A Word from the Executive Director
“If Art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.”
-President John F. Kennedy
Welcome to The Arts at the Etherredge Center for the 2023-2024 season! Following our vision this year, to take a cue from President Kennedy’s words above, is leading us across the Palmetto State, to New York, Los Angeles, Japan, Austria, the Middle East, and more. For over 35 years, the Cultural Series has been leading the way as we meet our mission to “present, promote, and inspire cultural and intellectual opportunities for the benefit and enjoyment of individuals in the University of South Carolina Aiken community and the CSRA.” Additionally, we are in our 5th year of presenting outstanding South Carolina artists with our Carolina Series, an initiative that we began in 2019 that has continued to grow and thrive.
With this year’s Carolina Series, we are Celebrating Women in the Arts, two of whom have been recognized as Emerging Artists by the South Carolina Arts Commission. January 27 brings Yuting Chen, a Columbia-based pianist, and the winner of the 2021 MTNA-Steinway Young Artist Piano Competition. On February 2 we have the opening gala and artist talk for sculptor Zeynep Gedikoglu; originally from Turkey, Zeynep now lives in Clemson creating work that is based on how the body portrays feeling through movement. We finish our Carolina Series on March 15, with choreographer and dancer, Robyn Noelani Arnold. Trained in ballet, modern, and contemporary styles, Robyn has studied with the Cincinnati Ballet, the New York Dance Project, and Bounce! NYC.
As we embark upon the 38th year of our Cultural Series, we are proud that this year we are “Bringing the World to Aiken!” With a Sunday afternoon performance that will be perfect for the whole family, we begin with Japanese performer, Kuniko Yamamoto, whose storytelling uses myths from ancient and modern Japan, and who is an expert in the art of Origami. USC Aiken has proudly been ranked as one of the top-10 military friendly public universities, and we are focusing on our military and veterans with our October 17 performance of Letters Home, by the Griffin Theatre Company. Letters, is a captivating and moving play created from actual letters written by soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq. On November 9, we continue bringing Grammy Award-Winning musical artists, with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. Inducted into the Guitar Hall of Fame in 2021, the LAGQ have set the standard for guitar virtuosity for the past four decades.
Moving into the new year, on February 27, we travel across the Atlantic for the crown jewel in our season: The Vienna Boys Choir. Perhaps the most famous choir in the world, the Vienna Boys Choir has had almost 3000 choristers perform over 1000 tours in over 100 countries since 1924. We travel back across the pond, and even back in time on March 26, with the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Based in New York City, Bindlestiff’s Variety Arts are dedicated to keeping alive the memory and traditions of circus, sideshow, and vaudeville. Staying in the “City That Never Sleeps,” we finish our season on April 27 with the award-winning duo of Soprano, Louise Toppin and Baritone, Robert Sims, as they perform Gershwin on Broadway. Toppin and Sims have both performed at Carnegie Hall, and are brilliant interpreters of some of most popular songs of the 20th Century ever performed on the Great White Way.
Now THAT’s a fantastic season! Before you read through this brochure to learn more about all of these amazing artists, let me take a moment to thank you for your patronage. The only reason that the Etherredge Center has been able to continue bringing incredible artists to Aiken for almost 40 years is because of the support of our patrons and audience members. Like I always say, we can’t do what we do without you.
Paul B. Crook, Executive Director