Sherill Milnes
Fabrizio Melano

SAVANNAH, GA – April 9, 2021 – Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) announces three virtual events taking place April 20-22, 2021 in collaboration with community partners.

In an exciting new partnership with Savannah’s Telfair Museums, SVF presents Mozart to Puccini: Opera Costume and Set Production – a Chat with Two Met Legends, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20. This expert panel is presented in conjunction with an exhibition from the McNay Art Museum’s Tobin Collection of Theater Arts. The program features acclaimed dramatic baritone Sherrill Milnes (654 performances with the Metropolitan Opera), and one of the world’s foremost stage directors for opera, Fabrizio Melano. The two will discuss stories from famous productions in addition to set design and costumes. The panel will be moderated by Maria Zouves, Executive Director of The Milnes VOICE Programs, VOICExperience and Savannah VOICE Festival. This online event is free, but registration is required at

At 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 22, SVF once again partners with the Jewish Educational Alliance to present a virtual Food For Thought program featuring Festival artists. In this “From Stage to Screen” presentation, artists and editors of the Savannah VOICE Festival will perform some of the segments they have produces during social distancing and discuss the process and stories behind the pivot the Festival made in music streaming. This session will be led by Savannah VOICE Festival Co-founder and Executive Director Maria Zouves.

To celebrate Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, SVF renews its partnership with Hospice Savannah with a one-hour online presentation at 11 a.m., which is repeated at 7 p.m. VOICES That Heal: For the Beauty of the Earth is part of a series of informative “listening labs” featuring music from various genres which comfort, soothe, and heal the soul. During this event, Chad Sonka and Kourtney Tigner, MT-BC, will explore music performed by Savannah VOICE Festival artists which relaxes and celebrates Mother Nature. To watch this virtual event, visit  Learn more about Hospice Savannah’s resources by visiting. Investment is provided by the City of Savannah’s Weave – A – Dream program.

“SVF continues to solidify its position in the Savannah community by extending our partnerships” said Zouves. “We’re proud to present these online spring events in association with leading arts, education and health organizations.”

Savannah VOICE Festival is a 501(c) 3 tax exempt nonprofit arts organization in the state of Georgia. The Festival brings classical vocal excellence to the Savannah area through a two-week celebration of concerts, events and educational presentations during the month of August and throughout the year. Focusing on arts awareness and audience development in the performing arts, it offers music from opera, musical theatre and popular song. The Savannah VOICE Festival is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly. GCA is a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Donations are tax-deductible.

For more information about the Savannah VOICE Festival please visit

– ENDS –

Editor’s Notes

Sherrill Milnes is a five-time Grammy® nominated, three-time Grammy® winner and 2008 Opera News Award winner, Milnes is internationally recognized as the leading Verdi Baritone of his time. A world-renowned opera star who sang for over four decades, Milnes has conquered all of the great opera capitals of the world, including the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; La Scala, Milan; Berlin’s Deutsche Opera; the Paris Opera; Buenos Aires’ famed Teatro Colon; the Liceu in Barcelona; the Bavarian State Opera in Munich; the Salzburg Festival; the Hamburg Opera; and Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. Milnes is Commendatore of the Italian Republic and a Chevalier of the French Republic and was inducted into the Lincoln Academy, the highest honor the State of Illinois can bestow. He has had the honor of performing for every United States President since Gerald Ford. Milnes has worked extensively with young singers throughout his career. He has led master classes at the Juilliard and Manhattan Schools in New York, at most major universities throughout the country and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. More extensive teaching has been done at the Yale University School of Music; Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow; the Northern Royal College of music in Manchester, England (where he is a fellow); the Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv; Montreal; Puerto Rico; and the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy. The legendary artist and educator is now Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus from Northwestern University and continues to teach and judge vocal competitions around the world. Having founded the VOICExperience Foundation with his wife, soprano Maria Zouves, in 2000, they have mentored singers through training programs and built opera audiences throughout the nation, most recently creating the Savannah Voice Festival, launching in the summer of 2013.

Fabrizio Melano, stage director, is an established figure on the international opera scene, having worked in leading opera houses throughout the world for more than 40 years. He began a long-standing relationship with the Metropolitan Opera in 1969 and has directed 21 operas there, among them seven new or revised productions. He directed Tony Randall in his last play, Pirandello’s Right You Are, with the National Actors Theater and staged a new musical, Asylum, at the York Theater Company. In April 2010 Juilliard presented his production of Dialogues des Carmélites, and the Met and Juilliard his production and staging of Armide in February 2012.

