I woke up the other day in Berkeley Springs with this on my mind: THE GLOBAL YOUTH VILLAGE
They came from many places and lands to form this Global Youth Village. They came from Iraq, The Crow Nation in Montana, Kurdistan, Northern Virginia and Nigeria. They came, these 14-18 year olds. They came to learn about living in peace, about conflict resolution, about mutual respect, about accepting, and learning about other cultures. They shared their cultures with each other.
It was an honor and pleasure to be a guest artist in residence in this village. I was privileged to share my knowledge of how the human voice can produce healthy and pleasant sounds. I also talked about The American Freedom Riders, and their songs. I shared with them some of the poetic treasures of The Harlem Renaissance, and taught them songs from Africa, The US, and The Apache Nation. I taught a group of young men from Iraq to do The Hambone — that rhythmic game played on ones’ own body. They performed The Hambone on the final evenings sharing concert with great success and announced that they would teach it to their friends when they returned home to Iraq.
They came, they bonded, they learned, they became one, brothers and sisters. They came and they formed a peaceful Global Youth Village.
CHARLES WILLIAMS won international acclaim since his opera debut at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. He acted and sung in theaters and opera houses, and for radio and television in Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Zurich and Vienna. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess. He also performed at Carnegie Hall, The Barns at Wolf Trap, The Smithsonian, and the Kennedy Center. He toured Europe as a cast member and vocal coach of The Temptation of St. Anthony, performed at the Paris Opera (l’Opera Garnier) and at festivals in Melbourne and Warsaw.
For more than a decade, Charles partnered with global-jazz percussionist Tom Teasley to form the duo Word-Beat which performed in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. The duo released two CDs, Poetry, Prose, Percussion and Song and The Soul Dances. Charles’s solo CD, Talkin’ About, features spirituals and selections from the American musical theater.
Under the auspices of the U.S. State Department, Word-Beat performed and conducted music workshops in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The duo also performed and gave workshops in collaboration with local musicians in East and West Jerusalem.
Charles served as vocal consultant for the Grammy award-winning group Sweet Honey in the Rock and was a vocal panelist for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. He was a master teacher/artist in voice at the Levine School of Music in Washington DC. He taught vocal and musical theater workshops in Salzburg, Austria, and at the University of the Arts in Berlin, Germany.
Students came from the entire Atlantic coast to study with Charles in his ever-growing home studio in Alexandria, Virginia. He also traveled the country to give master classes and conduct vocal workshops.
Charles taught voice classes during the summer at the Summer Acoustic Music Week at Geneva Point Center in New Hampshire and at Vocal Week at Augusta Heritage Center at Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia.
In the spring of 2011, Charles directed the one-woman play, Ann Joice, produced by Floyd-McCutcheon Productions. Whilst he had a masterful singing voice, he was equally effective as an orator, a spoken word artist specializing in the poetry of Langston Hughes and other writers of the Harlem Renaissance.
TOM TEASLEY, described in the Washington Post as “a multi-instrumental genius,” maintains a unique career as a solo percussionist, composer and collaborator. He is the 2016 Drummie Award winner for “World Percussionist of the Year by Drum! Magazine. Tom is a 2010, 2011 and 2017 Helen Hayes Theatre Award recipient for outstanding sound design (nominations in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2019). Tom tours frequently throughout the world performing and presenting clinics for the instrument companies he endorses including Yamaha, Vic Firth, Sabian, Remo, Gon Bops and others. His educational book /DVD, An American Approach to World Percussion is published by Alfred Publishing. Tom is the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, 2020 WAMA (Washington Area Music Award) World Music Instrumentalist of the year. A six-time recipient of a Fulbright-Hayes grant for performances in the Middle East, Tom collaborated with indigenous musicians and gave historic performances by invitation of U.S. embassies in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Samoa, Oman and Jerusalem. He has been an artist-in-residence at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and has collaborated with the National Symphony as both a soloist and composer. As an international collaborator he has performed by invitation in Europe, South America, New Zealand, Samoa and Korea. Tom earned the Artist-of-the-year award from Young Audiences of Virginia for his creative and educational presentations. His eight CDs have been greeted with international airplay and acclaim. He has been the subject of numerous feature articles in both Modern Drummer Downbeat and Drum! magazines.