Author Archives: Kristy Johnson

Martinez Animal Hospital

Pet Care

Martinez Animal Hospital was founded in 1970 by Dr. Grayson Brown and Dr. James Wilkes. We practice small animal medicine, as well as equine, and exotics. Our team of doctors and medical staff are like one big family, and we take pride in providing the best quality care to you and your pet!

3942 Washington Rd. Martinez, GA 30907
CALL US TODAY AT 706-863-1223

Veterinarian Martinez Georgia

Sanderlin Veterinary Hospital

Pet Care

A family owned veterinary clinic in Harlem, GA.

I have always dreamed of being a veterinarian and having my own practice one day. My wonderful husband, Jes Sanderlin, has helped make my dream come true. Jes will manage the practice, as he has run his lawncare business, Sanderlin’s Lawncare, for over 20 years. We have a four year old son, Sawyer, who is the center of our world. We also have a menagerie of pets: 13 dogs, 3 cats, chickens, and hermit crabs. Pets are our passion and we can’t wait to add your furbabies to our family!

Lauren Sanderlin, DVM

6482 Stanford Rd.
Harlem, Georgia 30814

Care More Animal Hospital

Pet Care

Care More Animal Hospital is a full-service, AAHA accredited veterinary medical facility, located in Martinez, GA. The professional and courteous staff at Care More Animal Hospital seeks to provide the best possible medical, surgical and dental care for their highly valued patients. We are committed to promoting responsible pet ownership, preventive health care and health-related educational opportunities for our clients.

Care More Animal Hospital strives to offer excellence in veterinary care to Augusta, GA and the surrounding areas.

Please take a moment to contact us today, to learn more about our veterinary practice and to find out more information about how Care More Animal Hospital can serve the needs of you and your cherished pet.

4016 Old Blackstone Camp Rd
Martinez, GA 30907
Phone: (706) 650-1839

Or visit our website at

Paradise Kennels

Pet Care

Paradise Kennels
Bathing, grooming, or keeping your babies while you’re on vacation, you can rest assured that your pet will be loved and cared for as one of our own. We offer short and long term boarding.

3996 Belair Road | Augusta, GA 30909

Visit us at

doggie daycare dog grooming augusta

Ferry to Tranquility


Photos courtesy of National Park Service, Cumberland Island Ferry, Explore Georgia,, Greyfield Inn

Pristine beaches, untouched wilderness and historic ruins make Georgia’s largest barrier island an idyllic spot for a day trip – or more.

Rich in history and scenic beauty, Cumberland Island is one of the most spectacular natural habitats in the Northern Hemisphere. Whether you go for a day trip or overnight stay, just be sure it’s unforgettable for all the right reasons. So, two words: Plan. Ahead.

Accessible only by ferry, the secluded island has no amenities available for purchase — no food, no water, no hats, no sunscreen, no sunglasses — so bring everything you need including all of the above as well as walking shoes, rain gear, a cooler and any bags you can carry comfortably. (And be prepared to take your trash with you when you leave.)

Upon arrival, however, you and your inner explorer will find more than 17 miles of secluded, undeveloped, white sandy beaches; wide marshes; abundant wildlife; hiking and biking trails through maritime forests; backcountry camping; cultural ruins; historic structures that natives, missionaries, slaves and wealthy industrialists once occupied; more than 9,800 acres of Congressionally designated wilderness and almost 36,000 National Park Service-protected acres.

Getting There

And getting there is half the fun. The Cumberland Island Ferry departs from the dock adjacent to the Cumberland Island National Seashore Visitor Center in Saint Marys, Georgia for a 45-minute trip to the island’s Sea Camp dock. The ferry operates daily March 1 – November 30 and Thursday – Monday December 1 through February 28. Face coverings are required.

Tickets are available at, and one-way tickets cost $17 for adults ages 16-61, $16 for seniors 62 and older, and $12 for ages 6-15. Children ages 5 and under ride for free. Be sure to book a return trip from Cumberland Island to St. Marys as well because there is no option to buy a round-trip ticket.

Reservations for the ferry are highly recommended, and they can be made up to six months in advance.

