South Boundary: More than a choir
To set limits, to jump, to be dedicated, they all can mean one word – bound.
South Boundary, No Boundaries, these phrases all mean one idea – to sing.
South Boundary is Aiken's all-male, mostly a cappella ensemble.
Bill Riehl is its co-founder.
Riehl traveled to Aiken from Scotland in 2006.
Shortly afterwards, he met area choir member Ben Lacy.
Riehl confessed his idea to Lacy – the idea to form a singing group.
“We are inspired by the King's Singers, (book character) Chanticleer, the Whiffenpoofs, a cappella groups like Straight No Chaser and the Cornell (University) Glee Club ... and countless barbershop quartets,” as stated on South Boundary's website.
Lacy encouraged Riehl to start this new choir.
“What are you waiting for,” he said to Riehl.
The first men of South Boundary gathered together in 2007.
In 2008, they performed at St. John's United Methodist Church, St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church, Augusta Greenjackets games and the Aiken County Historical Museum, according to the group's website.
That year saw the production of their first CD.
Its title is “What Are You Waiting For.”
South Boundary built a musical repertoire, produced two more CDs and formed working relationships.
The men represent a range of genres – Renaissance, sacred, secular, showtunes, contemporary and early American traditional folk.
Its most recent CD is “Still Hooked.”
“(We're) still hooked on the feeling, still hooked on what we do,” Riehl said.
Its cover came from the spring performance A Song in Our 'Art.
Local artists and art students participated.
Their samples from the show are uploaded on the South Boundary's website.
South Boundary has sang with the Aiken Choral Society, Masterworks Chorale and the Aiken Singers and has performed in Augusta, Kentucky and Scotland.
“We were busy immediately (after forming) and have stayed busy,” Riehl said.
Above everything, the men of South Boundary love to sing.
“That didn't take us long to figure out,” Riehl said.
How do singers learn to sing? Oftentimes, they go to school.
South Boundary created a scholarship and an endowment for the USC Aiken music department.
The endowment is at $10,000 right now.
“Almost all of us could point to some other musician, some parent or some something that helped us become friends of music,” Riehl said.
What about the singers before they get to college, the ones just beginning?
Some of them are still children.
Four choirs comprise South Boundary's Boys Choir of Aiken County project.
The Boundary Boys at Chukker Creek Elementary were the first.
No Boundaries at East Aiken School of the Arts and Bound to Sing for all Aiken County Schools followed.
Bound to Sing was born from the idea to find talent beyond the school environment, Riehl said.
It is conducted by James Bennett and accompanied by Kathleen Cartledge.
“James said to me the other day, 'I hope to be doing Bound to Sing for years and years,” Riehl said.
Bound to Sing will begin its new season and hold auditions on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Aiken's First Baptist Church. Singers must have unchanged voices and some prior music experience.
South Boundary is mapping out more projects and concerts for 2014.
Since most of its members are in church choirs, the South Boundary men want to get more active within the church community.
The first step was the two concerts at St. Thaddeus last fall.
“That worked really well,” Riehl said.
The next will be on Jan. 26 at 3 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church. It is free and open to the public.
Donations are always accepted for South Boundary and its community efforts.
For this year, South Boundary is planning to continue to sing with others like its' boys choirs, to perform at Cold Creek Nurseries and to reprise its Song in the 'Art performance.
As their website promises, “Stay tuned – and so will we.”
For more information, email Riehl at email@example.com or visit www.southboundary.com.