More than 2,500 Aiken and Edgefield County fifth-graders, teachers and chaperones had the opportunity to hear the Symphony Orchestra Augusta at USC Aikenís Etherredge Center on Thursday and Friday, sponsored by the Aiken Symphony Guild.

The Guild brings the Youth Concert Series to the community each year. The students sang, clapped and played along with the orchestra as they learned how music moves people physically and emotionally, whether sitting in a theater or on stage playing an instrument, using oneís voice or through dance.

The program this year was designed by Carnegie Hallís Weill Music Institute and included a complete musical curriculum with study guides for the teachers and the students.

This program is a community-wide effort. Its success depends on lots of behind-the scenes support from the Aiken and Edgefield Countiesí Boards of Education, the music teachers, the Sand River Womenís Club, Guild volunteers and the Etherredge Center box office staff. At the center of all this effort is Sandra Terry, whose gentle direction, leadership and organizing skills are essential to the programís successful operation.

Guild members thanked all those who support its mission to bring great music to the community and especially to the organizationís 2012 corporate sponsors of the Youth Concert Series: Security Federal Bank, Georgia Health Sciences Childrenís Medical Center, Aiken Regional Palmetto Pediatrics, URS, Aiken Dermatology and private donations to David Ridleyís Memorial Fund.