LOUD: empowering youth to live out their dreams

By Pamela Brownstein

Today, even the most inspiring words have a hard time reaching teenagers, who are plugged into an incessant bombardment of peer pressure, media hype and negative influences. One Beaufort group uses hip-hop and spoken word to break through all of the noise and nudge youth onto a path toward achieving their goals. Living Out Ur Dreams (LOUD) has a lot to say if the community is willing to listen.

Founded by Jamie Fleming and Mackenzie McGrew, LOUD is an arts and education based nonprofit that operates as a conduit for student and community success through project-based instruction. LOUD uses slam style poetry, music composition and music engineering and production to empower its participants to overcome negative peer pressure, and encourages them to develop healthy values and positive attitudes and habits, ultimately leading to better decision-making skills.

Jamie and Mackenzie met at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and then moved to Beaufort, Jamie’s hometown.

Here the two realized the need for high school students to express themselves when they opened a semi-professional recording studio and saw the teens coming by, hanging out, learning and watching creativity happen. “Some kids had real social issues plaguing them, but once they came into the studio, they didn’t want to leave,” said Jamie, 30, LOUD’s creative director.

When the program started in 2009, they were housed at the Boys & Girls Club Teen Center.

LOUD runs on a year round schedule that offers afterschool programming to teens ages 13-19 in Beaufort County. They target at-risk youth dealing with issues such as poverty, abuse, gangs, low self-esteem and no positive identity.

Last year 90% of the students participating in LOUD raised their high school GPA the equivalent of a full letter grade. LOUD students also received violence prevention training using the Mentors in Violence Prevention curriculum, administered by staff from Hope Haven of the Lowcountry, and created public service announcements regarding South Carolina’s lack of protocol for domestic violence in teen and same sex relationships.

“Being at the teen center, we saw immediate success, it was definitely a hit with our students — not just because we offered a recording studio which always lures the kids — but we have really solid programming that gears itself toward the holistic development of youth, academic achievement and violence prevention,” Jamie said.

LOUD students are learning how to record original music, compose and perform song lyrics, write and perform spoken word slam style poetry, analyze current popular music and current events, create and maintain a functional recording studio, become better oral presenters, and think outside of the box.

Mackenzie and Jamie said they have been impressed with their students’ talent and courage. “They always come up with these ridiculous poems, and then the power to get up on stage and deliver it the way they do, it’s phenomenal,” Mackenzie described with admiration.

One student in particular was shy at the beginning, but really opened up, and has been with the program for two years. Jamie said, “Her mother called and personally wanted to thank us for the program, and said had it not been for LOUD, her daughter would not have found the strength and the power to really express herself and to stand up for herself.”

For the rest of the year, the LOUD Slam Poetry Team is working with slam poet Noel Scales, who was featured in HBO’s “Brave New Voices” documentary. The five students are training and will apply to compete on the HBO “Brave New Voices Competition,” July 2012.

Living Out UR Dreams has also just expanded into Jasper County and is set up at the Boys & Girls Club in Ridgeland. Jamie, who works often at Ridgeland High School, said he saw a need for the program because there are not a lot of things for youth to do in that area. LOUD students from Beaufort will be trained to facilitate the Mentors in Violence Prevention curriculum for the Ridgeland site.

“In Beaufort, we were originally at the Boy & Girls Club Teen Center, but that closed, leaving us without a space to occupy. In the meantime we’ve also opened another site in Ridgeland, leaving still our Beaufort site without a home,” Mackenzie, 29, said.

Their Capital Campaign 2011-2012 is focused on raising enough money to secure a permanent facility to host the LOUD program. The facility will offer instruction in spoken word slam style poetry, music production and professional music recording for teens.

As part of their fundraising efforts, LOUD is conducting “I Got 5 On It,” an Internet campaign that allows donors to give a minimum of $5 to support the cause. Their goal is to raise $100,000 through online donations. To find out more or to support the campaign, visit www.livingouturdreams.org.

Mackenzie said, “Our hope is by 2012, we will have earned enough money to have a permanent space for the LOUD students here in Beaufort to come and work out of and continue the flow of students as the kids graduate and the new ones come in.”

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Labor Day weekend happenings

The Lands End Woodland, Inc. of St. Helena Island will celebrate the 5th Lands End Woodland River Festival from September 2-3, to commemorate the legacy of its Gullah founding fathers. The festival is a community celebration of the Gullah ancestry and traditions of the people of St. Helena Island through music, storytelling, historical presentations, crafts and food. Admission is $3 for adults; children (16 and under) free.  Free parking. The Woodland beachfront property is located on Lands End Road, six miles south of Penn Center on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive on St. Helena Island. For more festival information, please call (843) 838-4503 or (843) 838-2474.

