‘A Night of Georgia Music’ full-length concert now available to watch online

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Four men take a bow on stage
From left, conductor Ward Stare, violin soloist Robert McDuffie, Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell and R.E.M. founding member Mike Mills take a bow at the end of "A Night of Georgia Music," filmed in March 2022 at The Grand Opera House in Macon. Photo by Christopher Ian Smith

If you missed “A Night of Georgia Music” when it aired on Georgia Public Broadcasting earlier this year, you can now watch the one-hour broadcast version of the show, as well as the full-length concert, via streaming on the GPB website.

“A Night of Georgia Music” dynamically showcases some of the Peach State’s most iconic songs, headlined by three of Georgia’s most well-known musicians and featuring students from Mercer University’s Robert McDuffie Center for Strings. The concert was recorded for public television at Macon’s historic Grand Opera House and Capricorn Sound Studios in March 2022.

In addition to the McDuffie Center students, the program features R.E.M. founding member and Macon native Mike Mills; internationally renowned violin soloist and Macon native Robert McDuffie; and former Allman Brothers Band member and current Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell.

“A Night of Georgia Music” includes songs made popular by some of Georgia’s favorite contemporary artists, including Otis Redding, Ray Charles, the Allman Brothers Band, R.E.M., Gladys Knight, Outkast, and the B-52s. The full-length concert also incorporates the Mills-composed “Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra.”

The concert film will be distributed by American Public Television (APT) to stations across the country beginning in February 2023. Check your local PBS station for air times.

“Presenting these iconic songs of Georgia with legends Mike Mills and Chuck Leavell is a high point of my professional life. Being on stage with them makes this classical violinist feel ‘cool.’ The music resonates in a visceral way for so many people,” McDuffie said. “Playing at The Grand for a national television audience makes me proud to be from Macon.”

The Macon production follows a successful concert tour in 2019 that included sold-out performances in Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta and Birmingham. Concerts in additional cities, including Macon, were planned until the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed live performances.

“Georgia is such a great state for music — the most fertile state in the country, as far as I’m concerned,” Mills said. “We’ve curated an hour of songs either about Georgia, by Georgia artists, or a combination of both. The only formula I used to build the set list is that you have a great starter to grab the audience’s attention, and then it flows from there. It has movement, but at the same time it’s cohesive.”

“I thought it was a brilliant concept, because as Mike points out, Georgia has so many great songs and great artists,” said Leavell, who last summer completed a European tour with the Rolling Stones. “The hard part was deciding what to leave out. It was an honor to be asked to join with Mike and Bobby to perform this show.”

Arrangements for “A Night of Georgia Music” were provided by award-winning composer David Mallamud, and the string orchestra was conducted by Ward Stare.

The concert was filmed and produced by multiple Emmy Award-winner 7 Cinematics, which has previously produced live concerts for PBS and other national networks, including The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks and the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Great Pyramids. In addition to taping at The Grand, one segment for the show was shot in Macon’s historic Capricorn Sound Studios, restored by Mercer in 2019.

Major funding for “A Night of Georgia Music” is provided by The Peyton Anderson Foundation and the W. Mansfield Jennings Jr. Charitable Trust. Additional funding is provided by the Knight Foundation Fund at the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.