The national park entrance fee of $10 for adults 16 and older must be purchased separately. Camp fees and tour fees are separate as well.

The ferry sells ice, firewood, potato chips and drinks when it is docked at Sea Camp next to the Sea Camp Ranger Station. As the primary information and contact station on the island, the station has volunteers and rangers available throughout the day to provide assistance, information, recommendations and programming. The ranger station is open 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily. However, it may be unattended for periods during the day while the staff carries out its duties.

A 30-minute “Dockside” ranger program also is offered every day at 4 p.m., conveniently scheduled just before the final ferry departure to help ensure that no one misses the last boat off the island.

Exploring the Island

Because the island is more than 56 square miles, it’s impossible to see it all in a single day. So, before setting out, especially for a day trip, it’s imperative to prioritize the sights you want to see.

To see as much as possible, visitors can stay overnight at campsites or at the island’s exclusive Greyfield Inn, which offers transportation to the island by its private ferry, the Lucy Ferguson.

Steeped in history, Cumberland Island once was a working plantation before it became a winter retreat for the wealthy Carnegie family. Now, it is home to descendants of slaves and aristocrats as well as to feral horses with bloodlines that trace back to the royal stables of the King of Arabia. The horses roam freely throughout the island, but sightings tend to be more plentiful on the south end and around the Historic District.

When you spot wild horses, remember to give them the right-of-way and to stay at least 50 feet away from them for your own safety. If a horse changes its behavior because of your presence, then you’re too close. And never try to pet or feed them.

Other wildlife on the island ranges from threatened and endangered manatees and sea turtles to more than 300 species of birds. Visitors also may see wild turkeys, feral pigs, armadillos, vultures, coyotes, dolphins and lizards.

Whitetail deer, bobcats and otters can be found on the island as well. Since wildlife activity often is greater at dawn and dusk, overnight camping is recommended to see these animals.

Hikers have 50 miles of trails to explore as they hoof their way from maritime forests to pristine beaches.

Cyclists can bring their own bike to the island, but there is a $10 charge to transport it on the ferry. Overnight guests at Greyfield Inn also have access to bikes as part of their stay.

Taking a Tour

One of the best ways to explore Cumberland Island is by guided tour. The Land and Legacies Tours, which can be booked online at, uncover centuries of history in just a few hours. This motorized tour, which costs $45 per person and begins at the Sea Camp dock, should be booked along with the ferry trip to the island.

This rugged, five- to six-hour tour is open only to visitors who take the 9 a.m. ferry or to campers who are staying on the island. Featuring cultural and natural sites, the tour travels through the wilderness from one landmark to another.

Highlights include the remains of Robert Stafford’s plantation and cemetery, Plum Orchard Mansion, Cumberland Wharf, the Settlement and First African Baptist Church.

Built in 1898, Plum Orchard was the Carnegie family’s 22,000-square-foot Georgian Revival mansion. The home has been maintained with period furnishings from the early 1900s.

Almost 8 miles from the Sea Camp dock, Plum Orchard also can be accessed by foot or bicycle. Free tours start on the hour and last about 45 minutes. The mansion is open whenever volunteer caretakers are onsite.

First African Baptist Church, located about 17 miles from the Sea Camp dock, was established in 1893 by African American residents of the island and rebuilt in the 1930s. This unassuming one-room church served as a free place of worship and community center for the north end community known as the Settlement. In addition, the church was the site of the secret September 1996 wedding of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette.

Due to its distance from the dock, day visitors should not attempt to visit the church unless they’re part of the Lands and Legacies Tour. The church is not staffed, but the doors are open.

More glimpses of the Carnegie lifestyle can be seen at the Dungeness Ruins, located about 1.5 miles from the Sea Camp dock in the south end’s Historic District, and the Greyfield Inn, which originally was built as a home for one of the Carnegie children.

First built in 1884, the Dungeness Mansion was intended as a winter home for Thomas Carnegie (younger brother and business partner of Andrew Carnegie); his wife, Lucy, and their nine children. The 59-room mansion caught fire in 1959, and only the brick and stone walls remain standing.

