Awareness: Orangeburg band to host their annual Christmas Eve Gala, Local painter lands national deal with hotel chain

Exotic band hosts Christmas Gala in Orangeburg Counyt
Exotic band hosts Christmas Gala in Orangeburg Counyt((AWARENESS 10))
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 4:46 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Awareness is a local program that focuses on issues facing South Carolina and its communities.

Orangeburg Band to host their annual Christmas Eve Gala, Local Painter lands national deal with hotel chain

This week on Awareness the lineup is a special one because it includes host Billie Jean Shaw’s dad, his band mates, “The Exotics,” and one of the most talented artists in the world- Ija Charles! The Exotics are hosting their twenty-third annual Christmas Eve scholarship gala in Orangeburg. Ija Charles has a new partnership with Cambria Hotels across the state, which was highlighted by Forbes!

Awareness: Exotics Band Christmas gala in Orangeburg

Through the sound of music, a Midlands band is helping to send students to college.

The Exotics Band is based out of Orangeburg and has been together for more than 50 years. The group is made up of teachers, doctors, and social workers, all of who have played behind some of the biggest names in the industry.

The Exotics are now using their talents, playing to the beat of their own drum to help others. For the past two decades, the group has awarded aspiring musicians with the “J. B. Hunt Scholarship.” It’s named in honor of the first and only band director at Wilkinson High School, now known as Orangeburg-Wilkinson High. This year the band is hosting its annual gala at the Orangeburg County Library Conference Center on Dec. 24 at 9 p.m. This year’s theme is " Harlem’s Nights Christmas.” Tickets can be purchased at Jamison’s Pharmacy in Orangeburg on Goff Avenue and Goldstein’s On Russell on Russell Street.

Local artist designs socks for national company

Local self-taught artist and entrepreneur Ija Charles has made a mark in Columbia and truly across the nation. Ija’s art is now going to continue to represent the state of South Carolina on a national level as she recently partnered with the Cambria hotel franchise for their sock apparel launch, which will make a great gift to a loved one for the holidays. The socks have a unique design that represents the Capital City and can be purchased at Cambria locations across the state. To learn more about Ija Charles and her work visit

Awareness: Columbia Artist paints murals across the city

If you drive around the Capital City you are sure to pass a number of eye-catching murals across Columbia. You may have even jumped in front of a few to capture the perfect background for your Instagram picture. The neat thing about the murals is that they were created by local self-taught painter Ija Charles whose work has been recognized on a national level. To learn more about Ija Charles and her work visit

If you have a story idea for “Awareness” e-mail host Billie Jean Shaw at

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