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Benjamin Starr Presents: A Water Album – Live at the Music Hall

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Through his masterful flow and lyricism, magnetic stage presence, and profound grasp of history and social issues, Pineville, South Carolina’s Benjamin Starr is an artist both timeless, and perfectly poised for his time and place.

The buzz around Starr’s talent has been growing for years through his singles, EPs, mixtapes, and freestyle performances, leading to the release of his first LP in 2015 entitled ​Free Lunch.​ Charleston City Paper’s Kyle Peterson described the record as “a soul and R&B sample-infused effort that showcased the emcee’s formidable technical skills and keen political and social consciousness, music that harkens back to hip-hop titans Nas and Talib Kweli.”

Starr continues to further his reputation as a deft collaborator and community leader. In 2016, he released a live band EP with Very Hypnotic Soul Band. VHSB is a group of socially conscious artists who collaborate on high concept genre-bending projects that also includes creative/political podcast ​Emcees & Esquires​, on which Starr is co-host. He actively speaks and performs for community events such as NEA’s Big Read 2017 collaboration with the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, the ​Vesey’s Resistance​ premiere, Emanuel 9 Rally for Unity, ​Southern Discomfort​, Rainbow Rowed​ (A Free Verse event), Piccolo Spoleto, TEDx Greenville, Pecha Kucha, and Summer Shindig.

A Water Album i​s Starr’s sophomore album. Starr describes its creation:
“Music is deeply personal for me. After ​Free Lunch​, I needed the time away from music to grow, and to feel; to love and to hurt; and I needed that time to discover and examine more of myself. I was luckily granted enough of those God-given moments to find the inspiration for ​A Water Album​.

On this body of work, I’ve been blessed to collaborate with many artists I have profound admiration for – both here in Charleston, and beyond. It is in that spirit of gratitude that I present this album to you, as I plan to not only debut ​A Water Album​, but to also record it live, with the city that inspired much of its creation. I want Charleston to be a part of this recording – it is the only way I could imagine presenting this.”

When I First Remember

Thursday, September 27; 7:00pm
Thursday, October 4; 7:00pm
Venue: Old Bethel United Methodist Church
Address: 222 Calhoun Street
Admission: $21

Queen Atterberry of Lady in White Production Company and an ensemble of talented performers blend music, dance, and dialogue to tell the story of the inception of Gullah-Geechee culture, which is unique to the Lowcountry. The evening continues with a marketplace where attendees can meet the the actors as well as purchase artisan crafts, goods and cuisine from local Gullah-Geechee vendors.

The Gullah Lady

Friday, September 28; 7:00pm
Friday, October 5; 7:00pm
Venue: Old Bethel United Methodist Church
Address: 222 Calhoun Street
Admission: $21

Extending the Old Bethel Series, The Gullah Lady will be performed in this historic church by Sharon Cooper Murray as she shares stories and songs in the Gullah-Geechee language.

Gospel Concert: The Gospel Sounds of Millennials

Date: Sunday, September 30
Time: 4:00pm
Venue: Trinity United Methodist Church
Address: 273 Meeting Street
Admission: $11
Coordinator: Reverend Randolph Miller
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This is an opportunity to hear Gospel Music at its best from 3 gospel greats who perform locally, nationally and internationally. The genre of the music will be represented from “Down Home to Contemporary” featuring “Mike Brown and Focus, Mario Desaussure along with Brandon Robinson and NGOP.  You don’t want to miss this uplifting event of the MOJA Arts Festival.

This year features three great talents:

A native of Charleston, SC, Elder Mario Desaussure is the eldest son born to the late Bruce “Sandy” Desaussure and the late Annette Moore Desaussure. He is an anointed psalmist who began singing at the tender age of 3, in the Alpha Omega Reformed House of God Church, under the leadership of his great-grandfather, the late Bishop Aaron H. Moore, Sr. He is a 1998 graduate of R. B. Stall High School and attended Benedict College for three years, but returned home to care for his mother and father until their passing. He is planning to return to college and further his education majoring in Elementary Education with a minor in Business Administration.

