Have you been wondering what you can do to honor Mom this Mother’s Day? Why not beat the rush and treat her to a memorable musical afternoon on the west lawn of a Winter Colony home?
A symphony will be coming to the lawn of Banksia, also known as the home of the Aiken County Historical Museum, the Sunday before Mother’s Day. Entitled “Spring Fling,” this late afternoon concert has been patterned after the highly successful outdoor summer concerts offered by the Boston Pops Orchestra.
The Aiken program, conducted by the internationally recognized Maestro Donald Portnoy and performed by the Orchestra of the Midlands, will feature a wide variety of music in the Pops style including short classical works by Mozart, Rossini and Dvorak, as well as familiar tunes from Broadway hit musicals such as “Les Miserables” and “My Fair Lady.”
The upcoming concert is sponsored jointly by Aiken Performing Arts Group and the Aiken County Historical Museum. Both organizations are excited about combining the rich history and ambiance of Banksia, one of the best examples of a Summer Colony residence in Aiken, with rich and classical sounds presented by the state’s finest musicians.
Banksia’s lawn will accommodate 300 to 400 concert goers; each is encouraged to bring chairs and blankets, as well as snacks. Of course, Mother Nature must cooperate with local plans. “We are praying for nice weather. I will do a rain dance later today,” remarked Portnoy about the outdoor event.
The Orchestra of the Midlands is composed of first chair musicians and leading instrumentalists from South Carolina’s most prestigious symphony orchestras, including the South Carolina Philharmonic, The Greenville Symphony and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.
According to Portnoy, the orchestra was founded in April 2011 to support the Aiken visit of renowned opera singer, Frederica von Stade. The orchestra has performed in Aiken twice since then. May’s concert will include three regional soloists, two vocalists and one trumpet player.
“Spring Fling” will take place on May 5 and will be dedicated to Jean and John Chase, whose generosity to the arts has greatly contributed to the cultural life of the Central Savannah River Area.
Gates will open at 2 p.m., and the concert will begin promptly at 4 p.m. with a 20-minute intermission. Overflow parking with shuttle services will be available at the ABBE Regional Library, 314 Chesterfield St.
Tickets for the performance are $25 for adults and $15 for students. Early arrival is advised, since there will be no reserved space on the lawn.
Tickets may be purchased at the Aiken County Historical Museum, 433 Newberry St. S.W., Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m, at the Aiken Performing Arts Group’s office at 803-643-4774 or at www.APAGonline.org. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be relocated to Aiken’s First Presbyterian Church, 224 Barnwell Ave. N.W.
Aiken Performing Arts Group will present six shows in the 2012-2013 season, with most shows being performed at the URS Center for the Performing Arts on Newberry Street in downtown Aiken.
The group has also been instrumental in bringing in such high profile groups as the National Symphony Orchestra to the USC Aiken Convocation Center and occasionally offers concerts at the Etherredge Center and other smaller, more intimate venues.
Aiken Performing Arts Group is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization with an all-volunteer Board of Directors and part-time arts administrator. One of APAG’s most important contributions to the community is educational outreach from visiting artists with Aiken County’s public schools, as well as the College of Music at University of South Carolina, Columbia and the Music Department of USCA.