Although the mansion is in ruins, it is one of the most picturesque and visited spots on the island. Visitors can walk the grounds as well as the numerous support buildings that were part of the estate. Guided walking tours are offered when staffing permits.

Located next to the Dungeness dock, the Ice House Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The original structure, featuring a ventilated roof and walls two feet thick with sawdust insulation, was built around 1900 to store large quantities of ice that were shipped to the island for the Carnegie Estate. Restored by the National Park Service, the building now serves as a small, self-guided museum.

Sleeping on It

For overnight stays, five campgrounds are available on Cumberland Island. Two of the campgrounds have designated campsites, and three are wilderness campsites. Campers must bring their own gear, and reservations are required. To make a reservation, visit and search for Cumberland Island National Seashore.

Built by the Carnegies in 1890, Greyfield Inn features furnishings and style that remain true to its history. The inn includes 15 rooms in the main house and two cottages. Cozy fireplaces and a breezy, shaded veranda make the inn an ideal travel destination year-round. The library, dinner bell and serve-yourself bar make guests feel at home.

If either of these overnight options are too extreme for your liking, then other accommodations are available in nearby St. Marys or Kingsland.

By Morgan Davis

Euchee Creek Veterinary Clinic

Pet Care

Euchee Creek Veterinary Clinic was founded in 2023 by Dr. Summer Covar and Dr. Hailie Huggins, both CSRA natives. Our dedicated and caring team of professionals offers a vast array of experience and expertise while eager to help your fur-friends. We believe your vet experience should be comfortable for both pet and owner. We look forward to welcoming your pet to our family.

770 Gateway Center Blvd
Grovetown, GA

Call US 706-556-7900

Euchee Creek Verterinary Clinic Animal Hospital

Merry Maids

Pet Care

Fur doesn’t have to be part of your home décor!
We know pets are a part of the family, but what they leave behind can be hard to manage. We have developed specific tools and procedures for cleaning up pet hair. Our pet friendly cleaning experts make sure your home is cleaned exactly how you want it.

706.650.2409 Ga.
803.593.0077 S.C.

house cleaning in Augusta

A Cut Above

National Cutting Horse Association

Photos courtesy of Sandra Lines Photography and Jan Burch

With her competitive edge, a local equestrian is riding high on the cutting horse circuit.

It’s been almost a decade since Augusta resident Jan Burch started competing in National Cutting Horse Association shows, and nothing can rein in her love of the sport.

“All I do is grin,” says Jan. “Everybody else is so serious, but I feel like I’m on a fair ride.”

In fact, at her first-ever event in 2014, she had so much fun that she had to share it after she completed her run.

“You’re not supposed to talk to the judges, but I turned to them and said, ‘Well, I had a good time. I have to go now,’” says Jan.

She hasn’t stopped grinning – or winning – ever since.

National Cutting Horse AssociationThis year, for instance, she has competed in only a handful of events, but she is in the running to finish in the Top 10 of the Senior World Tour 35,000 Non-professional division. (Non-pros must own their horse and cannot receive remuneration for training cutting horses. The 35,000 figure indicates the competitors have won less than $35,000 in their careers).

Jan not only enjoys the success she has had in competition, however. She also likes meeting people at various cutting events around the country, and she is in good company as one of a number of local NCHA competitors. Others include Jeff Fehrman, president of the Area 18 Cutting Horse Association, and Mark Senn, NCHA president-elect.

‘Show Me What You Got’

Western horse-and-riderFor the uninitiated, cutting is a judged event in which a Western horse-and-rider pair work together to cut a cow from a herd, drive it to the center of the arena and keep it from returning to the herd.

The events consist of individual runs, which last 2 1/2 minutes. The number of competitors might range from three to 50, and 2.5 cows per rider are placed in the pen. For example, 25 cows would be in the pen for a competition with 10 people.

Riders are encouraged to cut three cows from the herd during their run, and, from a base score of 70, points are awarded or deducted based on performance.

“When you are in a competition, you have to let the horses know you’re there for them because they’re very smart,” Jan says. “You can’t put them in harm’s way.”

Currently, Jan has four cutting horses – Smokey 2, Snoopin’ Kat, I’m Struck on You and Light ‘Em Upp. However, she got her first one, Dual Badge, in 2014 when she bought the horse as an investment with a friend.

