus from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. before the Poetry Workshop featuring Charleston Poet Laurette Marcus Amaker at 4 p.m. in GTK Room 228.

The poetry continues at 7 p.m. in the GTK GKT Auditorium with Amaker leading "Say It Loud: Protest Poetry." The event features student reading their poems, which must have a protest theme, Grevious said.

"There is going to be some really good poetry."

On Thursday, the Wearable Art Runway Exhibition will be held in the Arthur Rose Museum from 5 to 7 p.m. The event showcases student art from earrings to necklaces and "some very unusual pieces," Grevious said.

The campus is alive with activity on Friday as Claflin on the Lawn offers outdoor performances from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. "It is an entire day outside," Grevious said.

The Friday outdoors also features vendors, lunch and dinner on the lawn, and live performances on an outdoor stage.

At 7 p.m. Friday, the focus turns indoors to Minsters' Hall for "Saints of Failure," a one-man show featuring Ryan Conarro.

In promoting the event, Grevious wrote: "'Saints of Failure' explores deep questions about LGBTQ identity and the American Christian experience, and the strangeness, discomfort and hilarity that ensue when these two identities collide. I believe the performance piece is very timely and will speak to many of our students."

Saturday offers a Fashion Show Extravaganza at 11 a.m. and CALA-Bash Fete: Beginning of a New Dawn Tent Event at noon.

CALA-Bash concludes on Sunday, April 9, with a 9:30 a.m. worship service including Claflin's Gospel Choir D.R.E.A.M. in concert.

All events are open to the public. People are encouraged to attend, Grevious said.

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