For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or, or Lesley Francis at 912-429-3950 or


Spring is one of my favorite times of year and I have never been happier to have reached April than I am this year.  I am feeling that the long winter is finally behind us and that we are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Vaccinated and hopeful with daylight savings time here and the joy of the Easter weekend just gone by, I am in an optimistic frame of mind.

So now that we are in April, I have been thinking about a phrase that is popular among the British “April showers bring May flowers”.  This saying was written in 1557 by an English farmer and poet, Thomas Tusser, the author of “A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry,” in his famous book about the care and cultivation of crops and animals.  I have mentioned before that it rains a lot in England and the British can expect at least ten days of rain and highs in the mid-50s on average in April.   So as a child and young woman living in England every April when the heavens opened and we were drenched in chilly rain, we were encouraged to patiently endure those April showers which lead to the flowers of May.  Of course, this phrase is symbolic just like “there is a silver lining after each dark cloud” and “this too shall pass”.  If we had needed reminding of the need for patience and to endure, we have certainly had this opportunity over the last twelve months.

April is an interesting month.  It generally has the most meteor showers, and originally had just 29 days in it, but Julius Caesar added a day when he established the Julian calendar. The naming of the month also dates back to Roman times so April is thought to come from the Latin word ‘aperio’ which means ‘to open’, referring no doubt to the opening buds of springtime.  Did you know that April’s birth flowers are the daisy and the sweet pea? Also, if you are lucky enough to be born in April, like Queen Elizabeth II and Shakespeare, your birthstone is “a girl’s best friend”, the diamond.

So other than April Fool’s Day and (usually) Easter which are now behind us, what else is observed in April?    As is the way these days, every date on the calendar has been appropriated to represent or celebrate something but some that appeal to me are April 10’s ‘National Hug Your Dog Day’ (we have three), April 21’s ‘National Tea Day’ (of course, I am British) and April 28’s ‘National Blueberry Pie Day’ (why not?).

There is another famous date looming this month, the USA’s official federal tax deadline day of April15. Although this deadline was delayed to July 15 last year because of the pandemic, and will be delayed to May 17 in 2021.

The history of Tax Day dates to Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency when he proclaimed the first federal income tax during his first year in office. The Revenue Act came into law in 1862 and it taxed American people’s income to fund the Civil War. Lincoln’s system of a Federal tax on income was repealed in 1871, but it came back in 1909 when Congress passed our current tax system. This became the 16th amendment to the constitution which says, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration”.  This amendment was ratified by the requisite number of states in 1913, and originally set March 1 as the deadline to file tax returns and pay up.  A few years later this was pushed back to March 15 and in 1955, April15 became the new, and lasting deadline.

There is more information at and

I will leave you with a quote from American author, journalist and naturalist, Hal Borland, which inspires me “April is a promise that May is bound to keep.”

God Bless America, and happy April, everyone!

– ENDS –

Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at  or via her PR and marketing agency at



RICHMOND HILL, GA – April 1, 2021 – Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church is set to host an array of virtual and in-person services for the community in commemoration of Holy Week for the Great Three Days – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Spirit of Peace will celebrate Maundy Thursday safe and socially-distanced outside of the Church, 15985 GA-144, Richmond Hill, with a light supper at 6:30 p.m. followed by a worship service. On Good Friday, the service will be held via Zoom and in-person at 7 p.m. and will include a mixture of scripture readings and hymns. The Easter Sunday service will also be held via Zoom and in-person at 10 a.m. and will be comprised of special music and communion with an Easter Egg Hunt to follow for the children.

In the Lutheran church, congregants observe these Great Three Days to ultimately commemorate Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. Maundy Thursday refers to the celebration that took place when Jesus transformed into his body and blood into the Last Supper, which he shared with His disciples. Good Friday is reserved for telling the story of the Jesus’s last day of life and acknowledging His death.

The community is welcome to attend all services, but those interested in joining in-person worship services should contact the church administrator at to reserve a space and learn about the required safety protocols.

