Aiken Choral Society spring concert to combine bluegrass music with traditional choral mass

·2 min read

Apr. 28—An Aiken group will seek to combine a choral based mass with the sounds of bluegrass music during its upcoming concert..

The Aiken Choral Society will hold its spring concert, titled "Bluegrass and Ragtime," featuring Carol Barnett's "The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass" as a signature piece at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 7 at Aiken's First Baptist Church located at 120 Chesterfield St. N.E.

Barnett wrote the signature piece in 2007 with Marisha Chamberlain. It debuted at Carnegie Hall in 2013.

She said the piece gave her the chance to write "cheery sacred music" which is rare in a "medium rife with staid and even lugubrious settings."

Choral Society Music Director Maureen Simpson said Barnett's piece is a quality composition that's "off the charts" and "very imaginative."

"I'm always looking for music, whether it is dead white Europeans, or contemporary composers that has personality to engage our audience," Simpson said prior to the beginning of a rehearsal in April.

The Choral Society's mission is to present works for the education and enjoyment of its singers and their audience.

Simpson added the concert also helps preserve the tradition of live performance in the Aiken area and the concert would be a tour de force for any group whether they're professional, semiprofessional or amateurs.

The concert will also feature works by William Billings, Moses Hogan, Scott Joplin and Aaron Copland.

Simpson added people attending should expect to enjoy themselves.

"This is not a stuffy concert," Simpson said. "It's a performance with interesting music both visually and orally. It's not a sit on your hands because you're afraid to clap kind of thing. No, we' don't want you clapping between movements but we do want you to be tapping your toes."

David Brown will accompany the group on the piano.

The concert is free to attend, however, donations are welcome.

For more information about the Aiken Choral Society, visit To donate, click donate on the bottom of the webpage.