Fine Arts Excellence: PRCC Alumni Inducted into Hall of Fame

April 26, 2023

Two Pearl River Community College alumni were inducted into the Fine Arts Hall of Fame immediately before the final concert of the school year in the Ethel Brownstone Center for the Arts. Performances at the April 20th concert alternated between The Voices a cappella arrangements under the direction of Dr. LaDona Tyson and the lively music of the JazzCats under the direction of Mike Bass.

Charles Carter and Owen Hale are the 2022-2023 inductees to the Fine Arts Hall of Fame.

From left to right: Dr. Trevor Hunt, Charles Carter, Owen Hale, and Delana Harris.

A special reception for the inductees was held at the Verlene Norton Cole Alumni House before the concert. Family and friends of the inductees, Brownstone patrons, and PRCC faculty and staff attended.

“The Fine Arts Hall of Fame induction ceremony was a testament to the rich history and bright future of the Fine Arts & Communications Department at PRCC,” said Dr. Trevor Hunt, Fine Arts and Communications Department Chair and Director of the Brownstone Center for the Arts. “We were proud to recognize the contributions of our newest Hall of Fame members while also celebrating the talent of our current students at the evening concert.

“The dedication of our students, faculty, and community supporters has helped shape this department into a premiere destination for fine arts education in Mississippi.”

Biographical information about each honoree was given again at the start of the evening’s concert with images placed on the screens flanking the stage. The honoree and their guests were then invited to stand for recognition.

2022-2023 Fine Arts Hall of Fame Recipients

Charles Carter and Owen Hale take a moment to pose with their awards.

Charles Carter came to PRCC in the spring of 1974 where he was a member of the drum line for the Spirit of the River Marching Band under the direction of Mr. Ray Patten. Carter, also known as “CC,” is a phenomenal singer and musician with over 30 years in the entertainment business. He is skilled in playing saxophone, drums, and bass guitar, with his first love being the flute.

“I have many fond memories of Pearl River,” said Carter. “I was just beginning to try to play saxophone and Mr. Patten actually gave me a beginner book to get me started.”

Carter is well known locally having performed throughout the New Orleans French Quarter, local restaurants, as well as many annual fundraising events, including Waiting for a Cure Breast Cancer Foundation, Homes of Hope for Children, Ribbons of Change Aids Services Coalition, March of Dimes and the American Heart Association.

Carter has established his own sound system business, Carter Sound and Music Solutions, LLC, and has a One-Man Show, Charles “CC” Carter “LIVE.” Carter has performed for various regional and national conferences and with the Mississippi Mass Choir at the Mississippi Grammys. Carter is active in his local church’s Music and Choir Ministry and Youth Ministry. Carter serves his community as a Little League Baseball Coach and has served on the Mayor’s Youth Council.

“I’ve been blessed that we never look for work now,” said Carter. “Our calendar is crazy. It is the last thing I expected because I’m a musician who was ostracized as a young adult. But God had a plan for me, and it manifested itself. I’ve been doing music full time now for right at 9 years.”

Owen Hale is originally from Lumberton and was recruited by Mr. Ray Patten to join the Pearl River Community College marching band in the fall of 1970 on a full scholarship. His primary instrument was the trumpet, yet in college he became interested in playing drums and taught himself to play. It is his 15 years of playing trumpet that Hale credits for his ability to easily hear all the instrumental parts in a song and develop his skill as a drummer.

“More than anything, I enjoyed going to music class,” said Hale. “I wouldn’t take anything for the years I was here. Mr. Patten was the best and he showed me the way, helped me through, and nurtured me.”

After PRCC, he moved to Jackson to play gigs and seek opportunities as a studio musician. His first break came when he was asked to play on a Marissa DeFranco session for Elektra Records by Mike Daniels of North American Recording in Jackson, MS. Rick Hall, owner of FAME Recording Studios, asked him to move to Muscle Shoals, Alabama and start cutting demos. This launched his impressive career as a studio and touring drummer for some of the most well-known artists in the world. Artists he has performed with include Tammy Wynette, David Allen Coe, Toby Keith, George Strait, Dolly Parton, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Hale is listed as the studio drummer on well over 100 recordings.

“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame means I did something right,” said Hale. “It thrills me to have been nominated.

“I found out while going through cancer treatment. It was a bit of good news I received during a challenging time.”

JazzCats and The Voices Concert

The 2022-2023 season for the Brownstone ended on a high note with exceptional performances at the final concert. For each piece played, soloists were recognized, with many in the audience showering them with vibrant applause and standing ovations for the final selections.

Selections performed by The Voices were “Diamonds” arranged by Rob Dietz featuring soloist Nicolas Williams, “Little Voice” arranged by Wilson Smith featuring soloist Anna Reese Arroyo, “Fly Away” arranged by Smith featuring soloist Madison Mims, “Feel It Still” arranged by Dietz featuring soloist Carlyn White, “How Long” arranged by Smith featuring Mims as soloist, “Let Somebody Go” arranged by Smith featuring Sam Miller and White as soloists, “Fall into Place” arranged by Smith featuring Jack Moeller as soloist, “Flying” arranged by Dietz with soloist Jonathan Freeman, “Ghost” arranged by Dietz with soloist Moeller, “Fast Car” arranged by Dietz featuring soloist Delta Howard, “Parting Glass” arranged by Dietz featuring Freeman as soloist, and the group’s favorite “Country Medley” arranged by Dietz with multiple members taking turns with solos.

The JazzCats performed “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” by Count Basie and arranged by Paul Cook featured Drew Helgerson on trumpet, Eli Wright on alto sax, and Peyton Brossette on trombone, “Shiny Stockings” by Frank Foster and arranged by Greg Yasinitsky featured    Landon Berryhill on trumpet, “In a Mellow Mood” by Duke Ellington and arranged by Oliver Nelson featured Brossette on trombone and Wright on alto sax, “Bewitched” by Lorenz Hart/Richard Rodgers arranged by Rick Stitzel featured Christian Pope, tenor sax, “Take What You Need” by Doug Beach featured Peyton Brossette on trombone, Jacob Hodgins on alto sax, Malachi Scott on trumpet, Pope on tenor sax, and Wright on alto sax, “No Spring Chicken” by Chris Berg featured Pope on tenor sax, Joshua Perez on guitar, Wright on alto sax, Jacob Hodgins on alto sax, and Conner Dorn on drums, “The Shadow of Your Smile” by Johnny Mandel and arranged by Roy Phillippe featured Hope Bass on piano, Drew Helgerson on trumpet, and Wright on alto sax,“Hopscotch” by Paul Baker featured Wright on alto sax, Perez on guitar, and Pope on tenor sax, and “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder and arranged by Mike Tomaro featured Wright on alto sax, Perez on guitar, and Pope on tenor sax.

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Article by Laura O’Neill. Photography by Jacob Cochran.

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