Mercer University Students to Host Benefit Concert for New Veterans Voices Project

Statue of Jesse Mercer on the Mercer campus.

MACON – Mercer University students in Dr. Creighton Rosental's service-learning class – “Creating a Public Art Program for Macon-Bibb” – will host a benefit concert Dec. 5 in support of their new Veterans Voices project.

The concert, which is open to the public, will take place as part of First Friday festivities at Roasted Café, 442 Second St., and will feature local band Bootz & Katz, which is composed of Mercer students. A $3 donation is requested at the door, with all proceeds processed through Macon Arts Alliance, a 501c3 non-profit organization, to go directly to the Veterans Voices project. Doors open at 9 p.m., and music begins at 10 p.m.

The Veterans Voices project is focused on providing a public platform for veterans in Middle Georgia to share their artistic expression with the community. This platform will be provided through a literary magazine that will feature art, short stories, poetry and more, created exclusively by veterans and their families.

Students wish to raise enough money to print more than 1,000 magazines. They are also raising funds to hire art and literary teachers and host workshops for veterans involved with the project.

The magazine will be released on Memorial Day, May 25, 2015. To commemorate the release of the magazine, students will also host an event in Tattnall Square Park on the same day including food, readings, commemorations and more.

In preparation for this project, students have met and interned with Macon's community organizers and professionals in various fields, such as community development, fundraising, marketing and event planning.

“I am quite impressed with what the students have been able to accomplish,” said Dr. Rosental, associate professor and chair of the Philosophy Department at Mercer. “I wanted to see if a group of students could build an organization starting with no money or resources that would result in real change in the community. We are well on our way to achieving that goal.”

“The project is quite powerful for us,” said Ryan Walters, a student in the class. “Not only is it great experience, as students, to construct an organization from the ground up, we are also hoping that Veterans Voices will reach out to Middle Georgia veterans in a really meaningful way that is not exactly conventional. I think that artistic expression is among the best ways to tell a story, and I think that veterans in our community all have important stories to tell.”

“Veterans Voices gives our veterans in Middle Georgia a chance to express themselves in a healthy manner that will promote a sense of community and give those who have fought for our freedom a voice they deserve,” said student J.C. Bergh.

“Not only does Veterans Voices give our veterans a way to express themselves and tell their story, but it also allows for a growing and strengthening of our community and community values,” added student Jordan Morris. “Veterans Voices is able to accomplish all these important things by integrating veterans' stories with community members. This interaction will most certainly lead to a better, more knowledgeable Macon community.”

The project is still seeking donations and has multiple sponsorship opportunities available. There are still openings for veterans and their families to participate in the project. All inquiries should be directed to

About Roasted Cafe & Lounge

Who likes stale, often burnt, coffee? No one. At Roasted, we strive to provide high quality delicious food, coffee, and beverages. These are all created in house with fresh, local ingredients. At the same time, we want to offer our guests a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. We seek to become a second home for members of our community and a landmark of positivity in downtown, where all characters are welcome. What goes with a good cup of joe? I guess that depends on who you ask, but we've got a little bit of everything. Want something quick on your way to work? Grab a muffin or fresh croissant. Lunch? Grab one of our delicious sandwiches, served on a variety of breads, with our famous Date Shake on the side. And, for the people who enjoy the nightlife? How about a glass of wine or a beer while you enjoy a nice hookah by the fire. We want to give you the whole experience. From morning to night. We've got you covered. Located at 442 Second Street in downtown Macon, Georgia.

About Bootz & Katz

Bootz & Katz, formed by Mercer University students in the spring of 2013, is charged with the vision to bring the live band experience into the realm of bass heavy dance music. Since its forming, Bootz & Katz has become one of the most prominent livetronica acts in Middle Georgia, keeping packed dance floors moving all night long from Milledgeville to Macon to Athens. As their performances expand and evolve, Bootz & Katz continues to crank out original productions along side remixes and mashups of artists as diverse as The Manhattan Project, Bassnectar and Ben Westbeech. They have also had the pleasure to share the stage with some of their biggest influences including Dr. Fameus (of the Disco Biscuits), Greenhouse Lounge, The Heavy Pets and Dopapod.

About Macon Arts Alliance

Macon Arts Alliance is a 501c3 non-profit organization and the designated local arts agency of Macon-Bibb County. Its mission is to foster and support the advancement of arts and culture in Central Georgia. Macon Arts Alliance works to create an environment where arts and culture thrive and Central Georgia is recognized as an unparalleled cultural destination.

Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​