by Sam Spence
It's official! Welcome to the 37th annual Spoleto Festival USA! Can you feel it? (Lordy, we sure can.) This year's festival was kicked off at high noon today in front of City Hall, which has grown to be the iconic home for the festive opening. The confetti flew and streamers streamed as an upbeat Charleston Mayor Joe Riley marked the official beginning of the 17-day festival.
The Charleston Symphony Orchestra preceded the ceremony with a solemn rendition of Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" in remembrance of past Spoleto committee chair, College of Charleston President, and all-around Holy City renaissance man Ted Stern, who passed away earlier this year at 100, and was bookended with a youthful, exciting display by Brazilian hip-hop troupe Compagnie Käfig. (A fitting tribute to Stern, who was known for staying active, even as a centenarian.)
Here's a quick video highlighting the ceremony: