Townsend School of Music Offers Variety of Community Concerts in February


MACON – The Townsend School of Music at Mercer University will offer a variety of concerts and chamber recitals in February, most of which are free and open to the public.

This month will feature a concert by Macon native and one of America's most loved sopranos Lenora Green, the Mercer Jazz Ensemble, and a unique performance of music and spoken word with world-renowned violinist Robert McDuffie, the Mercer Orchestra and Theatre Macon's Youth Actor's Company.

For a complete schedule of events, visit, or become a fan of the School's Facebook page.

Tuesday, Feb. 2

Robert McDuffie Center for Strings Presents Fabian Concert Series: A Little Romance

Donald Weilerstein, violin; Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, piano Hsin-Yun Huang, viola; Amy Schwartz Moretti, violin

Violinist of the Cleveland Quartet and acclaimed pedagogue Donald Weilerstein joins his wife, pianist Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, along with returning guest violist Hsin-Yun Huang and the Center's Amy Schwartz Moretti in an evening of romantic music.

This event begins at 7:30 p.m. in Neva Langley Fickling Hall in the McCorkle Music Building. Tickets are $12 per person, free with Mercer ID or free with any valid student ID. Pay at the door, or to reserve seats by phone, call (478) 301-5470.

Friday, Feb. 5

Mercer Wind Ensemble Presents: Mad About Chamber Music II

This annual tradition presented by chamber ensembles comprised from the Mercer University Wind Ensemble will offer up a program of every imaginable chamber music setting. Small groups from a woodwind quintet to a full brass choir will explore the variable palette of musical timbres available in these many wind combinations. 

This event is free and will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Neva Langley Fickling Hall in the McCorkle Music Building.

Tuesday, Feb. 16

Joan Stockstill Godsey Concert Series presents Songs of Hope, Love, and Grace

Lenora Green, soprano; Carol Goff, piano

Maconite Lenora Green, recognized as one of America's most loved sopranos with her full, warm, lyrical voice, returns to the Fickling Stage with Carol Goff in a collaborative recital exploring arts songs and arias rich in the vocabulary of hope, love, and grace. The recital will conclude with a beautiful set of spirituals, honoring this critical time in our cultural and musical heritage. Green is hailed by Opera News as an impressive vocalist and the New York Times as a most expressive singer. ”When Lenora sings, it is apparent that she is an indulgence the audience can wholeheartedly support.”

This event is free and will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Neva Langley Fickling Hall in the McCorkle Music Building.

Friday, Feb. 19

Mercer Jazz Ensemble: Bring on the Funk!

Featuring Jody Espina, saxophone guest artist.

This event is free and will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Neva Langley Fickling Hall in the McCorkle Music Building.

Monday, Feb. 22  

Robert McDuffie Center for Strings Student Chamber Ensemble Concerts

Center student recitals are held in the Bell House Salon at 7:30 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public. Seating is very limited and is first-come, first-served. Doors open 30 minutes beforehand.

Friday, Feb. 26

Joan Stockstill Godsey Concert Series presents Christa Rakich, organ

Concert and recording artist Christa Rakich is artist-in-residence at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Brookline, Massachusetts, and directs the music program at St. Mark the Evangelist Church in West Hartford, Connecticut. A prizewinner at international organ competitions (notably Bruges 1976), Rakich has received particular acclaim for her interpretations of the music of J.S. Bach. 

Her performing career has taken her throughout the United States and Europe. Of her featured concert at the Year 2000 National AGO Convention in Seattle, critics said, “Rakich's wonderfully natural ebb and flow went right to the music's heart. The urbane charm and wit certainly came across, as did just the right bit of wildness…” (The American Organist, October 2000). 

This event is free and open to the public. It will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, 582 Walnut St. in downtown Macon. A reception will follow the performance.

Saturday, Feb. 27

Robert McDuffie Center for Strings Organizes Evening of Music and Spoken Word to Address Local Racial Issues

The Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, a special institute within the Townsend School of Music, presents “What Color is Your Brother? An Exploration of Race Through Words and Music” on Saturday, Feb. 27.

Featuring world-renowned violinist and Center founder Robert McDuffie, the Mercer University Orchestra and Theatre Macon's Youth Actors Company, the performance will combine classical music with a documentary play written specifically for the event.

In an attempt to address local racial issues with a powerful pairing of words and music, the evening will close with a panel and audience discussion. The audience will have the opportunity to submit questions for the panel at the end of the performance.

Young actors from Theatre Macon's Youth Actors Company will portray five local personalities in the documentary play, directed by Jim Crisp.

“These words, thoughts and ideas being expressed through young voices will make the audience really listen to what these local politicians and activists have to say,” said Crisp.

Respected journalist and music critic Mark Mobley was asked by McDuffie to write “What Color is Your Brother” late last year.

“I've known Mark for 25 years,” said McDuffie. “He's one of the most respected minds in the music world and longtime producer of NPR's 'Performance Today.' He's a son of the South and knows my voice. He was the perfect person for this project.”

After poring over hundreds of hours of film and transcripts, Mobley settled on five voices to represent Macon: Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert, Commissioner Elaine Lucas, Coroner Leon Jones, local pastor and academic coordinator of Mercer's Upward Bound program Dominique Johnson and executive director of the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Central Georgia Susanna Patterson.

“Racial problems aren't unique to Macon, but Macon is uniquely positioned to do something about it – the strength of its churches, the goodwill of most Maconites, and yes, a thriving arts community,” said McDuffie. “Add Mercer University with its strong sense of purpose for the community, and you have a powerful formula for good.”

This is a free, ticketed event that will take place at The Grand Opera House at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be picked up at The Grand box office, located at 651 Mulberry St. in downtown Macon. For more information, contact the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at (478) 301-2886.