MACON – Mercer University and the Townsend School of Music are proud to announce a gala concert on Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. in New York City's revered Carnegie Hall.
The concert will feature three unique musical components: a mostly a cappella performance by the Mercer Singers, works for string orchestra by the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and a performance of the John Rutter Requiem for choir and orchestra.
The chorus for the Rutter Requiem will total 175 voices. Joining the Mercer Singers will be Mercer Singers alumni, musicians from the Chancel Choir of the First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon, the Choral Society of Middle Georgia and the Chancel Choir of Shallowford Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. The Robert McDuffie Center for Strings Ensemble will provide the string section for the full orchestra. The Rutter Requiem will be under the baton of Dr. Stanley L. Roberts, director of choral studies at Mercer.
“We are very excited that our students are going to have the opportunity to perform in one of the greatest concert venues in the world,” said Dr. David Keith, dean of Mercer's Townsend School of Music. “This will further help to distinguish the Townsend School of Music as one of the premiere programs in the nation.”
The McDuffie Center String Ensemble, composed of Townsend School of Music majors, features the 24 full-scholarship students of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings. These musicians, hailing from 11 states and four countries, learn from and often perform side by side with their faculty mentors who play with some of the country's top orchestras and world-class ensembles. The ensemble is led by violinist and McDuffie Center director Amy Schwartz Moretti.
The Mercer Singers, an ensemble of 48 voices, is the primary touring choral ensemble of Mercer. Under the leadership of Dr. Roberts since 1995, they have sung on numerous state and regional programs for American Choral Directors Association and National Association for Music Educators. The choir has performed throughout the U.S. and experienced six highly successful international tours including performances in England, Wales, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Japan and Russia. This will be the choir's first performance in Carnegie Hall.
Soprano soloist for the Requiem is Centerville, Georgia, native Olivia McMillan. McMillan grew up singing in children's choir at Macon's First Baptist Church and joined the Mercer University Children's Choir at age 9. She began her classical vocal training at the age of 14 with Marie Jarriel Roberts at Mercer. A graduate of Northside High School, McMillan was named one of the “Top 10 Teens who Changed the World” in 2014 by Teen Vogue magazine and received the title of Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2015. Currently, she is in her second year studying vocal performance at the Julliard School where she is the recipient of the Kovner Fellowship.
In addition to the Carnegie Hall concert, the Townsend School of Music will present a special concert at the famed Steinway Hall on Feb. 17.
“This will further acquaint the New York audience with the talented musicians and faculty at Mercer,” said Dr. Keith.
Several dozen Mercer donors and friends will be flying to New York for the performances. Carnegie Hall concert tickets can be purchased online at www.carnegiehall.org, or by calling (212) 247-7800.