MACON – Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music will begin presenting internationally renowned artists and scholars for the community this winter through the Fabian Center for Musical Excellence. Former chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jane Chu will speak on “How the Arts Prepare Us for Leadership” on Nov. 30 at 10 a.m., and leading touring ensemble Canadian Brass will present a holiday concert on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. to kick off the free offerings to the community in this series.

The Fabian Center for Musical Excellence was created through the generosity of philanthropist Jo Phelps Fabian. “Through the invisible hands of music the soul is touched and healed,” Fabian wrote about her gift. 

The 2021-2022 academic year marks the beginning of this significant institute, which alongside educational programs for outstanding aspiring musicians, supports concerts by leading artists around the world and symposia on music, philosophy and the arts by prominent scholars. All of the programs in the inaugural season are presented free and open to the public.

The Center will open with two momentous days of programming. In Chu’s symposium, she will detail her four-year tenure at the NEA. During this time, she traveled to all 50 states, 200 communities and made more than 400 site visits to visual artists, musicians, dancers, actors, writers, arts educators and arts administrators. These lessons will be valuable to anyone in Macon’s vibrant arts and culture community as well as those in educational or leadership positions.

The next day, masters of concert presentation Canadian Brass will hit the stage for a lively holiday concert. Each of their concerts will show the full range from trademark Baroque and Dixieland tunes to new compositions and arrangements created especially for them – from formal classical presentation to music served up with lively dialogue and theatrical effects. Tickets for this performance were offered to the public for free and sold out well in advance of the concert. Seating will not be available at the door. Contact Lisa Sturgis at (478) 301-5751 to be added to the waiting list if tickets are returned.

Both events will be held in Neva Langley Fickling Hall in the McCorkle Music Building at 1329 Adams St. in Macon. All seating is general admission. An adequate face mask covering the nose and mouth are required while in Fickling Hall.

About Townsend School of Music

Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music, the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and the Townsend-McAfee Institute for Graduate Studies offer undergraduate and graduate professional music studies in a comprehensive university environment. Townsend is nationally recognized for its outstanding faculty, award-winning students, performance ensembles and state-of-the-art facilities. The McDuffie Center, a special institute within Townsend School of Music, is a highly selective program that prepares string students for success in the real world. Students study with some of America’s most renowned string musicians, receiving music instruction of conservatory quality, while earning an academically well-rounded education from a comprehensive, nationally recognized university. For more information and a complete listing of this season’s concerts, visit, or call (478) 301-2748.