Alison Shearer

By Lila Meeks

For 44 years USCB Chamber Music has brought amazing talents to the Lowcountry on five Sundays each season. But this season for our final concert, we have added a Thursday civil rights photo exhibit, talk, and reception; a Saturday Youth Concert; a Sunday student art show and the world premiere of a new piece of music, and a Monday morning high school student concert and awards ceremony. Mark your calendars now and join us for all or some.

Thursday, April 4 at 4 pm – Historians Chris Barr and Val Littlefield will join Alison Shearer – our first ever saxophonist, first ever female composer, and first ever black composer – for a brief discussion of just how Beaufort’s history fits with the 1960’s civil rights efforts that were so movingly captured by Alison’s father John, who at 17 was the second black photographer hired by LIFE and later by LOOK. Following the talks, the speakers will join audience members to view a collection of John Shearer’s works, American Moments, that have recently been bought by USCB, and high school student artworks which are part of a SC Arts Commission, USCB Arts faculty, and USCB Chamber Music collaboration. Lecture, reception, art and photography exhibits are FREE.

Saturday April 6 at 3 pm, we will gather with Miss Shearer and 6 additional world-class talents for Beaufort’s first ever

Youth Concert – one uninterrupted hour of classical music magic. With the help of a sax, flute, viola, cello, double-bass, piano, and 2 violins, we’ll hear from “The Carnival of Animals” and tap our feet to a gigue by Bach. Gather up children, grandchildren, assorted waifs, and resistant teens for what we hope can become an annual part of the Chamber Music season. Children 5-18 are FREE; adults are $25. We ask that you not bring children under 5, and you must reserve the number of seats needed; seating will be first come first serve on the day of the concert.

Sunday April 7 at 4 pm, view artworks of the Emerging Artists Competition winners: The Sound of Art and selected photography of John Shearer: American Moments. Last January Andrew Armstrong gave a memorable performance of Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” while regional high school artworks that were inspired by Mussorgsky’s music were displayed on the stage. In this, our second year of a SC Arts Commission grant, student artworks were selected and sent to American composer Alison Shearer, who, ala Mussorgsky, composed an original piece of music inspired by the art. Both exhibitions are FREE.

Sunday April 7 at 5 pm, join Artistic Director, host, and pianist Andrew Armstrong and composer, saxophonist, and flutist Alison Shearer for our final concert of the season and the world premiere of “Apollosis.” In all, seven international artists will perform works by Dohnanyi, Rachmaninov, Vaughan-Williams and others. Go to for complete artist and program info and tickets.

Monday April 8 at 10 am, Area high school students will attend a repeat of Sunday’s concert and the awarding of prizes and scholarships for Emerging Artists winners followed by a viewing of The Sound of Art and American Moments exhibitions.

The University and the community are grateful to Walda Wildman and Katherine Wells for commissioning the musical composition “Apollosis” and the South Carolina Arts Commission for underwriting the production of the student art show and the student concert. These two seasons, during which we have recognized the inspirational qualities of both the visual and the musical arts, and their mutual affinity, have proven rewarding to our young artists, our musicians, and our community. This success will surely lead to future collaborations and increased opportunities to heighten the ARTS in our community.

The USCB Emerging Artists Competition is funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. This project is supported by funding provided to the South Carolina Arts Commission from a partnership with the S.C. Department of Education from American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds.