Area students jump, jive and wail with The Jive Aces

April 1, 2017 GMT

Area school children were on their feet Friday morning when British band The Jive Aces brought an upbeat performance chock full of jive and swing to USC Aiken’s Etherredge Center.

The performance was a part of Aiken Performing Arts educational outreach. During outreach, artists perform for students and share their experiences with them, said board member Jody Duggan.

Students from South Aiken High School, Strom Thurmond High School, Aiken Middle School, Mead Hall Episcopal School and USC Aiken, along with home school students attended Friday’s performance, Duggan said.

The Jive Aces have been together for more than a decade, according to the band’s website, and have appeared on “Britain’s Got Talent,” where they boast they were even able to make reality TV judge Simon Cowell crack a smile.


The band also has performed for Queen Elizabeth II.

On Friday, their Aiken audience seem just as captivated. The musicians took the stage in their signature bright yellow suits, engaging the students from beginning to end.

There was laughter when lead vocalist and trumpeter Ian Clarkson called attention to his English accent and expressions that likely differ from the American students.

Students also were encouraged to dance throughout the performance, many choosing to scurry down from the audience during most of the songs.

Two of them started with the “boogie-woogie.” A few danced and grinned during the band’s rendition of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile.” By the end, almost all of them were on their feet during the performance of “Jump, Jive and Wail.”

The band’s lineup includes Clarkson; Big John Fordham on tenor saxophone, clarinet and fiddle; Alex Douglas on trombone and washboard; Vince “Professor” Hurley on piano; Ken Smith on double bass and Peter “Bilky” Howell on drums.

Singer Makinna Ridgway also joined them onstage Friday.

After their performance, band members took time to answer questions and encouraged students to continue to perform.

“The educational outreach component of our concert series is the best thing that we do,” Duggan said. “It inspires these kids to really get into music.”

The event was relocated from the AECOM Center for the Performing Arts due to recent water damage to its stage.

Aiken Performing Arts thanked the Etherredge Center, with Arts Administrator Cathy Traver adding the center “has been wonderful.”

The Jive Aces hit the stage again Friday evening.