“As believers, we have a tendency to want to move from celebration to celebration, without paying attention to how we got there. That is why we choose to commemorate the Great Three Days, which could be considered a single extended, worship service – one that is often minimally observed. It’s true that many people are busy celebrating Easter weekend with family and friends, but perhaps if we gave some deeper thought to the meaning behind these three days, we will have even greater joy on Resurrection Sunday,” Pastor Devin Strong said. “When we’re dealing with real struggles, it can feel like we’re stuck in Good Friday or Holy Saturday. That’s why we gather as Christians, to remind each other not to give up but to wait for the coming of Easter. We invite the community to celebrate this significant week with us – Lutheran or not!”

For more information on Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church, please visit

Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church’s mission is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through ministry, promoting a lifestyle of worship and loving service through word and prayer so that all of God’s children will know Christ’s transforming joy.

– ENDS –

For media inquiries, please contact Hollie Barnidge at or 912-272-8651 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).



Michael Ching
Jorge Parodi
Howard Watkins

SAVANNAH, GA – March 30, 202 – Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) has announced the expansion of its Board of Directors to include three new, distinctly talented members–Michael Ching, Jorge Parodi and Howard Watkins. Michael Ching is the Composer in Residence for the Savannah VOICE Festival. Howard Watkins and Jorge Parodi are part of the faculty at SVF’s sister organization, VOICExperience Foundation, where they offer piano, coaching and conducting. Parodi and Watkins have also been musical contributors to SVF for many years, having worked on productions including Romeo and Juliet, Pagliacci and Traviata with The Savannah Opera Company. Michael Ching and Howard Watkins also serve on the Savannah VOICE Festival Diversity committee.

“It’s essential for SVF’s Board of Directors to genuinely reflect the marvelous diversity of our Savannah community,” said Co-founder and Executive Director Maria Zouves. “We’re excited to welcome these three, fantastic artists and educators, whom we have worked with for many years, to help us serve SVF’s mission of creating a unique destination for music lovers both locally and globally!” 

An opera composer/librettist, conductor, and songwriter, Michael Ching is the composer/librettist of the opera SPEED DATING TONIGHT! With nearly one hundred productions since its 2013 premiere at the Janiec Opera of the Brevard Music Center, SPEED DATING TONIGHT! is one of the most popular operas of the 21st century. His most recent project, ALL DRESSED UP (No Place to Go) for L’arietta Productions in Singapore, includes nine quarantine-related songs which are now part of SPEED DATING TONIGHT! His newest opera, RSBE, had its premiere at the University of Alabama in 2020. In 2018-2019, two new one act operas had their premieres, THRIVERS, at Palm Springs Opera Guild, and EIGHT WOODS AND A VAN, at the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. Additional shorter operas in 2018-19 included BIRTHDAY CLOWN at the Savannah Voice Festival and COMPLETING THE PICTURE for Utah Opera’s commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad. As Composer-in-Residence of Savannah Voice Festival, Michael wrote ALICE RYLEY (2015) and ANNA HUNTER (2017) two works with Savannah subjects. Other works include SLAYING THE DRAGON and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, opera a cappella, recorded on Albany Records. Michael’s other well-known opera is BUOSO’S GHOST.  BUOSO is a comic sequel to GIANNI SCHICCHI. Recently, BUOSO was performed at the Michigan Opera Theatre and Opera Delaware. In 2021, Savannah Voice Festival will premiere his CENERENTOLA sequel, A ROYAL FEAST. Ching lives with his family in Ames, Iowa.

Jorge Parodi was born in Argentina, and has worked extensively in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Recent credits include Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro for Opera Tampa, Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires for New York City Opera, The Atlanta Opera and Opera Grand Rapids, Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi for Buenos Aires Lírica (Argentina), Britten’s The Turn of the Screw for the Castleton Festival in Virginia and The Banff Centre (Canada), Offenbach’s Les contes dHoffmann for Opera Orlando; Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges for The Juilliard School at Lincoln Center and the World Premiere of Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt, the latest opera by John Musto –a coproduction of On Site Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago Lyric’s Unlimited and Pittsburg Opera. Upcoming engagements include his return to The Atlanta Opera and Opera Tampa, and his debut at Chautauqua Opera.  Parodi has been reviewed as having “the most expressive conducting hands since Stokowski” by the New York Daily News. Parodi has also worked with such companies as the Teatro Colón in Argentina, the Volgograd Opera in Russia, the Encuentros Internacionales de Opera in Mexico, the Tokyo International Vocal Arts Academy in Japan and the International Vocal Arts Institute in Israel. He has collaborated with such artists as Isabel Leonard, Eglise Gutierrez, Tito Capobianco, Sherrill Milnes, Aprile Millo and Rufus Wainwright and has assisted conductors Lorin Maazel and Julius Rudel, among others. Parodi is also the Music Director of the Senior Opera Theatre at the Manhattan School of Music, where he has led its productions to critical acclaim.

