The Pitchforks, Duke University’s oldest all-male a cappella singing group, will return for the ninth year in a row to benefit HALOS this Sat. Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m. at Circular Congregational Church — the Plantation Singers, a well-known local gospel group, will also perform this year.
HALOS is a non-profit organization that supports individuals who care for foster children, according to Kim Clifton, HALOS' executive director. The phrase is “kinship care,” she says, and it refers to relatives who take full-time responsibility for raising children who would otherwise go into protective custody of the state.
It all started when former HALOS board member Arlene Shawinksy-Rosenthal talked the Pitchforks into coming to Charleston after their regular performance in Camden, said Clifton. “And the guys had so much fun it’s been an annual trip. We’ve seen four classes go through and graduate, and they are in their ninth year to come down and perform for HALOS as a complete donation.
“The tradition has still kept going,” Clifton says. “Circular Congregation Church has always donated their space. It’s such a beautiful place to hold this event. They’ve been very generous to us. This year Charleston Jewish Community Center Without Walls has come on to sponsor. And Eli Hyman has all the boys go eat at Hyman’s Seafood after the event. And this year we’ve managed to get two houses donated to put them up in. It’s really been a community effort through the years with lots of support.”
The event will start out with traditional gospel music sung by the Plantation Singers, and the Pitchforks will come on with their old standards and contemporary hits. “They always do a modern piece and make it a cappella,” Clifton says.