She then called horse trainer Eddie Braxton of Edgefield, South Carolina, and told him that she wanted to ride in the Augusta Futurity. She said, “I have never ridden a cutting horse, but I own one.”

Augusta Futurity and World Congress FuturityHe told her to come see him the next day and “show me what you got.” Proving to be a natural, she cut three cows.

Jan’s love for horses began at age 3 when she got a Shetland pony and started riding bareback because she was “too lazy to put the saddle on the horse.”

“I have always enjoyed trail riding by myself because it’s quiet. It’s good for the soul,” she says. “I had ridden my whole life, but I had never competed.”

She quickly discovered, however, that “I have a competitive edge in me.”

Her first cutting horse event, where she rode Dual Badge, was the World Congress Futurity in Ohio in the fall of 2014. This event was supposed to be a trial run for the Augusta Futurity, where Jan had planned to compete the following January.

Although a family illness kept her from entering the show, she generally competes in the Augusta Futurity, now held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, annually.

Events are held nationwide throughout the year, and the NCHA Triple Crown in Fort Worth, Texas includes the Super Stakes in March and April, the Summer Spectacular in July and August, and the World Championship Futurity in November and December.

Jan began competing in cutting horse events with more regularity during the pandemic in 2020 when she got Smokey 2.

“During covid, he really gave us something to look forward to,” says Jan. “He’s a special horse.”

She has not competed as frequently this year as she did the past several years, but 2021 and 2022 were highly successful for her. In 2021 she finished in the Top 15 in the World Standings in the 15,000 Amateur division. (Amateurs must have lifetime earnings of less than $50,000 in cutting horse competition. In addition, these contestants may not work on a horse training facility or be married to a professional trainer.)

In the 2022 Senior World Tour, she finished sixth in the 15,000 Amateur and 10th in the 35,000 Non-pro division.

Jan takes all of her cutting horses to the events, and Braxton tells her which one to ride.

“Every cutting horse is different,” she says. “I have to do a mental checklist about the horse I’m on because all of the horses have certain tendencies.”

Commitment, Competition and Care

To be a successful cutting horse competitor, Jan says riders need to have a love of the sport and total commitment.

“You need a really nice horse and a good trainer,” she says. “You need to have good balance, and you need to be able to listen.”

She says cutting horses need good training and breeding. Before each run, riders also have to “lope,” or calm down, their horses by cantering, trotting or walking them in a ring.

“You have to get them tired because they get excited when they’re around the cows,” Jan says.

However, she never wants to tire out her horses too much. “I like mine a little fresh because I like a fast ride,” she says.

She also enjoys having the opportunity to compete.

“When you do well, you want to do it again. If you do badly, then you want to go out again and prove yourself,” Jan says.

To build a good relationship with their horses, she says riders need to “love them, care for them and groom them.”

Augusta Futurity Jan BirchMainly, though, she just enjoys spending time with her equine companions, which include pleasure horses that she keeps at her barn in Trenton, South Carolina.

“I love horses,” Jan says. “I love to rub their noses. They feel like velvet.”

By Betsy Gilliland

Pond, Porch and Pool

In The Home
hidden billiards table

Photography by Sally Kolar

With amenities ranging from a private fishing hole to a hidden billiards table, this Evans home is an indoor-outdoor haven.

When Evans resident William Cleveland decided to downsize his living accommodations, he knew the perfect place to build a smaller home. In fact, he could see it every day.

For 43 years he lived in a house on 30 acres of former farmland with a pond, and that small body of water played a large role in his decision-making process.

“I always thought a house would look good on the other side of the pond,” William says. “When I found out I could build it there, that was all I needed to know.”

He broke out 5 to 6 acres to build a new home and sold the remaining acreage to his daughter and son-in-law, who have a barn and an animal rescue farm on the property.

After he had made the first crucial decision about the location of his new house, he soon discovered that he had to make lots of choices during the construction process.

“When I first started building the house, I thought I could do it myself. But I quickly realized I couldn’t make all of the decisions,” says William.

