Lifelong Learning Group Presents ‘Blues to Jazz’ at Colleton’s Nicklaus Club

Debi Incandela, Lifelong Learning Committee Group member envisioned a musical dinner experience featuring blues and jazz for her fellow Colleton members. Debi reached out to the multi-talented musician, Lavon Stevens to conduct an evening of music and its history and they soon learned they both speak the language of music.

Mr. Lavon’s extensive repertoire encompasses soulful jazz, blues, contemporary, and gospel.  A native of Savannah, Lavon began his musical studies at the age of seven with the violin. By 13, he was listening to his classically trained brother and then playing piano by ear. He studied piano and voice at Dekalb College in Atlanta from 1979 to 1983. Lavon performed nationally for years before returning to the Lowcountry.

LLG Committee members, Debi Incandela and Mr. Stevens welcome Lavon Stevens who was accompanied by three talented jazz students.

Mr. Stevens offered a delightful blend of entertainment and education as he discussed the roots of jazz and then illustrated his points with music and song.  Explaining that jazz is the only truly original American art form, he pointed to the influence of African music (string plucking), drum lines, horns used in funeral processions and ring shouts.  The origin of the word, ‘jazz’ is still an historical contention but the best contender is the similarity of “jazz” to “jasm”, an obsolete slang term meaning spirit, energy, and vigor.

Kelda Maynard partnered with Debi Incandela to transform the Nicklaus Clubhouse into the ‘Nicklaus Jazz Club’ for the evening.

Lavon characterized gospel as the sound of hope.  Gospel music is a form of euphoric, rhythmic, spiritual music rooted in the solo and responsive church singing of the African American South. Its development coincided with – and is germane to – the development of rhythm and blues.

Lavon works from this philosophy: “The greatest power in the world is love, the second greatest power in the world is music. I use the power of the music to translate love all over the world.”

The ‘Nicklaus Jazz Club’ evening was a resounding success.

Debi Incandela capped the evening by singing, The Birth of the Blues’ with Lavon on piano and accompaniment by the jazz musicians of the future.

Colleton’s Lifelong Learning Group Hosts ‘Rocket Scientists’

LLG Committee member, Peg Roedel has had a great track record mining the talents of Colleton’s own members as LLG speakers. Learning that ‘Mac’ MacIlroy had written a book that Pat Conroy lauded as “A great book about friendship, growing up in the fifties, and a lost America that will never come again”, Peg and her fellow LLG committee member Gale Stafford worked together to arrange for Mac to share his book and experiences on November 8, 2018 in Colleton’s Nicklaus Ballroom.

LLG Committee members ,Gale Stafford and Peg Roedel, host author, ‘Mac’ MacIlroy.

Not Exactly Rocket Scientists is a collection of stories written by three boyhood friends about their lives in small-town America in the 1950’s; a time when many kids played unsupervised all day and parents didn’t worry because everyone in town was looking out for them. Mac’s childhood was the era between the end of WWII and the evolution of the Vietnam War and the social unrest that marked the decades of the 60’s and 70’s. He read selections from the chapters he wrote and regaled the audience with his experiences during that time.

MacIlroy is retired from his career as an attorney, CEO and adjunct professor.

Members enjoyed a buffet of 1950 food (looking at you deviled eggs!) capped off with angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream and Coke and Root Beer floats.

Colleton’s Lifelong Learning Group Hosts Steve Wilmot, Tournament Director, RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing

Leslie Kreuzer and Sandy Wooster, Lifelong Learning Group (LLG) committee volunteers, were interested in seeking a golf-oriented speaker for LLG’s tenth year of presenting programs for Colleton’s members. It made perfect sense to reach out to RBC Heritage Director, Steve Wilmot because the iconic tournament celebrated its own 50th birthday in 2019. The Heritage is the South Carolina’s only GA event and Mr. Wilmot is enjoying 20 years as its Tournament Director. Colleton has a natural affinity with the Harbour Town Golf Links because Pete Dye, designed them in consultation with Jack Nicklaus, in the fall of 1969.

Steve Wilmot poses with LLG Committee members, Leslie Kreuzer and Sandy Wooster and quipped that he’d never been asked to speak so far in advance and it made him feel, “Pretty important!”

Mr. Wilmot noted that, “Players love to come to the Heritage the week after the Masters”. The tournament has a whooping $91MM economic impact on the Hilton Head/Bluffton area and a worldwide broadcast audience of one billion households. He proudly reported that the event raised $3.3MM for charitable organizations this past year. He is especially pleased that a $30,000 grant was donated to combat hunger in South Carolina.

The successful partnership with Boeing includes a dramatic flyover, which has been so popular that it is now conducted during primetime at 4pm on the Saturday of the tournament weekend. Boeing has been wowing Heritage spectators with the low-altitude flyovers since 2012, when a Dreamliner first made an appearance at the event.

Mr. Wilmot touched on the myriad aspects of his role that include:
• Involvement in the recent renovation of the iconic lighthouse,
• Attaining the GEO Certified® Tournament award for advancing sustainability in and through golf,
• Creating a ‘Patriot’s Outpost’ as a designated sky box and ‘mess hall’ for the military,
• Attaining the award of PGA Charity of the Year
• Attaining PGA Recognition for ‘best integrated marketing plan and special events’,
• Supporting 57 scholars with scholarships.

Seventy Colleton members enjoyed a buffet dinner following Mr. Wilmot’s presentation.