News Column

M'Aiken Music will take you back in time

May 1, 2014

By Stephanie Turner, Aiken Standard, S.C.

May 01--Their voices are the only music they need.

For four years, women a cappella chorus M'Aiken Music has entertained audiences at nursing homes, at formal events, at churches and at City events.

On May 11 for Mother's Day, they will return to their starting point -- the Aiken County Historical Museum.

"Our very first concert was at the Museum," Bev Carter, publicity spokesperson, said.

This time, the women will be transporting their audiences back through the 20th Century during their Songs Through the Decades concert.

"It's so wonderful to have this historic setting ... It's more of a neat collaboration," Melissa Major, the chorus' board president, said.

The concert times are 2 and 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 for both shows.

The songs sung will come from each decade starting with the early-1900s and ending with the 1980s, according to Lyn VanDervort, music director.

To accompany this music will be a fashion show.

"We thought it would add a (nice) visual to the music," VanDervort said.

The Aiken Community Playhouse and the Museum are lending the show's clothes,

Each decade will be represented by these clothes modeled in part by some of the members' children, Carter said.

The Museum is located at 433 Newberry St. S.W.

VanDervort, a life-long singer, began M'Aiken Music.

At that time, there were less than 10 members.

Four years later, there are 10 singers joining VanDervort: Carter, Major, Debbie Bruce, Beverly Wilson, Margaret Wead, Carol Goff, Kathy Kraeling, Lois Britten, Lisa McCullogh, Margaret Bridges and Carolyn Beeler.

These women are in full control of their own marketing, booking and song selection, Carter said.

Wilson is the group's secretary and librarian. VanDervort doubles as the group's director and treasurer. Beeler is Major's vice president, while Britten is the assistant music director. Goff oversees the website, with Kraeling handles all history-related matters.

"We are fortunate to have in our group of 12 talented singers a few who can arrange music, some who are computer savvy and others who are creative and handle our website and publicity. There are some of us who are ever vigilant in finding venues for us, and other whose expertise is helping to run a tight ship -- and so on and so on," Carter said.

The women came from working in churches, nightclubs and universities with singing in musicals, on karaoke machines and in cabarets.

From qualities like having the same name to the having the same hometown, the members are all connected to each other somehow.

"There's three degrees of separation between us," Carter said, laughing.

Major added, "A lot are from Ohio."

To prove this, Major turned to the members.

"How many are from Ohio," she asked them.

At least four hands went up.

"See, at least a third," she said.

This caused the women to laugh among themselves and continue talking before rehearsals began.

"We sing a lot, (but) we laugh a lot," Carter said.

The women perform together numerous times during the year, but the spring concert is their set annual performance, Major said.

On May 9, they will be one part of the Playhouse's Coffee House event.

The event will take place in the Bechtel Theatre at the URS Center for Performing Arts, 126 Newberry St. S.W.

For more information, call 803-648-1438 or visit

M'Aiken Music rehearses weekly and will hold auditions for new members in the fall.

For more information or for ticket information, visit or call 803-646-0973.


(c)2014 the Aiken Standard (Aiken, S.C.)

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Source: Aiken Standard (SC)

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