His builder put him in touch with Amanda Pierce of Birdsong Design Co., and she came up with a “man’s dream house” design for the modern farmhouse where he has lived since May 2022.

clean and classic, peaceful and timelessLess is More

Setting the tone for the house, the front porch features cedar beams, copper lanterns, a tongue and groove ceiling and a salted concrete floor.

With dark paint on the board and batten exterior, along with lots of black, white, gray and beige tones inside, the house has a masculine feel without being overpowering.

The house also was designed with a clean and classic, peaceful and timeless look that won’t show its age.

“Having less is better,” William says.

White oak flooring runs through the first story, and William is partial to other features in the house as well.

“I love the six-paneled doors,” he says. “I like the straight lines on the doors and cabinet trim and the 45-degree angles.”

six-paneled doorsThe interior color is established in the foyer, which includes a black and white rug, a black light fixture, black double doors and a gray upholstered bench. An olive tree in a basket planter is tucked in the corner.

In the living room, the white cathedral ceiling with white scissor trestles gives the space an open, airy ambiance. During the 15-month construction of the house, they tweaked the house plans to add these trestles to the ceiling.

The room also features wood shelving with black glass-front doors, a stone fireplace with a raised hearth and a wood mantel, wall sconces above a built-in cabinet and a black ceiling fan.

Furnishings include a black and beige rug, a round black metal table, two leather chairs and a couch.

With four removable tabletop pieces, the trestle table in the dining area doubles as a billiards table.

“I hadn’t played pool since college, but now I knock the balls around at night,” William says. “I use it as a pool table more than a dining table.”

A black and brass chandelier hangs above the table, where black metal chairs line each side and an upholstered chair sits at either end. Black sliding glass doors lead to the covered back porch, which overlooks the pond.

“I love all of the glass on the back of the house,” says Cleveland. “It opens up the whole house. Wherever you walk, you feel like you’re outside.”

wood beams Two wood beams in the ceiling highlight the adjoining kitchen, where the dark green island looks green, black or bule depending on how the light hits it.

Four chairs are tucked under the island, which also features two copper pendant lights overhead and a hammered copper sink. With their imperfect edges, Riad tiles on the backsplash have a handmade look.

The kitchen also includes white cabinetry with black hardware, lots of drawer space, recessed lighting and quartz countertops in a soapstone color.

Evans HomeAdding to the charm of the home, the kitchen and sitting room door frames are made of wood that came from an Ohio barn that was more than 100 years old. Highlighting the craftsmanship, the woodworker filled the holes in the lumber with wood plugs.

A glass door from the kitchen leads to the grilling porch, which was another addition to the original house plans. Along with the grill, the space includes deck flooring, a black wall sconce and a birdhouse.

Sunlight and Solitude

Sunlight streams through the large glass windows on two walls of the sitting room, which includes a couch and two chairs upholstered in beige fabric, a pair of soft ottomans and two glass-topped tables.

For a bit of solitude at the end of the day, William also can retreat to the master bedroom. The space features a black metal canopy bed with a linen headboard, propeller ceiling fan and white window treatments on black curtain rods. A lamp with a blue-green base sits atop each of the black bedside tables, and a chair and black floor lamp are nestled in the corner of the room.

clean linesIn the master bath, the black hexagon tile flooring extends into the gridded glass shower. The shower also features matte black fixtures, a black granite shower bench and white subway tile on the walls. Two vanities, black granite countertops, black vessel sinks and wood cabinets accent the bath as well.

However, William’s favorite place to relax and unwind is the covered back porch that overlooks the pond.

covered back porchThis outdoor retreat features exposed beams in the ceiling, three ceiling fans, cedar columns between black wrought iron railings that matches the railing on the front staircase inside, deck flooring with the same cedar stain as the grilling porch and a birdhouse.

Adding to the ambiance, the soothing sound of wind chimes announces the presence of a gentle breeze on the back porch. Large green plants tie into the natural surroundings as well.

A black and white rug offers a finishing touch to the sitting area where plush cream-colored cushions serve as an invitation to settle on the four teak chairs and loveseat. Another rug lies beneath a round glass-topped table surrounded by four metal chairs with armrests.

“I sit on the back porch most of the day,” William says. “I like the jungle look. I see a lot of wildlife.”

