Mayor Tecklenburg announces artistic director for MOJA Arts FestivalMarch 24, 2023
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and members of City Council announced Charlton Singleton as artistic director for MOJA Arts Festival. The ceremony took place on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 in City Hall Council Chamber.
As artistic director, Mr. Singleton will assist with the implementation of this year’s festival and guide the artistic planning and program development for future festivals.
A native of Awendaw, SC, Charlton Singleton began his musical studies at the age of three on the piano. He would then go on to study the organ, violin, cello, and the trumpet throughout elementary, middle, and high school. In 1994, he received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance degree from South Carolina State University. Since that time, he has taught music at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, as well as being an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston. In 2008 he co-founded and became the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra; an 18-piece jazz ensemble of some of the finest professional musicians in the Southeast and the resident big band in Charleston, SC.
As a performer, Charlton leads his own ensembles that vary in size and style. He has performed in France, Great Britain, Scotland, Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, The Netherlands, as well as many great cities throughout the United States. He is a founding member of an ensemble called Ranky Tanky. The group is a quintet that interprets the sounds of Gullah from the Southeast Coast of the United States. In 2017 Ranky Tanky reached the top of the Billboard, iTunes, and Amazon Contemporary Jazz charts with their self-titled debut recording. In 2019 they accomplished the same feat with the release of their sophomore effort, “Good Time”, which won the 2019 Grammy Award for “Best Regional Roots Album”.
In addition to performing, he is in demand as a speaker, clinician, composer, and arranger. He has also shared the stage with and/or worked with some of the most talented entertainers in the world, including Lisa Fischer, Bobby McFerrin, Ruby Dee, Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, Houston Person, Darius Rucker, Fred Wesley, and Cyrus Chestnut to name a few.
Outside of music and entertainment, he, and his wife, MaryJo, are the proud parents of Shalamar and D’Marcus and new grandparents to Sophia Rose. They are also parents to their FIVE pets…Jango, MoJo, Dakota, Pumpkin, and Ginger.
The MOJA Arts Festival is a multi-disciplinary festival produced annually by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the MOJA Planning Committee, an all-volunteer community arts and cultural group. The Festival highlights African-American and Caribbean cultural heritage and artistic excellence through a wide range of events, including the visual arts, classical music, dance, gospel, jazz, poetry, R&B music, storytelling, theatre, children’s activities, traditional crafts, food and more. MOJA also includes an educational outreach component focused on area public schools, seniors and community centers.