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Aiken Symphony will take concertgoers ‘Home for the Holidays’ through music, dance

November 18, 2018

Quickly becoming an annual holiday tradition, the Aiken Symphony Orchestra’s December program will feature favorite holiday melodies with the added bonus of two of Aiken’s most loved performing groups, the Aiken Choral Society and the Aiken Civic Ballet.

The “Home for the Holidays” concert will include the “Christmas Eve Suite,” “Carol of the Bells” and “Night Before Christmas: A Sing-Along”; selections from “The Nutcracker” by the Aiken Civic Ballet; and carols by the Aiken Choral Society.

The performance will begin at 3 p.m. Dec. 9 in the Etherredge Center at USC Aiken campus at 471 University Parkway.

Single ticket prices range from $30 to $45, depending on seat location. For tickets, visit aikensymphonyorchestra.com or call the Etherredge Center box office at 803-641-3305.

“I am impressed with the young people of the Aiken Civic Ballet. The choreography is excellent. They are well trained and comfortable on stage, and the audience loves them,” said Dr. Donald Portnoy, the conductor of the Aiken Symphony Orchestra. “I am also pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Aiken Choral Society again this year. They are well trained and ready. The Aiken Choral Society will be leading the audience in our annual sing along and the telling of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ this year. It is going to be a wonderful performance.”

The Aiken Civic Ballet is South Carolina’s longest continuously operating dance company, according to a news release from the symphony.

Founded by the late Carl Crosby, the company has been in existence for more than 48 years. Under the artistic direction of Diane Toole Miller, the company produces original ballets and contemporary dance works.

The Aiken Choral Society, a community chorus, is dedicated to providing the best singing experience to interested and talented singers throughout the Aiken area, according to the release. Their repertoire is wide, ranging from early music to last year’s movie theme.

The Aiken Symphony Orchestra, conceived by conductor Portnoy and formed in 2015, comprises professional musicians from the region. Tom Hofstetter, a former Aiken Performing Arts Group president, and the Aiken Symphony Guild were pivotal in the nonprofit’s start and its continued success, according to the release. In addition to the orchestra’s classical and pops concerts, the Orchestra is presented by the Aiken Symphony Guild at youth concerts in February each year.

Portnoy received the Columbia University’s 2004 Ditson Conductor’s Award for his commitment to the performance of works by American composers. The S.C. Arts Commission named him winner of the 2015 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for the Arts in the individual category.

In 2017, Portnoy received South Carolina’s highest honor, the Order of the Palmetto, for extraordinary lifetime service and achievements of national or statewide significance.

At the season’s next concert, classical guitarist Sharon Isbin will perform Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto De Aranjuez” and Antonio Vivaldi’s “Guitar Concerto RV93 in D Major” during “The Best of Classical Guitar” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16, 2019.

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