HHS alum takes stage with Solange

March 17 at 4:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

HHS alum takes stage with Solange
In fall of last year, Charles Lumar didn't necessarily see himself performing in Paris alongside a celebrity singer - and yet there he was earlier this month, doing exactly that.

On the first weekend of March, the longtime bass player and Class of 2001 Hahnville High School alumnus had the opportunity to perform alongside Solange Knowles at shows in Paris and in Florida, and the experience is something he’ll carry with him for a long time.

“It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had,” Lumar said.

“Obviously, you can talk about all the intense work it takes to learn that amount of music material and choreography, but really, once we’re out there it’s all about having fun. The show is very precise, but it’s all about finding your own groove and making the movement your own.”

Solange is the sister of pop icon Beyonce' Knowles and has established fame as a singer, songwriter, model and actress.

The 30 year-old was named the 100th most successful dance artist of all-time by Billboard magazine in December and lives in New Orleans.

Lumar performed as part of her team at the after party of a major fashion show at the Chloe, a French luxury fashion house. The party was celebrating the final fashion show of well-known British designer Clare Wright Keller.

Lumar got the opportunity after a friend he once worked with called and asked if Lumar would mind if his name were thrown out as a potential addition to Solange’s performance ensemble. A week before Mardi Gras, Lumar got another call, this one inviting him to join the crew. He began rehearsals with the other performers that Friday and flew to Paris the next Wednesday.

“The thing was, I was the newest person. Everyone else knew everything,” Lumar said.

He said he might have been star-struck if not for the ability of Solange to put everyone at ease.

“It wasn’t really the case of real nerves or anything like that, because she was so chill,” Lumar said. “She just introduced herself as anyone else would. I had relationships with so many other cats in the band, so I got to be welcomed into this closely knit group. She’s well-known in the world, but we all have the same goals, we were in this together, and she was a part of that.”

Others around him calmed whatever doubts might have popped up along the way.

“Everybody just kind of reminded me everything I’d done to this point got me in this position,” he said. “We believe you can do it, but it’s about you believing you can do it. And if they didn’t think you could do it, you wouldn’t be in this position at all.”

Once on stage, he said everything had a great flow to it.

“One of the things I noticed, (Solange) is having so much fun,” Lumar said. “She has that energy, and we’re riding the same wave. Everybody’s kind of super loosened up now. We’re dancing, having fun, as if you were just at your house listening to the music.”

While in Paris, he said he was able to visit the Eiffel Tower and the church of Notre Dame, among other landmarks.

“We made the most we could out of the time we had there,” Lumar said.

It was a destination event for Lumar, who took up music in the second grade when he attended Mimosa Park Elementary School. He played through his time at Lakewood Elementary, Hahnville and then Loyola University-New Orleans, originally starting as a tuba player before moving onto bass, which is now his calling card.

“The funny part is, when we picked out instruments early in life, I wrote down trumpet, saxophone and drums as my first choices. So this wasn’t on the list to start,” Lumar said. “I enjoy the role of the bass. It’s present and professional, but not overly showy. If you’re missing something, everyone knows. And if you do too much, everybody knows. It’s all about finding that balance.”

The set in Paris was 30 minutes, while the performance a day later at a Florida festival was an hour.

“I’d been telling everyone I had to learn all these dance moves, and they were telling me “wow, you looked so cool,’” he said. “And, I mean, we don’t play music for superficial reasons, but hey, you want to look cool and for people to enjoy it. So that was pretty nice.”

Lumar was actually the second Hahnville High alumnus to have the chance to perform with Solange, after fellow-local bass player and HHS product David Raymond Jr. was on stage with her last year for a performance on Saturday Night Live.

“It’s crazy, two dudes from St. Charles Parish,” Lumar said. “I don’t know him personally since he was a little younger than I was (at Hahnville High), but I know him from seeing his shows and hearing his music, and I always enjoyed it. It’s a cool thing for the both of us, in our own way putting St. Charles Parish on the map.”

View other articles written Ryan Arena

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DHS defense faces stiff challenge as Barbe visits
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