Hunting Island State Park presents Pirate Day on Saturday, Sept. 3. Pirate Roulette will be at 10 a.m.: Meet in the Nature Center parking lot and  battle other pirates in a brutal egg off! Last one standing, not covered in egg, wins a prize. Pre-Registration required. $2/person, fee waived if you dress like a pirate. At 11 a.m. there will be Life of a Pirate Relay Race at the lighthouse. At 2 p.m. Pirates of the Carolinas: Meet at the Nature Center. Make your own Treasure Chest at the Nature Center at 3 p.m. $5/person, ages 4 and up. Call the Nature Center for more details at 843-838-7437.

The annual Labor Day program will be held at the Penn Center campus on Monday, September 5, with a fish fry, homemade ice cream and fun for the whole family.  A Community Yard Sale will also be held and interested parties may register.  The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Penn School National Historic District is located on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive on St. Helena Island, off Sea Island Parkway. For details, call (843) 838-2432.

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Friday Nights Live at ARTworks

Live music, Spanish guitar and comedy — experience it all in the 125-seat Black Box Theater at ARTworks, 2127 Boundary Street, Beaufort 29902. Fridays from 8-11 p.m., $10 cover, beverages available. Brought to you by Strings-n-Things and ARTworks, the coolest arts council in the Carolinas.

September 9: Pop, R&B, Blues and more from Malia Kaneshige & Generation Gap
Malia is the vocal teen wonder who won the 2010 Beaufort’s Best Hidden Talent competition, triumphing over 30 acts, all older than she. She and Generation Gap joined forces to rock out on Paris Avenue, in the Street Music series in Old Village Port Royal. Like the name says, Generation Gap is a 40-year span of musical talents, including JW Rone on harmonica, Jen Haden on guitar, and Jack Russell, the career session musician, on lead guitar.

September 16: Jazz and Gospel with Lavon Stevens & Company
The Savannah native and Lowcountry favorite has performed from Orlando to Aspen, and is a BMI-affiliated publisher/songwriter. His prowess as a musical talent runs from his voice to the piano, spanning soulful jazz, contemporary and blues.

September 23: Super blues band The Groovetones
The Groovetones are a fast paced, in your face blues/rock band with miles of experience and lots of energy that fills the dance floor! Between members Bill Luebke, Greg Gresham,Tommy Beaumont and Tony Reyes the combination of story- telling smoking leads, cracking snares, rolling bass riffs and gutsy vocals is the perfect formula for their powerhouse sound!
September 30: Soul Funk Diva Mahoganee & the Boiz
Soul Funk Diva Mahoganee is a singer/songwriter, a bit of Lauryn Hill with a twist of Minnie Ripperton and Janis Joplin, born and raised in South Carolina. Mahoganee’s music is the perfect pot of gumbo with a mint julep on the side. She is soulful, harmonious, powerful, engaging, conscious, lyrical, empowering and a true D.I.V.A. She is a community-oriented artist with a true entrepreneurial spirit, providing a variety of positive workshops and outlets and her own record label, DivaMilitia Records, self-releasing a freshman and sophomore album to date. Her third album “The Chrysalis Stage” is due September 2011. www.Mahoganee.com

October 7: Guitar Music From
Spain, Mexico and South America with Brian Luckett
Luckett’s repertoire consists of passionate music by Latin and Spanish composers Manuel Ponce, Joaquin Turina, Leo Brouwer, Joaguin Rodrigo, Manuel de Falla and more. The classical guitarist has been featured in many programs on both NPR and Minnesota Public Radio and WABE in Atlanta. He has premiered several new works for the guitar including a concerto and several large chamber works. Several of his original guitar works premiered in Cincinnati, Minneapolis and Atlanta. He has written for solo guitar as well as guitar and flute, guitar and violin and various guitar ensembles. Brian records for Clear Note Publications and his solo CD, Serenades of the Unicorn, was released in 2009.

October 14: Comedy Night with Big E
Big “E” began doing comedy in 1998, becoming one of the hottest young comedians on the East Coast. “E”, as he is affectionately known, is so versatile that he can capture the minds and hearts of any audience, speaking on topics from relationships and home-life to religion and personal issues. If you want comedy by the pound, then you will always get your money’s worth, judging by his size and humor. Comedy is a craft…anybody can say funny things, but it takes a true comedian to say things funny.

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New artists at Bay St. Gallery

Bill Mead’s works are whimsical, humorous pieces that explore the juxtaposition of landscape and still life. Bill’s appreciation for the charm and the natural beauty of the Beaufort Lowcountry is evident in each work.

Barbara James is a multi-talented three dimensional artist who transforms handcrafted, hand embellished fabric into a wearable work of art. Her handbags are inspired by the lush and exotic landscape of the Lowcountry.