With a large swatch of wetlands on his property between his house and the Savannah River, he can enjoy the company of herons, egrets, deer and wild hogs. Egrets have been known to perch on the porch railing for 30 minutes at a time.

From the back porch, William also can watch the sun set or take in the view of the trees and pastures on the other side of the fish-filled pond.

While the bass and brim “take care of themselves,” he restocks the water with catfish every 10 years. Last fall, he added 250 catfish to the pond.

“I used to like to fish,” William says. “Now I enjoy feeding the fish.”

By Betsy Gilliland

Mushroom Swiss Burger with Jalapeño Aioli

  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons steak seasoning blend
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 ounces portobello mushrooms
  • 4 Swiss cheese slices
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 4 tomatoes slices
  • Jalapeño Aioli:
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Combine ground beef and steak seasoning in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into four patties; set aside. Heat sauté pan over medium until hot. Add olive oil and mushrooms and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat grill to medium. Add jalapeño peppers and grill 5-6 minutes. Remove and let cool. Once cool, remove stem and seeds and dice into 1/4-inch cubes. Place in a medium bowl and add mayo, salt and lime juice. Combine thoroughly; set aside.

Place burgers on grill and cook, covered, over medium heat 7-10 or until thermometer registers 160 degrees, turning occasionally. Do not press on burgers. During last minute of grilling, top each burger with cheese slice. Remove to platter to rest, and place buns, cut sides down, on grill. Grill about 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Place burgers on bottom buns and top with mushrooms, tomato and lettuce. Spread top buns with aioli and add to burgers. Serve with extra aioli, if desired. Makes 4 burgers.

Recipe courtesy of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

Celebrating the U.S.A.


Dirk Meyer Augusta SymphonyThe 2023-24 Augusta Symphony season offers a patriotic tribute to American music.
For Dirk Meyer, Augusta Symphony music director, the upcoming concert lineup is personal.

“This season is very much influenced by what has happened in my own life,” he says.

Earlier this year, the native of Germany, who has been in the United States for 20 years, got his dual citizenship. In honor of this milestone achievement, the theme of this year’s concerts is American Perspectives.

Symphony Series

The showcase of American artists and music is evident from the beginning of the season, which opens on Friday, September 22 with the first concert in the Symphony series, Welcome to America. Beginning with this performance, a common thread runs through all six concerts in the series.

“In the Symphony Series, each concert features music by an American composer and a composer who eventually became an American citizen,” Meyer says.

A guest artist will perform with the Symphony in each of these concerts as well.

Augusta Symphony“Our guest artists are local and international soloists,” says Meyer. “They add another dimension to the concerts that are great for the audiences and for the orchestra to have an opportunity to play with them.”

Violinist Anastasia Petrunina performs with the musicians in the opening concert, which features works by Stravinsky and Mahler as well as a violin concerto by Barber.

On Friday, November 17, Symphonic Shorts features Taylor Massey, the principal clarinetist who has been with the orchestra for years, and the Youth Concerto Competition winner.

“This is one of my favorite concerts,” says Meyer. “It has seven different pieces, and each one is 10 to 15 minutes long. I think people will recognize at least five of them, and I hope the others give them an appetite for trying something more.”

In Mozart & Milhaud on Saturday, January 6, the orchestra performs pieces including Milhaud’s Le boeuf sur le toit, which resembles Brazilian bar music. Guest artist Darci Gamerl will play the English horn for the world premiere of Courageous Lights by James Lee III.

“It’s an eclectic program that features music that people know and like and a lot of pieces that people have never heard before,” Meyer says.

American Rhapsodies is the title of the Saturday, March 9 performance. This concert includes Dvorak’s American Suite and Symphony No. 2 by German-born composer Kurt Weill, who is known for his satire, social commentary and seminal works in the development of the American musical.

In addition, the program features the Georgia premiere of Boyer’s Rhapsody in Red, White & Blue, with guest artist Jeffrey Biegel on the piano. The pianist conceived this work to celebrate the centennial of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, which the orchestra will perform to conclude the program.

