Local writer, musician, and composer Fernando Rivas managed something of a coup last summer when he landed a contract from Walt Disney Co. (which seems to be all over town these days – see "Freeze Frame," pg. 42) to create the original score for a new Disney Channel animated kids' show called Handy Manny, airing at 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on Fridays. A new multiculti Latino-themed educational series, Handy Manny premiered this summer on Playhouse Disney, the learning-focused programming block for preschoolers on the Disney Channel. Apparently the program's inaugural run generated Nielsen-breaking ratings (among preschoolers, anyway), and Disney has tapped Rivas for a go at round two.
Rivas also recently nabbed some scoring work closer to home from SCETV, who hired him to lay down the soundtrack for a documentary about the South Carolina Air National Guard slated for this week. The Carolina Stories documentary Always First: The Story of the South Carolina Air National Guard airs on ETV on Thurs. Dec. 14 at 9 p.m. Incidentally, you don't have to be a television owner to experience Rivas' tuneful stylings; his keyboard work with the band Havanason turns Oak Steakhouse on Broad Street into salsa central the first Friday evening of every month. –Patrick Sharbaugh
McCrady's Pops – and crackles and snaps
While the Charleston Symphony Orchestra continues to beat the bushes for new corporate supporters in the lead-up to Christmas and the mid-season break, they got a heaping helping of good news this week on the financial front. Apparently Blackbaud Inc. founder and former CEO Tony Bakker, now the money behind McCrady's Restaurant and the Charleston Battery, has stepped up with $137,500 smackers to make McCrady's the title sponsor of the CSO's Charleston Pops Series for the remainder of this season and all of next year's. Bakker's commitment includes support from fellow McCrady investment partners Gary Thornhill, Tim Smith, Anthony McAllister, and Nigel Cooper.
According to symphony officials, $62,500 of the total will be coming into the CSO's $2.7 million budget this season, making a big dent in the roughly $150,000 the symphony needs to pick up between now and the end of the year to avoid having to make cuts to the coming January-April programming. The remaining $75,000 will come in next season to underwrite the entire 2007-08 year of Pops programming. It's shaping up to be a green Christmas for the CSO. –PS