American pianist, Howard Watkins, is a frequent associate of some of the world’s leading musicians on the concert stage, and an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. His appearances throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, Russia, and Israel have included collaborations with Joyce DiDonato, Diana Damrau, Kathleen Battle, Grace Bumbry, Mariusz Kwiecień, Anna Netrebko, and Matthew Polenzani, as well as violinists Xiang Gao and Sarah Chang at such venues as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Spivey Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Pierpont Morgan Library, the United States Supreme Court, Alice Tully Hall with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the three stages of Carnegie Hall, and the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. He has accompanied the classes of legendary artists Renata Scotto, Frederica von Stade, Régine Crespin, Birgit Nilsson, Sherrill Milnes, and George Shirley. Watkins has served on the faculties of the Tanglewood Music Center, the Aspen Music Festival, the Mannes School of Music, the North Carolina School of the Arts, the International Vocal Arts Institute (Israel, Japan, and China), IIVA in Italy, the Brancaleoni Music Festival in Italy, the Tokyo International Vocal Arts Academy (TIVAA), and VOICExperience in Orlando, Tampa, and Savannah. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Watkins completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in accompanying and chamber Music at the University of Michigan. In 2004, he received the Paul C. Boylan award from the University of Michigan for his outstanding contributions to the field of music, and a special achievement award from the National Alumni Association of the University of Dayton.

Savannah VOICE Festival is a 501(c) 3 tax exempt nonprofit arts organization in the state of Georgia. The Festival brings classical vocal excellence to the Savannah area through a two-week celebration of concerts, events and educational presentations during the month of August and throughout the year. Focusing on arts awareness and audience development in the performing arts, it offers music from opera, musical theatre and popular song. The Savannah VOICE Festival is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly. GCA is a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Donations are tax-deductible.

For more information about the Savannah VOICE Festival please visit

– ENDS –

For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or, or Lesley Francis at 912-429-3950 or


As the UK will be more or less in lockdown until at least April 12, I have been hearing from my family and friends across the pond about how they have been passing the time, especially since the British climate has been keeping people indoors.  There are lots of ‘lockdown cliches’ which we have also experienced in the USA ranging from zoom parties, bread baking, bingeing on Netflix and social media, family board games and a new or rekindled interest in arts and crafts.  For example, knitting has seen a resurgence in popularity as a productive way to use some extra time available when normal activities are curtailed.

When I think of knitting or crocheting, I think of my maternal grandmother – who was a rather tough character – but she did make a point of crocheting a blanket for each of her grandchildren who made it to university.  I still have mine.  She tried to teach me how to knit and I just about grasped the basics, but I always preferred to have my head in a book or try out a new recipe in the kitchen.

The dictionary defines knitting as “the act of forming a fabric by looping a continuous yarn” and its history is rather fascinating.  It is believed that ancient Egyptians were experts in this craft.  People in the Middle East brought this skill along the trade routes to Europe and there is evidence of knitted items in Spain from the 13th century – when Spain was dominated by Arabian cultures. Knitting was only available to the wealthy since it used expensive silks and cottons.  Inexpensive wool became popular later. 

From the mid-15th century affluent people in England and continental Europe began to wear knitted silk stockings, including the men who wore fashionable “doublet and hose” – short pants with stockings underneath.  Apparently, England’s Queen in the late 1500’s, Elizabeth the 1st, was a great fan of knitted silk stockings and pairs believed to belong to her are still in existence.

Around this time people began to use affordable wool to knit for themselves and with the introduction of the more elaborate purl stitch (as in “knit one purl two”) knitting became a popular practical skill with both men and women making knitted hats and more.  Sailors and fishermen took to knitting and began making warm, weather-proof sweaters for wearing on the chilly seas.

