Season 1 – Off and running 2007 – 2008
We held our first gathering in December of 2007, started work in the spring of 2008 and ended our season in a surprise Hopelands appearance and a planned program at the Aiken County Historical Museum. In the meantime, we had a “lite” performance at St. John’s UMC with only six singers, sang a few National Anthems for the Green Jackets, joined the USCA concert choir for our first real event at St. Thaddeus and recorded CD #1, “What Are You Waiting For”.
Season 2 – Collaborations begin! 2008 – 2009
We opened season two with our newly commissioned “Working on the Railroad” for one piano, four hands and sixteen singers by Tessa Teddar and featured Joel Scraper and James Bennett as the four hands. That collaboration gave us a taste for raising money for others (USCA Music and Youth Music at Aiken’s First Baptist Church). And it eased the way for a collaboration with Joel’s Masterworks Chorale, a return to First Baptist for their concert series and a joint fund raiser for The Aiken Center for the Arts with Diane Haslam’s Aiken Singers. The season ended with a spectacular trip to Scotland by a brave six singers.
Season 3 – More travel, more collaborations, more singing: 2009 – 2010
We found our way back to Hopelands Gardens, released our second CD, “Viva La More!”, developed a boys choir at Chukker Creek Elementary, got ourselveds organized with a view to the future, started a scholarship for music students at USCA and discovered jazz. A very exciting year that included a trip to Kentucky, a collaborations with the Aiken Choral Society, a (short) trip to the Appleby Concert Series in Augusta and more work with the Aiken Singers and others at The Aiken Center for the Arts.
Season 4 – Broadening out – getting some focus: 2010 – 2011
This season featured a fall show with Harmony River Sweet Adelines and a spring effort called “From the Heart” at the Museum. Our Tom Calhoun started working with our second boys choir, soon to be known as “No Boundaries” at the newly renamed East Aiken School of the Arts. Yet another venture with Aiken Singers, two trips to Hopelands Gardens with various musical friends of ours and a Scottish effort for the local St. Andrews Society rounded out this busy singing season.
Season 5 – Settling in, Branching out: 2011 – 2012
Our big musical venture in the fall was a collaboration with Joel Scraper’s USCA Concert Choir and the women of M’Aiken Music at the Aiken Center for the Arts. In January we met with Aiken County elementary music teachers as we continue to develop our boys choir program. The idea was to form a county-wide boys choir that will be selected/auditioned and will include voice lessons, music theory, piano (we hope) as well as the boychoir that we hope will be 15 – 40 boys with unchanged voices and in interest in singing. We sang a program called “The Time Line” with the 60-or so of the Columbia County Civic Orchestra. It was quite a treat singing with a symphony orchestra, once in Augusta and once at Aiken’s First Baptist Church. We visited Schofield Middle to try to stir up some more interest in singing boys, and had a visit to Chukker Creek to sing with “Boundary Boys”
Season 6 – 2012 – 2013 Getting the community singing – early!
Our big fall show was a celebration of the creative spirit as we explore the works of David Reiser, a musical friend from the Chicago area who has sent us some terrific arrangements and inspired us to “Rip Off the Masters”. In the spring we collaborated with graphic artists as they drew what they heard. There was quite literally a song in our ‘art.
And we had many efforts involving our boys choirs: Boundary Boys at Chukker and No Boundaries at East Aiken joined the brand new Bound To Sing in their first effort at Aiken’s First Baptist in December and including a Christmas event on a Masterworks Chorale with the boys from Chukker Creek.
And the very big deal was another Hopelands Gardens appearance with Bound to Sing where we were able to establish the $10,000 hurdle for a permanent endowed scholarship for USCA music students.
Season 7 – Another busy year – 2013 – 2014
We learned a collection of sacred songs/hymns and anthems so we can sing in our church’s services and do some afternoon concerts to build new audiences. We provided the music at the morning services of St. Thaddeus and afternoon performances there and at Trinity United Methodist.
In March we were invited to attend a workshop and participate in a concert as part of the “Julliard in Aiken” program. We learned a lot and enjoyed performing with several of Aiken’s talented vocal groups.
May found us at Hopelands Gardens. Here is a link to us doing a medley of Carolina favorites taken by Jim Walters. We had a lot of fun doing a concert with the Aiken Singers at the Aiken Historical Museum.
The season concluded with an evening performance over in Augusta at the Brandon Wilde Center. That was followed by a weekend trip to northern Virginia to sing at the morning services of Fairfax Baptist Church and at an afternoon concert. Thanks to Charlotte Balis, Pastor Ritz and the congregation for a great time.
Season 8 – Onward to the future – 2014 – 2015
We embarked on a project with David Culp of Schofield strings fame to develop arrangements for some of the many strings players he has trained over the years. We had a concert with “Strings Attached” that included some choreography to accompany a mix of “big opera choruses” and some light opera (Gilbert and Sullivan).
In February we continued our “See You On A Sunday” series by singing at the morning services for St. Paul Lutheran followed by an afternoon concert. March saw us doing both morning services at South Aiken Presbyterian followed in the afternoon by an encore performance of our “String Attached” program with David’s string ensemble.
The next month, April, was a busy month. We continued our yearly performance at the Brandon Wilde Senior Living Center in Augusta. The next day we participated in a fund raising gala for our boys’ choirs and then, two days later, another fund raiser. This one was with USC Aiken’s Concert Choir to raise funds to support our endowed scholarship for talented music students.
In May, several of us joined seven very talented students from the USC Aiken Concert Choir along with members of Aiken’s Masterworks Chorale for a performance tour to Italy. We sang in Orvieto (Aiken’s sister city), Florence, Perugia, and Rome. The highlight had to be the one we did in St. Peter’s Basilica. What a humbling experience to perform in several of Italy’s most famous historical sites. We also had time for a quick tour of the places we visited and sampled lots of delicious foods, wines, and gelatos (yum). Would you believe we even did some quartet tags in St. Peter’s Square, the massive plaza located directly in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City?