Mario is currently a member of Christian Praise And Worship Center under the leadership of Pastor Lonnie Ruth Palmer. He also serves as the Director of Music at First Baptist Church of James Island under the leadership of Reverend Charlie L. Murray, Jr. He has sung with various groups and national recording artists throughout the lowcountry and also the United States, such as Mike Brown and F.O.C.U.S., The Anointed Voices of Praise of Huger, SC, Trinity Inspirational Choir, Pastor Sam Dennis, New Generation of Praise, Vashawn Mitchell, Dorinda Clark-Cole and Ricky Dillard, just to name a few.  Mario has also received various awards and recognition for his gift that God has given to him. But most of all, he is a child of the Most high God. He takes no credit for anything but gives God all praise, glory and honor for everything he has allowed to happen throughout his life. He is a firm believer that God will make ways out of no way and will open doors that man thought should be closed. His motto is, “if I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vain.”

Brandon Robinson & N.G.O.P. (New Generation of Praise) is a young group with some old flavor but also shares a new twist on quartet music. The group has been singing together for 7 years starting together as community choir which later formed into a quartet. Ministry is top priority for this group. The quartet of young singers don’t mind having church all over the world; “We don’t mind sharing what the lord has giving us to bless his people and we are grateful that the lord trusted us with these gifts he’s given to us.”

In August of 1997, God gave the vision of F.O.C.U.S. (Followers of Christ Upholding Standards) to Wayne Ravenell.  Wayne then organized a group of the city’s best, vibrant, gifted, and anointed young adults.

The group was comprised of approximately 20 members- a collective group from different ministries of various denominations. Early performances earned an over-whelming positive response from their community. As a result, God gave them favor with pastors and leaders in their city, which allowed them to open for every major recording artist that came through their city. Some of these artist include: God’s Property, Trinitee 5:7, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Karen Clark-Sheard, Byron Cage, Natalie Wilson, New Direction, Alvin Slaughter, Overseer Hezekiah Walker, Sha’ Simpson, Tye Tribbett & G.A. and also blessed to tour with Anthony Hamilton on his 2006 tour.

In March of 2005, F.O.C.U.S. recorded their first live project, “The Heart of a Worshiper”.

This group of vivacious, colorful and unique Levitical priests intends to reconcile souls to God through a radical and innovative praise and worship experience, while yet being examples of holiness and righteousness as followers of Christ upholding standards.

College of Charleston Gospel Choir

Date: Monday, October 1
Time: 7:30pm
Venue: Sottile Theatre
Address: 44 George Street
Admission: $10 tickets at the door, free admission for College of Charleston students with ID

The College of Charleston Gospel Choir presents Hymns to Now.  This years concert will feature a modern twist of classical traditional hymns that were arranged by students and faculty at the college.


Date: Tuesday, October 2
Time: 7:00 pm
Venue: Circular Congregational Church
Address: 150 Meeting Street
Admission: Free

Join OneBeat for a one-time performance created in response to the environmental works of contemporary composer John Luther Adams. In the past, artists and musicians have depicted the natural world as ethereal and majestic while at times overwhelming and threatening.  To illustrate the sublime was to evoke feelings of awe and human insignificance.  Now, in an age of rapid technological and digital evolution, humanity itself has become a powerful and sometimes overwhelming geophysical force. In this age, is it still possible to discover unexpected beauty—and, if so, will we be forced to reimagine the sublime’s most spectacular form?  In response to these questions, OneBeat artists will enliven The Circular Congregational Church, a space that continues to be a significant site for human connection and communion, leading the audience in an intimate and shared sonic experience. Event is free and open to the public.

Rhythm Drone

OneBeat in association with The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art presents Rhythm Drone

Date: October 3
Time: 1:00pm
Venue: Stern Student Center Garden
Address: 71 George Street

Rhythm Drone is a collaborative public performance that invites audiences to join OneBeat’s global musicians and students from the Palmetto Scholars Academy, in a unique musical meditation. Participants are invited to join our artists as we each maintain a rhythmic pattern over an extended period of time, until each performer can transcend their individualist self awareness. The performer instead focuses on their interaction with other players, acting as a living metaphor for social responsibility. As time passes the performer witnesses how their relationship to the individual and the whole, the conscious and the unconscious, evolves. This event is free and participatory – open to any and all who are interested in an exploration of sound, language and communication.

Harbor Cruise featuring First Class Band

Wednesday, October 3, Boarding at 7:30 pm, Cruising from 8:00-10:00pm
Venue: Harbor Walk Dock at Aquarium Wharf
Address: 360 Concord Street
Admission: $25 General Admission. Cash bar and snacks available for purchase.