By the late 1800s, the middle and some upper classes adopted knitting as a suitable ladylike activity.  The First World War from 1914-18 saw a renewed interest in knitting as people were encouraged to knit and send socks, scarves, hats, and gloves to soldiers in the trenches of France.  During the depression years of the 1930s – when my grandmother was a girl and young woman – knitting was essential as women could buy inexpensive wool or unpick old sweaters as an economical way to clothe the family.  The Second World War again saw knitting for soldiers, then in the 1950s and 1960s, when a greater choice of colors and yarns became available, women were often taught to knit in school so they could knit for their families when they became wives and mothers.

So how did knitting become such a female dominated activity?  In her book, “The Power of Knitting”, Loretta Napoleoni claims that knitting is “an essential tool for the survival of our species, a means for women to influence history and a soothing activity to calm us”.  Knitting has also had an amazing role in the history of secret wartime communications!

Did you know that during times of war, knitting has been used to pass secret codes through the encryption within different stitches?  Knit stitches are flat while purl stitches are horizontal bumps so by alternating these two stiches knitters could send encrypted messages of Morse code within a sweater or scarf.

During World War 1, Belgian intelligence agents asked elderly women who lived near railway stations to monitor the Germans train movements and knit the information into scarfs that could be passed along.  After all, old women looked too innocent to be spies.  Women were even more important during the Second World War as knitting was a way for female spies to encrypt and pass along military secrets while hiding in plain sight – the perfect cover.   If caught these brave women were usually executed.  During WWII, both the United States and the U.K. banned the printing and posting of written knitting patterns, as their repetitive abbreviations could easily be ciphered into codes, but they could hardly ban knitting itself.

Across the Atlantic throughout the early days of this country, and throughout much of the 19th century, women’s approach to knitting and other needle arts underscored existing class and racial divisions. Middle-class and wealthy white women were free to take up needlework selectively, and for either leisurely or political causes, while lower-income or marginalized women turned to it for income and survival. Sewing and knitting circles, became a place for educated women to exchange ideas and talk about political issues and campaigns including the abolition of slavery, temperance, and votes for women. 

There is more information at and

I will leave you with a quote about knitting which amused me although its source is unknown: “I like making a piece of string into something I can wear.”

God Bless America!  Stay safe, stay well, and stay positive.

– ENDS –

Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at  or via her PR and marketing agency at



SAVANNAH, GA – March 19, 2021 – Asbury Memorial Church (AMC) has announced their 2021 virtual Holy Week schedule of worship services leading up to a joyous Easter Sunday virtual service at 11:15 a.m. Sunday, April 4. In addition, for the first time in over a year, on Saturday, April 3, the church nave will be open for people to enjoy the sanctuary and Easter lilies.

Asbury Memorial’s Holy Week services include:

  • 11:15 a.m. Sunday, March 28 – Palm Sunday virtual service commemorates the Lord’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, where devoted followers greeted him, laying palm leaves before him. Parishioners are invited to submit a photo of themselves with a palm or any other item that symbolizes this holy day. The photos will be displayed online during the worship service.
  • 7 p.m. Thursday, April 1 – A 25-minute virtual Maundy Thursday service will commemorate the Last Supper – when Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples.
  • 7 p.m. Friday, April 2 – A 25-minute virtual Good Friday service remembering Jesus’ crucifixion.
  • 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday, April 3 – Asbury Memorial will host The Living Cross experience where guests can bring flowers to place in the church courtyard as part of the floral Living Cross. Guests will also be invited to a masked, socially-distant walk through of the sanctuary, where they can walk down the church aisle and enjoy the Easter lilies.
  • 11:15 a.m. Sunday, April 4 – Easter Sunday virtual service where worshippers celebrate the miracle of resurrection with joy and gratitude.

Easter traditions differ amongst Christian denominations, most noticeably Eastern and Western Christians. Asbury Memorial follows the Wesleyan tradition which celebrates Lent, a forty-day period beginning on Wednesday and leading up to Easter, and then a fifty-day Easter season afterwards, which ends with Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the Christian church. Easter Sunday itself is characterized by joyful songs and news of the miracle of resurrection, the coming of light after a time of bleakness.

