An Interview with Charles

Charles and participants sing at an evening program

What was it like to be back at Legacy/GYV after 25 years?

Gosh, it was like coming home. It was like being a prodigal son.  I loved being there. J.E. Rash is like a brother to me so I was with family.  And I got to see Laura Symons and many other friends whom I had worked with all those years ago.  I have asked to come back next year.  Being at Legacy feeds me in so many ways.  The energy of the youth is contagious.

How was your workshop?  What was your favorite part?

I loved how open, respectful and cooperative the young people were.  There were a few who thought they had to be cool at first, but that didn’t last long.   At the end, we were all best friends and we loved them all.  It was really a glorious experience.  I wish I could have been there longer.  I got to be with people that I love and I was in tears when I left.  We created an even deeper bond.

What was it like to teach songs about the Freedom Riders to an international group that really didn’t know anything about the Civil Rights Movement?

Actually, that was the best part.  It was fantastic to hear the young people from all over the world embracing another culture…embracing our culture. Lorraine Warren (Peace Building instructor) called me after I left and told me that I haven’t really left because the young people were walking around singing the songs I had taught them.  That was wonderful to hear.

It’s been a long time since you’ve been back. What has changed at Legacy and what has stayed the same?

The spirit is still the same.  The people are still the same, but Legacy has grown…and it has turned into a really slick organization.  There is a tremendous sense of professionalism and everyone delivers without losing heart.

What have you been involved during the past two decades?

Well, I’ve been teaching at two different camps during the summer and at the Levine School of Music during the school year.  I went on a State Department Tour to the Middle East and did a lot of spoken word and percussion.  I also direct a senior chorus in northeast D.C. and we perform our program at festivals.  I’ve sung at the Paris Opera.  Soon, I will be involved in a production of Einstein at the Beach, an opera by Philip Glass.  I will be playing the role of Mr. Johnson. We will be touring all over Canada and the U.S.


To read  more about what Charles’s has been up to, check out Charles’ bio.