Mary Grayson Segars is an artist who is not afraid to let the brush stokes talk. Her energetic brushwork on the canvas, accompanied by her vibrant colors help bring the excitement of the Lowcountry to life.

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Points of Peace

“Not Just Giving Peace A Chance, But Bringing It Back In Style”: the artwork of stained glass artist, Ragtime, Marine Corps Vietnam veteran will be on display September-October 2011 at ARTworks in Beaufort Town Center. Opening reception is Friday, September 2, 6 to 8 p.m.

Pictured here in the gallery at ARTworks: JW Rone (executive director) and singer Jan Spencer check out a preview of the “Not Just Giving Peace A Chance, But Bringing It Back In Style”as artist Deanna Bowdish peeps in.

This gallery show and sale is one man’s quest to share a vision of life without war. Ragtime, a stained glass artist living near Berkeley Spring, W.Va., began his Points of Peace in the fall of 2006. As a combat marine who fought in Vietnam, this work is his contribution to the effort to create a more caring world free from war. Each piece is a unique creation intended to remind everyone of the spirit of peace and is part of a numbered and cataloged series limited to 1,000.
“I am placing my love and understanding on a positive course so that all who come in contact with these peace signs will experience a feeling of love, hope and family, and together we will journey towards a more peaceful earth. Imagine, a world free from hate and the senseless need to control other human beings.”  The medallions combine the universal symbol with glowing kaleidoscopic colors, and, variously, images of fighter jets, palm trees, Buddhist wheels, fire, and, of course, Semper Fi.
ARTworks, the arts council of Beaufort, Port Royal, and the Sea Islands, is proud to present this veteran art show and is free to browse Tuesdays through Saturdays, www.artworksinbeaufort.org.

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Arts events

USCB holding auditions for ‘Guys and Dolls Jr.’
If you are between the ages of 6 and 18, Beaufort Children’s Theatre needs YOU!  Auditions for “Guys and Dolls Jr.” will be held Tuesday, September 13 and Wednesday, September 14 at the USCB Center for the Arts. If you are interested in auditioning,  please arrive 15 minutes prior to the audition time to complete required registration information.  Please bring a recent, non-returnable, photograph of the person auditioning.  No experience is required, only a positive attitude. Specific audition dates and times: September 13: Ages 6-9, 5:15 – 6 p.m.; Ages 10-12,  6:15 – 7 p.m.; Ages 12-18, 7:15 – 8 p.m.  September 14: Ages 6-11, 5:15 – 5:45 p.m.; Ages 12-18, 5:45 – 6:30 p.m.; Callbacks, 6:30 – 8 p.m. Production dates for “Guys and Dolls Jr.” are November 19 and 20 at the USCB Center for the Arts. For additional information, please contact Bonnie Hargrove at 843-521-3145 or bhargrov@uscb.edu.

Fripp Island Friends of Music hosts Hotlanta
Fripp Island Friends of Music opens its 28th season of presenting great music “for a song” with one of the true Southern greats: Hotlanta. The Hotlanta Quartet sets
your feet firmly on Bourbon Street in Old New Orleans. You’ll experience every bit of the joy, energy, and humor of that early American Jazz called Dixieland. Songs from Fats Waller, Hoagy Carmichael, Louie Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, plus many old favorites like “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Royal Garden Blues,” “South,” “Hard Hearted Hannah” and “When The Saints Go Marchin’ In” are all part of Hotlanta’s musical treat.  The concert will be Sunday, September 25 at 5 p.m. at the Fripp Community Centre. The cost is $20 a person; $10 for students.  Free Fripp pass at gate. As always, your admission includes the catered reception that follows each performance. This is your opportunity to visit with gifted musicians and meet fellow jazz enthusiasts. Visit the Friends of Music website for more information: www.islc.net/friendsofmusic or call 843-838-6655.

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Chamber of Commerce restructures