“Even though the church is not fully reopening yet, Holy Week and Easter gives us an opportunity to offer services that are meaningful to everyone, no matter where they are on their spiritual journey,” said Asbury Memorial Church’s Rev. Billy Hester. “Everyone is invited to join our congregation for these special virtual services and participate in the Living Cross and visit our sanctuary complying with COVID-19 safety precautions.”

Asbury Memorial Church is a Christ-centered, forward-thinking, all-embracing congregation that celebrates the joy of God creatively and is committed to remaining a welcoming and affirming congregation for all.

For more information about Asbury Memorial Church and the links to the virtual services, please visit

– ENDS –

For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at or 229-393-6457, or Lesley Francis at or 912-429-3950, or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).



SAVANNAH, GA. – MARCH 16, 2021 – Georgia Tech-Savannah is slated to host the next in their breakfast series of virtual Learners and Leaders seminars from 9-10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 27.  These popular events are free to all participants, although registration is required.  Today, more than ever before, as the nation emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, the responsibilities of employers and managers to follow guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are top of mind for many people in the workplace.

Participants in this free seminar will learn about OSHA issues and virtual attendees will hear from: Colin McRae, Partner at Hunter Maclean; Misty Hayes, Regional Safety Manager at U.S. Xpress, Inc.; Luke Dorman, Senior Project Manager at DPR Construction; and Tom Mcllvaine, EHS Manager. Each panelist will speak about their personal experiences and discussions will include a focus on: issues and the implications and challenges of a multi-employer worksite and how to implement best management practices for all types of employees working on the same jobsite; how to prepare for and what to expect from an OSHA inspection as well as the legal ramifications of employing temporary workers. Attendees will be invited to submit questions for the panelists by the program facilitator.

“Learning how to abide by OSHA regulations is essential in all types of workplaces. This virtual Learners and Leaders event is likely to be popular among safety directors, managers, supervisors, foremen and women, human resources professionals, and administrators who all need to be prepared (and prepare their employees) for these issues. I believe participants will be interested to hear from business leaders who have extensive experience with OSHA and value the opportunity to ask questions. We welcome any business professional to join us for this session,” said Dana Atkinson, Research Associate II at Georgia Tech OSHA Education Center.

To register for this event, please visit,



Historic Beaufort Foundation

By Mary Thompson 


The Historic Beaufort Foundation cordially invites you to join us for this year’s annual Spring Architect’s Tour. Taking place on Saturday, March 20, 2021, our annual tour will guide you on a unique journey of Beaufort through examples of both traditional and contemporary architecture, showcasing the creative and distinctive imprint of some of our most accomplished architects. The homes chosen for this year’s tour specifically interpret the Lowcountry in the 21st century. This year, we are featuring properties that have been recently completed and “hard hat” tours of properties under construction.


Beaufort has boasted some of the best of southern architecture since building began here in the 18th century. Today’s local architects continue that tradition of excellence. This year, the tour highlights the work of Allison Ramsey Architects, Frederick and Frederick Architects and Montgomery Architecture & Planning.  Architects, Builders and Contractors will also be onsite to answer questions during the tour, including:  Broad River Construction, Allen Patterson Builders, Howell Builders, Phifer Contracting and TD Commercial Builders.  

Properties included in this year’s tour are located in historic downtown Beaufort, Lady’s Island, Cane Island, St. Helena Island and Fripp Island.

Cara May Cottage

Location: Beaufort Historic District
Architect:  Allison Ramsey Architects
Builder: TD Commercial Builders
Interior Designers: Jeremiah & Emily Smith

This beautiful cottage, full of curb appeal, is similar in size to the original freedman cottages built throughout the North West Quadrant of Beaufort’s Historic District in the late 19th century.

Cane Island Home

Location: Cane Island
Architect: Frederick & Frederick Architects
Builder: Patrick McMichael, Broad River Construction
Builder: Matt Phifer, Phifer Construction
Interior Design: Frederick & Frederick Architects

This home’s custom design provides a more contemporary feel than the traditional Lowcountry style and emphasizes the owner’s desire for a light-filled house with clean lines.

St. Helena Island House

Location: Station Creek
Architect: Montgomery Planning & Architecture
Builder: Allan Howell, Howell Builders
Interior Design: Susan Loeffler

This ultra-modern home sits along the marshes of Station Creek with views to St. Phillips Island, Bay Point, and the mouth of the Port Royal Sound.

