About the Program
Recorded in Macon’s historic Grand Opera House, A Grand Mercer Christmas program features two internationally acclaimed ensembles: the Mercer Singers, conducted by Dr. Stanley L. Roberts, and the students and faculty of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings. Acclaimed violinist, Grammy-nominee, Macon native and Center for Strings founder Robert McDuffie serves as master of ceremonies.
The performance includes holiday favorites as well as new selections by the Mercer Singers and the MCS Ensemble, including "What Child Is This" and "What Sweeter Music" alongside Matt Catingub’s thrilling Christmas Medley for Strings and J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins featuring Center director and former Oregon Symphony Concertmaster Amy Schwartz Moretti and McDuffie along with the MCS Ensemble. The combined chorus and orchestra also premiere two new orchestrations by composer Randol Bass: "Glory to God" and "Exultate Justi."
Founded as a special institute within Mercer’s Townsend School of Music, enrollment in the McDuffie Center for Strings is limited to 26 students: 12 violinists, six violists, six cellists and two double bassists. The distinguished artists of the McDuffie Center perform, collaborate and record with the finest orchestras, string ensembles and conductors around the world. And, each McDuffie Center student interacts with these distinguished artists on a regular basis, which enhances the students’ private lessons, master classes, chamber music coaching sessions and orchestral sectionals, all a part of their required curriculum. The Center partners with the prestigious Rome Chamber Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Brevard Music Festival, Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, and New World Symphony in Miami to provide students with additional performance and learning possibilities.
An auditioned ensemble of 45 voices, the Mercer Singers has represented the University extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Russia and Japan. The choir includes undergraduate students from all disciplines of Mercer and performs a wide range of choral music spanning from the Renaissance to works written by composers of our time. The Mercer Singers has received invitations to perform by the Georgia Music Educators Association, the Southern Division Convention of the Music Educators National Convention, and the Southern Division of the American Choral Directors Association, an especially coveted invitation.
A Grand Mercer Christmas was produced by
Brandenburg Productions and Georgia Public Broadcasting.