As part of the Aiken Performing Arts (APA) strategy to give back to the community, an agreement was reached with the performers and the Aiken County Schools. Each performer is required to spend time in a local school to share their music and experience with High School students. The Aiken County Schools recommends which schools, and arranges to have students interested in music, i.e. Band, Chorus, and Theatre, available to the performers. Since 2005, APA’s Educational Outreach has impacted more than 10,000 students in Aiken County.
Two Ensemble Español dancers start out the program for Spanish students at South Aiken High School
Through the efforts of APA, the students who participated had the opportunity to experience a wide variety of musical programs. Their interaction with the performers was not only educational, and informative, but also a great deal of fun. Two of our most recent Outreach programs attracted over 250 students from 7 Aiken County schools and Mead Hall, and 185 from a single school.
In mid April 2016, a group from Canada, Jim Witter and his band, entertained a group of students in North Augusta. His specialty was music from the 1960’s and 1970’s. Jim thought the music from this
period would not resonate with his attendees. He decided to sing songs from the Beatles. Surprisingly, the students knew a lot of these songs, and with the help of the teachers, were able to sing along. This was followed by a question and answer session. It was surprising how many of the students raised their hand, and the high quality of their questions.
A survey was performed of the teachers who were in attendance. They unanimously rated the experience “excellent” and requested we do more in the future!
The dancers finish up with their final flamenco dance at the program for Spanish students at South Aiken High School Friday. The performance was through the Aiken Performing Arts Group Educational Outreach Program.
Our plan for the future is to continue our Educational Outreach programs for the Aiken County Schools and begin to include the private schools as well. In 2015, we added Mead Hall which was very successful. In the 2016-2017 Season, APA has had a variety of music and talent which we will bring to the students. The performers all are aware of their requirements and we expect another year of great reviews.
Funding for the APA outreach program comes from ticket sales, private donations, and from interested community sources and grants. If you would like to help support this innovative program, please contact our office at 803-643-4774.
If you would like to attend one of these sessions or would like further information, contact Bill Hillan at 803- 643-1027, Chairperson, or Ken Blohm at 803-644-5935.