Fripp Island Home

Location: Fripp Island
Architect:  Allison Ramsey Architects
Builder: Allen Patterson, Allen Patterson Builders
Interior Designer: Allen Patterson Builders

This custom waterfront house has a great view of the Atlantic Ocean and is high on southern coastal charm. Garden spaces and a pool accent the interior side of the lot, adding to outdoor living opportunities.

Factory Creek Home

Location: Lady’s Island
Architect: Montgomery Planning & Architecture
Builder: Matt Phifer, Phifer Construction

This innovative project is a blend of old and new by reimagining a 1970’s split-level house into a sensitive and sustainable design.

Your safety during this event is a priority. The Historic Beaufort Foundation is mindful of the continuing Covid-19 concerns and will make every effort to ensure that protocols are in place for signage, social distancing, access, masking, hand sanitizer and other necessary precautions. Masks will be required when inside the properties.


Spring Architect’s Tour

Date:  Saturday, March 20, 2021 – rain or shine

Time: 10AM to 4:30PM

Price: $65 per person – Advance Reservations are recommended and available by calling HBF at 843-379-3331 or by visiting this link. The tour is self-paced and self-driven.

This year’s tour sponsors include: Gilbert Law Firm, Broad River Construction, Allen Patterson Builders, Howell Builders, and Phifer Construction

Whether you are a history buff, a lover of architecture, or looking for inspiration for your own home, this year’s architectural tour has something for everyone. Please join us and enjoy this unique opportunity to get a look at some of the most fabulous new architecture in Beaufort.  

Follow and like us on Facebook and Instagram.



SAVANNAH, GA – Embargoed: 10:30 a.m. March 11, 2021 – Pritty: The Animation – the first-ever, Black, queer animated short film based in Savannah is launching its Kickstarter Long Story Short campaign on Thursday, March 11 to reach their next stretch goal of $125,000 on the path to raising 1.6M for the total production budget.

Keith F. Miller, Jr.,an award-winning educator, artist, researcher, and Savannah native wrote a soon-to-be published LGBTQ+ novel inspired by the complexity of growing up Black and queer in the Deep South. Founder of Healing By Any Means, a creative consultancy and production company that powers people, projects, and research at the heart of systems and narrative change using art, media, and healing-focused pedagogy, Keith crossed paths with a NYU filmmaker, Terrance Daye, and together, they reimagined a chapter of his novel into a short film – Pritty: The Animation.

To donate to the Campaign, please visit

This story was created in response to a startling, ever-present truth: boys and young men of color face innumerable obstacles that prevent them from living long, full, healthy, and productive, emotionally-rich lives. Miller believes there is a correlation be­tween the limited range of queer youth of color representation on screen and the staggering number of suicide attempts LGBTQ+ youth around the country. Unfortunately, most queer coming-of-age films habitually reproduce trau­mas onscreen without visualizing futures beyond the “coming out” experience.

Pritty: The Animation aims to address this disparity by showcasing youth of color, specifically Black men, in an unconventional light. Instead of perpetuating the same narrative of Black boys fighting, belittling, and harming one another, viewers experience a front-row seat of a different reality and narrative of them at play, discovering themselves, being vulnerable and healing in the process. This intentional approach of visualizing that “When Black and Brown youth play, they heal” stems from Miller’s own research and work as an educator at the Deep Center. Today, few, if any, animated queer coming-of-age stories exist for Black men. Pritty aims to fill this gap and expand a necessary conversation around what it means to be a Black boy coming-of-age in America.

“Putting this together in the middle of a pandemic – there were so many reasons to give up, but we are a team of dreamers and talented, queer POC artists who just don’t know when to stop,” said Pritty: The Animation Director Terrance Daye. “We believe that the Black kids we create this art for are worth the big asks, time, and money that it takes to put a production like this together. That is why we could not stop making this film and that is why we had to keep dreaming.”

The animation direction brings Miller’s childhood depiction of Savannah to life through the use of lush, romantic landscapes, textured ambient sounds and distinctly Black character designs to create a sense of immersive realism through traditional 2D animation. The production team is partnering with Powerhouse Animation Studios in Texas for Animation Production. As part of Kickstarter’s Long Story Short campaign, the team will spend the rest of March crowdsourcing enough funds to reach their next stretch goal of $125,000 with hopes of eventually reaching the 1.6M budget to produce the full 20-minute animated film in their desired artistic style.

