The 19th Annual Presidential Scholarship Gala at Claflin University will be “A Night to Remember” as R&B singer Howard Hewett, formerly of the legendary group Shalamar, performs on Friday, Nov. 16.
The scholarship fundraising event will be held in the Tullis Arena of the Jones T. Kennedy Health and Physical Education Center. The event begins with a silent auction at 6 p.m. and the Gala begins at 7 p.m. Tickets, which are selling fast, are currently on sale for $200 per person and available by calling Ms. Cassandra Odom at (803) 535-5722
The Gala provides scholarships for the University’s Presidential Scholars. Additionally, the event pays tribute to outstanding leaders with the induction of new members to the Claflin University Hall of Fame and provides a special social event for alumni and the Orangeburg community.
“We are extremely excited about this year’s gala,” said Gala Chair Laura Keith. “We have some exciting new things planned for attendees as we raise money for these deserving youths and honor our Hall of Fame inductees.”
Raised in Akron, Ohio, Hewett moved to Los Angeles. There, he would eventually meet Soul Train dancer and future first wife Rainey Riley-Cunningham, then a secretary of the show's creator and original host Don Cornelius. It was he who introduced Hewett to fellow Soul Train dancers Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel, and their group, Shalamar, was born.
The trio is best known for songs such as "Second Time Around," "A Night to Remember," "Dancing in the Sheets" and the ballad "This Is For The Lover In You." Hewett was the group's lead singer from 1979 until 1985.
When Shalamar broke up in the mid-1980s, Hewett went on to pursue a solo career. He signed with Elektra Records and recorded 1986's I Commit To Love. The album also included "Say Amen," a gospel tune that became a surprise hit on the gospel charts and is Hewett's signature song. Hewett contributed vocals to La Toya Jackson's Hot 100 hit single "Hearts Don't Lie" in 1984.
In 1990, Hewett released a self-titled album, which included the hit "Show Me" and 1992 saw the release of the LP Allegiance. He contributed to the second season theme song of "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper." After 1995’s It’s Time, Hewett stopped recording solo, spending much of his time providing guest vocals on albums by jazz artists such as Joe Sample, Brian Culbertson, and George Duke, among others. In 2001, Hewett recorded his first full gospel album, The Journey, followed a year later by The Journey Live: From the Heart.
In October 2006, Hewett released a new single, "Enough,” which received substantial play on urban contemporary and R&B radio stations. Hewett is signed to The Groove Records, an independent label based in Los Angeles. In October 2008, Hewett released his long awaited and well received Christmas CD "Howard Hewett Christmas," which featured contributions from musical greats Earth Wind and Fire and Stevie Wonder. In 2009 he recorded a duet with soul singer Teena Marie, "Lover's Lane," on her album Congo Square.