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Pupils get music lessons before symphony concert

Posted: September 4, 2012 - 5:55pm

Fifth-grade pupils in Aiken and Edgefield counties will learn more than reading, writing and arithmetic at school this year.

The Aiken Symphony Guild is participating in a program offered through Carnegie Hall that provides teachers with curriculum guides and pupils with student guides that teaches pupils about musical terms and dynamics.

The curriculum will help pupils get the most out of the annual children’s concert performed in September by the Symphony Orchestra of Augusta, said Sheryl Phillips, the guild’s president.

“It’s to prepare them and I think you get more out of it,” she said of the program. “I always listen to the pieces I know I’m going to listen to at the symphony and I get more out of it that way. These are melodic and easy to listen to. It features Beethoven, Strauss, and Mendelssohn.”

The children’s concert is performed four times in front of the fifth-grade pupils over the course of two days at the Etherredge Center at the University of South Carolina Aiken. They are expecting about 700 people to attend each session, Phillips said.

Exposing children to fine arts is a way to help them develop and continue their appreciation of it into adulthood, she said.

Growing up in Cincinnati, Phillips said she remembers being bused to similar special programs for students.

“It really made me a lifelong lover of music,” she said. “I feel very strongly about what we are able to do with the children’s concerts.”

The Aiken Symphony Guild is a nonprofit organization formed in 1986 to help bring musical experiences into the community for both adults and children to enjoy, she said.

“We do that by underwriting the cost of Symphony Augusta performances in Aiken,” she said.

The guild looks to ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and donations to help with the cost, she said.

The Aiken Symphony Guild’s concert season kicks off Sept. 28 with a concert featuring Jason Vieuz, a classical guitarist. The other concerts will be held in December and April. The December concert will feature Joe Gransden, a trumpeter and vocalist. The April concert will feature Pascal Godart, a pianist.

“We will have three, very different exceptional experiences,” she said. “I think this will be a very exciting season. There’s something for everyone.”

The guild is operated by volunteers. For more information about the guild, joining the guild, becoming a sponsor or making a donation, visit www.aikensymphonyguild.org.

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