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Etherredge Center Brings Low Country Gullah Culture to the CSRA

Photo Caption: Dr. Marlena Smalls and the Hallelujah Singers will appear at the Etherredge Center on the campus of the University of South Carolina Aiken on October 11 at 7:30 pm

For more information contact: Kayla Garnder at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 803.641.3328

Aiken, SC (10/07/2022) — The Etherredge Center presents its next event within its Carolina Series: Dr. Marlena Smalls and the Hallelujah Singers on October 11 at 7:30 pm. The Etherredge Center's Carolina Series strives to bring talented artists from around South Carolina to audiences in Aiken. In this second event of the 2022-2023 series, Dr. Marlena Smalls, originally from Beaufort, South Carolina, will perform alongside her six-part choir, the "Hallelujah Singers."

Dr. Smalls was born in Ohio to South Carolinian parents and found her way back to the Beaufort area in the 1980s. There, she discovered her Gullah heritage on which she based her music. She has performed her blues, gospel, jazz, and contemporary repertoire worldwide in places such as the Kennedy Center, Frankfurt Opera House in Germany, and even a performance for the Queen of England. Not only is Smalls a performer, but an educator and historian, teaching students throughout the Beaufort area about Gullah culture and music.

Since forming the group in 1989, the Hallelujah Singers have been comprised of local female singers, some of which have been Dr. Small's family members. At the heart of this group, which has kept them going for more than 30 years, is the goal of keeping Gullah culture alive. Their lively spiritual and blues renditions portray a living history of the African people brought over to Beaufort and the Sea Islands starting in the 16th century. "This Gullah thing is really an African thing, so it gives us a truer picture of who we are," explains Smalls. "And, I wanted to connect with others that we are more alike than we are different."

Tickets for Dr. Marlena Smalls and the Hallelujah Singers are $20 and are on sale now at the Etherredge Center. To purchase tickets, go to or call the box office at (803) 641-3305. If you have further questions, box office employees are ready and willing to provide help. 

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