Aiken Symphony Guild builds crescendo with outreach, new program

 For 26 seasons, the Aiken Symphony Guild has made it a point to bring classical music from the Symphony Orchestra of Augusta to both adults and to children – children of Aiken and Edgefield counties who might not have an opportunity to otherwise listen to the symphonies of Beethoven and Strauss.


It’s a passion for classical music since her own youth that has guild president Sheryl Phillips, and the organization, working to make the music available for all.

“It enriches your world, especially, I think, for children who are disadvantaged who might not see beyond their neighborhood,” she said during a telephone interview. “It lets them see something out there that’s beautiful.”

This year, the guild is bringing a new program to students and teachers. Offered through Carnegie Hall, the program brings teaching materials and manuals for students to learn about musical terms such as motif, melody and dynamics through Beethoven, Strauss and Mendelssohn.

The program is interactive, Phillips said, so students who have taken lessons to play instruments – such as recorders or violins – can play them along in sections, doing something the conductor asks them to do.

The guild has ramped up its outreach efforts, with a Web site and Facebook page to bring fine music to the area by underwriting the cost of the Symphony Orchestra of Augusta’s concerts at the University of South Carolina Aiken Etherredge Center.

Three concerts will be performed this season, including a fall classical concert, a December Pops concert and a spring concert, Phillips said. The first concert is at 8 p.m. Sept. 28, featuring Jason Vieaux, a young classical guitar virtuoso.

The guild is offering a special subscription for students and adults for the fall and spring concert, not including the December Pops. Normally a single concert is $40 for an adult and $7 for a student, but this special subscription, Phillips said, is $20 for adults and $10 for students for both the spring and fall concerts. The subscription must be ordered by Aug. 31.

Phillips said tickets for the entire season cost $105 and are available until the first concert on Sept. 28.

The December Pops performance will be Dec. 15 and features trumpeter and vocalist Joe Grandsden. Pianist Pascal Godart will perform Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G at the Spring Classic on April 26.

For more information or tickets, visit or call the Etherredge Center box office at (803) 641-3305. Find the guild on Facebook at!/AikenSymphonyGuild.

2012-13 SEASON

PERFORMANCES of Symphony Orchestra Augusta begin at 8 p.m. at the Etherredge Center at USC Aiken.

Sept. 28: Fall Classic featuring classical guitarist Jason Vieaux

Dec. 15: December Pops with Joe Gransden, trumpeter and vocalist

April 26: Spring Classic featuring Pascal Godart, pianist

TICKETS are available through or the Etherredge Center box office at (803) 641-3305.

Season (three concerts): $105; available until Sept. 28

Special subscription (fall and spring concerts only): $20 adults, $10 students; order by Aug. 31

Single concerts: $40 adults, $7 students