“Our stories, our culture, our communities, our hoods deserve to occupy the center, and this animation is a reminder of that,” said Executive Producer Keith Miller. “Savannah has always been a place of dreaming for me, a way to imagine what’s possible beyond the trauma I and many other youth of color have experienced every day, which is why Pritty: The Animation must exist. We need everyone’s help to ensure we reach our goal to complete the animated short film. And as history asks us how we will respond in this moment, how we will create our own legacy, no donation is too small. All funds will go toward the wonderful village it’s going to take to bring this story to life and show that Savannah, the state of Georgia, and the Deep South is capable of so much more than people think. Whether queer or not, a person of color or not, we all need this so we can heal, together.”

– ENDS –

For media inquiries, please contact Crystal Vogel at or 912-509-1510 or Lesley Francis at or 912-429-3950 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).



SAVANNAH, GA – March 10, 2021 – The Savannah African Art Museum is celebrating Women’s History Month with two special virtual workshops. The first, “Celebrating African Women Hidden Figures,” is set to launch online the week of March 13. The second, “History Maker Mayor Edna Jackson, Savannah’s First African American Woman Mayor, who served from 2012-2016, shares her Africa Experience,” will be available the week of March 27.

Throughout history, African women have played important leadership roles in society, media, and across a multitude of professions.  Unfortunately, in some areas, they have not been as widely recognized or celebrated as their male counterparts. SAAM’s workshop aims to enlighten participants about a few of these women and tell how the roles they’ve played over the years have influenced and shaped history as well as today’s world. Workshop viewers will be surprised to find the powerful African female themes and effects that surface frequently in everyday life.

The second workshop, which will be available the week of March 27, will feature Savannah’s first African American female mayor, Edna Jackson. A history-maker herself, this special program will feature Jackson’s recollections of her own Africa Experience and how it shaped her personally. Jackson has traveled to both Ghana and Nigeria. Her 2000 trip to Ghana was coordinated by former Savannah State University President, Dr. Carlton Brown, and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Joseph H. Silver Sr., who established the university’s student exchange program with Ghana. The trip was instrumental in solidifying important relationships with Ghana’s universities and its leadership, which were essential to the program. Jackson’s Nigerian trip was with a delegation of doctors, healthcare workers and volunteers as part of a health initiative partnership with Dr. Eugene Nwosu and St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital.

“My trip to Ghana was incredible and one highlight was meeting the leader of the Ashanti Nation and then welcoming him to Savannah as our honored guest. People from all over Georgia came to meet him as we rolled out the red carpet for him and showed him our southern hospitality. I also had the privilege of traveling to the Cape Coast and saw where the enslaved had been kept in slave castles and caves which was passage through the ‘Door of No Return’ toward their terrible destination,” Jackson said. “Later, on a mission trip to Nigeria as part of a delegation with Dr. Nwosu and St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital, I learned to read prescriptions and assisted with dispensing eye-glasses. I remember the amazing hospitality of the Nigerians as I had a birthday during our trip, and they surprised me with a wonderful party and a new traditional Nigerian dress! The purpose of these African trips is still relevant today and the connections made between Savannah, Ghana and Nigeria remain.”

SAAM Education Coordinator Lisa Jackson was eager to bring the African Women Hidden Figures workshop back for Women’s History Month and honored to have Mayor Edna Jackson to be a part of the celebration.

“There is such a rich history of powerful, female influence in African culture. These hidden figures deserve recognition and to be celebrated. Women’s History Month is the perfect occasion to do just that, “Jackson said. “And combining that content with engaging personal stories and experiences from one of our region’s groundbreaking female leaders, Edna Jackson, just really rounds out the workshops and lends so much depth.”

To participate in these workshops, please visit To learn more about the museum, upcoming workshops, and the museum’s newest collections, please visit and follow SAAM on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @SavannahAfricanArtMuseum.

– ENDS –

For media inquiries, please contact Lesley Francis at or 912-429-3950, Kristyn Fielding at or 229-393-6457, or Hollie Barnidge at or 912-272-8651.