This is an evening you don’t want to miss! Join us on the water for breathtaking views, perfect harbor breezes, and fun and funky music that will keep you dancing all night long. First Class Band is providing the entertainment for the evening as the Spirit of Charleston sets sail around the harbor, with snacks and drinks available on board at the bar.


Date: Wednesday, October 3
Time: 7:00pm
Venue: Redux Contemporary Art Center
Address: 1056 King Street
Admission: Free

A neighborhood is a living organism: it breathes, struggles, and changes with the generations, and in an increasingly global world, the value of the neighborhood becomes ever more important, albeit more threatened. This October, a group of musicians from around the globe visits one Charleston, SC neighborhood to learn about its history, its struggles, and celebrations, and to collaborate with residents to create original art.  An ensemble of global musicians from OneBeat will perform original musical works inspired by stories from residents and Tiny Businesses engaged in the conNECKtedTOO project of North Central Charleston neighborhood, in partnership with Charleston Rhizome Collective. A celebration of a neighborhood and its history, the evening will begin with a series of pop-up performances in local storefronts, culminating with a performance at Redux Contemporary Art Center at 7 pm.

This performance is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the South Carolina Arts Commission.

Classical Encounter

Date: Thursday, October 4
Time: 6:00pm
Venue: Mt. Zion AME Church
Address: 5 Glebe Street
Admission: Free, Reserve your seat here.

Two of America’s most exciting rising stars of the classical music world will join forces to present the 2018 MOJA Arts Festival Classical Encounter concert. Wade Davis, cello and Dr. Lester Green, piano, will perform classical music by F. Couperin, J.S. Bach, G. Faure, and L von Beethoven in the sanctuary of Mt. Zion AME Church. These distinguished young musicians are renowned for their technical brilliance and musically exciting interpretation of these well-known and much-beloved works from the classical chamber music repertoire. This concert promises an unforgettable, inspiring experience to the audience.

A native New Yorker, Wade Davis began studying the cello in the String Project at the University of South Carolina, going on to study at the North Carolina School of the Arts, the College of Charleston, where he completed his undergraduate studies, and finally at Peabody Conservatory where he obtained both a Master’s Degree in Baroque Cello Performance and a Graduate Performance Degree in Historical Cello. Wade is a much sought-after collaborator for chamber music and is in high demand as a solo performer with his renditions of the iconic Bach Suites for solo Cello on baroque cello. He was recently a featured performer at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival Early Music Series as well as the Colour of Music Festival in Charleston, South Carolina and is very much looking forward to returning to that festival in October of this year. Wade also teaches private students in Baltimore and Washington, DC.

A South Carolina native and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonian, Dr. Lester Green has extensive experience as a solo pianist, recital partner, and conductor. He has served on the teaching and coaching faculties of Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute, Morgan State University, and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Green formerly served as an assistant conductor, vocal coach, and clinician for the Washington National Opera. Green earned degrees in solo piano performance from the University of South Carolina, Johns Hopkins University Peabody Institute, and the University of Maryland, where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Collaborative Piano. For ten years Green served as Minister of Music at historic Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC, where he led music for worship services honoring such luminaries as President Barak and Michelle Obama, Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu, Oprah Winfrey, Cicely Tyson, the late Rosa Parks, and others. He is a pianist and conductor Green has collaborated with world-class opera singers spanning many generations. His film credits include, Sam Coleridge-Taylor and his Music in America: 1900-1912, and Beyond the Mask, a PBS documentary. Dr. Green serves as the Artistic Director for the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts, a non-profit arts organization, and works with an executive team and community partners to regularly showcase, acknowledge, encourage and develop excellence in the achievements of classical musicians of color in the USA and abroad.

Friends of MOJA Exclusive

Date: Friday, October 5
Time: 7:00pm
Venue: The Schoolhouse
Address: 720 Magnolia Road
Admission: Friends of MOJA Exclusive, if your membership isn’t up to date please renew today, or if you would like to become a friend of MOJA click here.
Please Call (843)724-7305 to RSVP

Join us and the Friends of MOJA for an intimate evening of entertainment with Da’rrell Ravenell and the Peace of Mind Band.