Outreach and Collaboration

Aiken Choral Society — joined ACO for concerts in May 2015, Dec. 2015, & Dec. 2016.  The Dec. 2015 concert helped raise money for scholarships to music students with Aiken Youth Orchestras. The Dec. 2016 concert helped to raise money to benefit the strings program at Aiken Center for the Arts.

Aiken Singers — joined ACO (and South Boundary Singers) for a holiday gala concert Dec. 2018 celebrating Aiken as the South’s Best Small Town.

Augusta Chorale — ACO began collaborating with Augusta Chorale in Dec. 2016.  ACO performs for their Christmas and Spring concerts every year to a full house at Paine College Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel.  Augusta Chorale has also joined ACO for concerts in March 2017 (“ACO and Friends” with Belles Canto and South Boundary Singers) and Dec. 2019 (“Holiday Festival” with South Boundary Singers).  In Jan. 2019, ACO and Augusta Chorale performed for the CSRA Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Celebration.

Belles Canto — joined ACO for “ACO and Friends” in March 2017 (with Augusta Chorale and South Boundary Singers), “Sing into Spring” in April 2018 (with South Boundary Singers), and “ACO and Friends” in March 2019.

Columbia County Choral Society — joined ACO and Augusta Chorale for a concert in May 2018 which led to the formation of a Musical Collaboration Committee.  These organizations seek to show how music can bring a community together and forge beautiful relationships both on and off the stage.  CCCS (a primarily white chorus) and Augusta Chorale (a primarily black chorus) work with ACO to perform together.

South Boundary Singers — joined ACO for “ACO and Friends” in March 2017 (with Augusta Chorale and Belles Canto), “Sing into Spring” in April 2018 (with Belles Canto).  Also joined ACO for Christmas concerts in Dec. 2018 (with Aiken Singers) & Dec. 2019 (with Augusta Chorale).

Church choirs from Cornerstone Baptist, Grace United Methodist, St. John’s United Methodist, and St. Paul Lutheran — ACO has collaborated with church choirs for special services (Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, All Souls Day, other Sundays, Christmas season, etc.)

Aiken Youth Orchestras — AYO has performed before ACO concerts (May 2018, May 2019, Oct. 2019).  ACO also helps to provide extra musicians for AYO concerts as needed.  The Dec. 2015 helped raise scholarship money for AYO students.

Carolina Academy of Music — joined ACO for “ACO and Friends” in March 2018.  This concert featured CAM faculty and helped promote music lessons as well as raising donations for the school.  CAM faculty provide principal players and leadership within ACO.

South Carolina Suzuki Institute — ACO was the host organization for the reinstatement of SCSI (never hosted in Aiken and was dormant for six years), which provided a week-long camp for string students in July 2019.  As part of this, ACO hosted Music City Strings to perform an opening concert to the week which inspired and energized local students and audiences.

USC Aiken — ACO gave three benefit concerts (May 2017, Oct. 2018, and May 2018) to support the All-Steinway campaign.  ACO raised several thousand dollars to “purchase” the music desk of the new stage piano at Etherredge Center.  (ACO is the only ensemble to support this campaign in such a way and is recognized on the permanent plaque within Etherredge Center.)  ACO also cooperates with USC Aiken to provide string students with ensemble credit as an independent study course.  The ensemble opportunity provided by ACO is a means to attract string students and help grow the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at USC Aiken.

Of note:

In Jan. 2019, ACO performed for the CSRA Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Celebration.  In Feb. 2020, ACO featured a concert of compositions from composers in the AIken Composers’ Guild–a unique opportunity for living composers to have their works performed.  In April 2020, ACO was be joined by several choirs for “An Aiken Celebration”.  ACO is planning to feature a concert next season highlighting the wonderful talents of children across the CSRA.  Also ACO is planning to collaborate with Aiken Civic Ballet for a concert featuring ballet music.

ACO sponsors a concerto competition (which started in May 2018) open to youth performers, working with area music teachers to inspire and promote music students to excel.  The winners of this competition enjoy the opportunity of performing with the orchestra.


Some local soloists we have featured:

Kyah Bodiford (Aiken), Susan Burgess (North Augusta), Ken Courtney (Aiken), Christine Crookall (Augusta), Eliza King (Aiken), Claudio Olivera (Columbia), Isabel Ong (Columbia), Clara Park (Augusta), Sho Ane Seaton (Augusta), Tyleigh Spiller (Aiken), Laura Tomlin (Augusta), Michelle Wei (Aiken), and Susan Zhang (Augusta).