Meyer says Beethoven 5, scheduled for Saturday, April 20, was canceled two years ago because of covid. In addition to Symphony No. 5, the orchestra performs Augusta Symphony Dirk Meyer which represents the energy and commerce of the main arteries in cities in general and specifically the main thoroughfare of her hometown Atlanta. Guest artist Paul Huang joins the Symphony on the violin.

This series concludes on Saturday, May 11 with Symphonic Jazz. The four-piece program includes the United States premiere of Wars’ City Sketches. The Polish immigrant, known as the King of Jazz, wrote countless Hollywood scores for film and television.

Pops! Series

From country to swing, holiday songs to popular ’80s tunes, the Pops! Series is a source of patriotic pride.

“All of the Pops concerts are heavily oriented toward American music,” says Meyer.

Country Hits: Songs From Nashville on Thursday, September 28 celebrates country artists past and present. The concert features music by country legends like Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash as well as contemporary stars such as Garth Brooks and Kacey Musgraves. Two of Nashville’s brightest young vocalists also will perform alongside the Symphony and Music City’s most in-demand instrumentalists.

 Joe Gransden and His Big BandOn Thursday, October 19, the Symphony takes a nostalgic look at the dawn of the MTV era with Decades: Back to the ’80s. This concert promises a power-packed evening featuring some of the decade’s No. 1 hit songs. Think “The Power of Love,” “Time After Time,” “Material Girl,” “Another One Bites The Dust,” “Footloose” and “Addicted to Love.” Fans of Madonna, Debbie Gibson, Huey Lewis & The News, Phil Collins, Queen and Joe Cocker will delight in the repertoire.

For the first time in years, the Symphony revives an old favorite with the Holiday Pops concert, Sounds of the Season, on Thursday, December 7. The orchestra plays alongside Joe Gransden and His Big Band, and concert-goers can ring in the season with classics from “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” to “Silver Bells.”

Augusta Synphony“With Sounds of the Season, we’re hoping to bring back a holiday tradition for Augusta,” Meyer says.

The Symphony showcases another bygone era with The Great American Swingbook on Thursday, February 15. With her four-octave range, vocalist Dee Daniels performs a century of hits featuring music by Swing legends Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong.

In the final Pops performance, the musicians offer a choreographed 3D celebration of the country’s national parks and major cities in America’s Wonders on Thursday, March 21. Striking imagery will be displayed on a giant screen as the Symphony guides the audience through beautiful American landscapes and cityscapes.

“We’ve never done a 3D experience before,” Meyer says.

Family Concerts at Columbia County

Augusta SymphonyHolidays With the Symphony on Sunday, December 10 brings the return of the popular Family Concerts at Columbia County. Instead of its annual Halloween concert, however, the orchestra performs Animals With the Symphony on Sunday, March 10. From buzzing bees to braying donkeys, this work by French composer Camille Saint Saens is a humorous musical suite of 14 movements.

These concerts are 45 to 50 minutes long, and Meyer gives a verbal introduction to each piece.

Throughout the season, he hopes audience members enjoy works they know and love as well as music that may be new to them.

“I believe they will get a kick out of the programs,” he says. “I’ve been here long enough that I hope people trust me now.”

The family concerts begin at 4 p.m. at Hardin Auditorium. All of the other performances begin at 7:30 p.m. at Miller Theater. For more information, visit

AU Ranks No. 5


Ranks Number 5BestColleges has ranked Augusta University No. 5 in the country on its list of universities with the best return on investment.

To determine the universities with the best financial outcomes for graduates, the website reviewed the average cost of attendance, federal grant aid awarded to students and future expected earnings.

AU found itself in heady company, sandwiched in the Top 10 between Georgia Tech, which claimed the No. 1 ranking, and Stanford University, which garnered the 10th spot.

Last year, the Third Way think tank also ranked AU in the top 5% of universities nationwide for improving economic outcomes for lower- and moderate-income graduates.

Over the past seven years, AU has bucked national trends by continuing to increase its enrollment and by becoming a destination of choice for students across the state and the nation.

The growth is expected to continue for the coming academic year, as the university expands its variety of degree programs that meet student and employer demand.

The school offers almost 100 undergraduate majors across 10 schools of study.