Musicians perform, discuss environmental concerns at Aiken fundraiser |


“For the Beauty of the Earth,” a fundraiser that also raised awareness about environmental concerns, was held Sunday at the home of Jack Wetzel in Aiken.

Presented by the Aiken Civic Orchestra, the event featured a performance by Anastasia Petrunina and Denis Petrunin of the ViMaDeAn Duo.

Petrunina, a violinist, is the concertmaster for the Augusta Symphony. Petrunin, her husband, is the orchestra’s principal timpanist.

He played a marimba and a vibraphone during the fundraiser.

“I want everybody to hear her,” said Wetzel of Petrunina. “I’ve heard a lot of wonderful musicians from around the world, but she is very special. She’s not only talented, but she’s also pretty and nice, very nice.”

Wetzel is the president of the Aiken Horse Park Foundation.

Adam DePriest, the Aiken Civic Orchestra’s founder, music director and conductor, described Petrunina and Petrunin as “phenomenally talented musicians with an international reputation” during his introduction of the duo to guests, who enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres in one of Wetzel’s gardens before listening to the couple’s music.

“Part of our mission with the Aiken Civic Orchestra is to provide an artistic home that engages musicians and audiences from the greater Aiken and Central Savannah River Area communities,” DePriest said.

In addition to providing the entertainment, Petrunina and Petrunin talked about their project, “Based on Actual Events,” which is their musical response to Earth’s environmental challenges, including natural disasters.

They plan to record and release a CD.

“Every single one of us, every individual, can make a difference,” Petrunin said.

DePriest announced during the fundraiser that there will be a concert by the Aiken Civic Orchestra on Aug. 21 at the Etherredge Center on USC Aiken’s campus.

Petrunina will be the guest artist. She will perform Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor.

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