A restructured Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce will boost its ability to serve area businesses while also leading tourism and visitor marketing, chamber and tourism officials said.
In an overwhelming vote Thursday, August 25, the Chamber Board of Directors approved the reorganization and creation of the Tourism, Travel and Convention Division, formerly known as the Visitor & Convention Bureau.  Effective immediately, this division tackles tourism promotions, assists the hospitality industry in northern Beaufort County and operates the Visitors Center on Craven Street in downtown Beaufort.
“We are excited at the opportunities this brings and the efficiencies it will produce,” said Blakely Williams, president and CEO of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. Despite a decision in March to split the tourism branch from the main chamber, the Visitor & Convention Bureau never operated on its own.
The Tourism, Travel and Convention Division currently employs a division executive, two marketing administrators and a small team to staff the Visitor Center, which is located in the historic Beaufort Arsenal.
“One of the first things we’ll be doing is taking nominations for the Tourism, Travel and Convention Division Advisory Committee,” Rembold said. The nine-member committee replaces the former Visitor & Convention Bureau Board and will continue to advise and audit the tourism mission priorities, he said. The majority of the seats will be representatives from the local resort and lodging industry.
“Our mission is to provide exceptional service to our business members and to create new economic strength through improved tourism marketing,” he said. “One area we are addressing is the overall marketing strategy, the execution and the results, so we can better leverage these precious public funds.  We take this responsibility very seriously.”
Since 1984 the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce has been the “Designated Marketing Organization” for northern Beaufort County. As such, it receives funding for tourism marketing and promotions from Beaufort County, the City of Beaufort, Town of Port Royal and the state. Those dollars are earmarked specifically for attracting visitors to the area.
“Over the years, we’ve seen a huge change in how we can most effectively attract tourists, visitors and future residents to our beautiful corner of the Lowcountry,” Williams said. “Our plan moving forward is to do an even better job, using multiple strategies to target our markets and better track our work.”
Under the new reorganization and bylaws adopted by the chamber, Bob Moquin, the first Division Executive of the Tourism, Travel, and Convention Division, is responsible for the creation of the marketing plans for northern Beaufort County as well as the budget creation and implementation. He serves alongside Williams as a non-voting ex-officio member of the Chamber’s Finance and Audit Committee.

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Beaufort’s Civic Master Plan process continues

This September and October, the City of Beaufort will continue its exciting design and master planning process, led by the Redevelopment Commission and the Office of Civic Investment, to create a Civic Master Plan for the future of the city. Community involvement is essential to this process, and we look forward to seeing everyone in the coming months.
The Civic Master Plan will establish principles and standards that all public and private development will follow and will identify and promote investment and reinvestment opportunities, block by block, in each neighborhood throughout the entire city. Each neighborhood has its own unique history, character and physical attributes and we need your help to identify how each will evolve over the coming decades.
The planning for Sectors 2 & 3 of the Civic Master Plan will encompass the following neighborhoods west of Ribaut Rd. and south of Duke St.: West End, Depot, Hundred Pines, Royal Oaks, Cottage Farm, Jericho Woods, Spanish Point, and Mossy Oaks, as well as Beaufort Memorial Hospital and the Technical College of the Lowcountry.

IF YOU GO

• September 6, 5:30-7 p.m.
Sector 2 Public Workshop
Location: Riverview Charter School, 302 Burroughs Ave.

• September 15, 5:30-7 p.m.
Sector 3 Public Workshop
Location: Mossy Oaks Elementary, 2510 Mossy Oaks Road.

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Website answers ‘Why South Carolina?’

The South Carolina Power Team recently added new target industry data and information to its website www.SCpowerteam.com. The enhancements give the web visitor feedback on why many world class companies have chosen to locate their operations in the state.
“Our latest advertising campaign is designed to tell our targets how a location in South Carolina can add value to their bottom line,” said Fred Gassaway, EVP of Marketing at the Power Team. “By including these messages in our website, we are delivering our story more comprehensively through an interactive, 24/7 platform.”
In addition to general information, visitors to the upgraded Power Team website can also read “Why South Carolina?” as related to the following industry sectors: automotive, aerospace, logistics, medical and renewable energy. Visit today at www.SCpowerteam.com.

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Letters to the Editor

Supporting a more bike friendly Beaufort
I was very excited to read about plans for Beaufort to improve road-sharing for cyclists and motorists.  I have just returned from a month’s trip up North.  While there, I biked several days in different states.  There were bike lanes on roads and also Rails to Trails routes. Last year I spent a month in California and Washington state.  I did a lot of biking on that trip as well.  In all of these locations there were many cyclists enjoying the trails and bike lanes. People of all ages, young and old, families, and individuals were out in large numbers.  There were also runners and walkers on these trails. I kept thinking that I wished Beaufort would become more bike friendly. This is a great way to promote family time together.  It gets people away from the computer and all of the time spent playing games and other things on it. In addition, tourists will have one more reason to visit our beautiful city.  Thank you all of the people helping to make Beaufort a great place to live and visit.
Charles D. Frost
Beaufort

Need to improve education in Beaufort County
I would like to express that I agree strongly with Mr. Damgen regarding the ridiculous antics of Board of Education in Beaufort County. I am a Pat Conroy follower and also an advocate for my children and their education. Its is absolutely sick how this county deprives children of growth and knowledge and at the same time it is OK to hoard taxpayer money for a setup for failure. This county needs to face whatever their fears are and use the money to get South Carolina off the low education list. We need quality! I would like to support Mr. Damgen and I am quite ready to take it to our governor.
Angie Mootry
Beaufort

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