Mercer Wind Ensemble revs up for concerts in November


Image: Tiffani Alexander

Mercer University’s Wind Ensemble prepares for their upcoming concert.

The Mercer University Wind Ensemble is preparing for back-to-back concerts with middle Georgia high schools in early November.

The concerts, titled “Macon Music Across Middle Georgia,” will feature high school-level instrumentalists from Fayetteville and Warner Robins.

Mercer instrumentalists will join students from Warner Robins High School on Nov. 1 for a collaborative concert.

The concert will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. in the high school’s auditorium.

Then, on Nov. 7, Mercer will perform with Starr’s Mill High School in Fayetteville.

The concert will start at 6 p.m. and will feature a pre-show performance from the Mercer Faculty Brass Quintet. Both concerts have free admission and are open to the public.

“Music is the international language,” said Douglas Hill, director of instrumental ensembles at Mercer’s Townsend School of Music.

Hill said that this opportunity will allow Mercer students to have an inside scoop to high school musicianship and what these young students are capable of.

This is especially beneficial to Mercer’s music education majors, he said.

Second-year graduate trumpet major Jeremiah Kersting views these concerts as teachable moments for the high school students.

“It’s always good for the university to give back to the community,” he said.

Hill said that the upcoming concerts will allow the high school students the opportunity to talk with university students to learn about college and possible areas of study.

“Generally, between the wind ensemble and Mercer Singers, [the Townsend School of Music] have [almost] every major on campus,” said Hill.

The concerts serve not only for Mercer instrumentalists to showcase what they have been working on over the semester, but both the high school and university students will be able to share their knowledge and skills in music performance.

Hill said that the parents of the high schoolers will also benefit because they will hear what college-level performance will be like.

At both concerts the Mercer Wind Ensemble will play a program of select pieces from their repertoire. “We are playing a pretty wide variety of music,” said Kersting.

At the concert in Warner Robins, the two ensembles will come together to play a joint piece, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “March Slav.”

Kersting said the Tchaikovsky piece is a march and has elements that make it sound nationalistic.

He said that the composition has parts of the Russian national anthem interwoven into the piece. It is these “little nuggets,” as Kersting calls them, that make the music sound familiar.

“It’s just a nice robust piece you could [include] both bands [in],” said Kersting.

Before the performance begins at Starr’s Mill, the Mercer Faculty Brass Quintet will perform selections from the Charles Gounod piece “Petite Symphonie.”

Earlier that day, the faculty quintet members will host masterclasses for the high school students.

Additionally, Starr’s Mill band director Scott King has invited all of the neighboring high schools in Fayetteville County to attend the concert on Nov. 7.

Hill said that he will also be inviting his colleagues and their students to the upcoming concerts.

Kersting said, “I believe you should support your community in anything . . . We should rally around the arts.”

Hill said in the same sentiment: I think I’d encourage people to [come] hear wonderful wind music.”

More information on both of these concerts is available at the Townsend School of Music official website at