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Mercer musicians prepare for historic Carnegie Hall performance

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Mercer Singers rehearse for upcoming concert.

Mercer Singers rehearse for upcoming concert.

Kat Heesh

Kat Heesh

Mercer Singers rehearse for upcoming concert.

Kyle Mullins, Staff Writer

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The Mercer Singers and the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings will have the honor of performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City Feb. 19.

This will be the first time in history that ensembles from the Townsend School of Music perform at Carnegie.

The concert will consist of the Mercer Singers, made up of 48 voices, and the McDuffie Center. Each ensemble will have 20 minutes of separate performance time within the concert, followed by the two groups coming together to perform John Rutter’s “Requiem” as an encore piece.

“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 David Keith, Dean of the Townsend School of Music. “This will further help to distinguish the Townsend School of Music as one of the premiere programs in the nation.”

Dr. Stanley Roberts is a Mercer alumnus and has been conducting the Mercer Singers for 19 years.

“I was extended the invitation to conduct and bring Mercer Singers as the core choir,” Roberts said. “In consultation… I said, ‘I’d love to be able to bring the Center for Strings as well and do a concert that’s a little different.’”

Amy Moretti is the director for the Center for Strings, and has been with the Center since its inception.

She wrote in an email  that the collaboration on this trip was inspired by the experience they had putting together the PBS special “A Grand Mercer Christmas” a few years ago.

The pieces the Center for Strings will be performing include Elgar’s “Serenade for Strings” and the final movement of Mendelssohn’s “Octet for Strings.”

Having the opportunity to perform on the historic stage at Carnegie Hall with the McDuffie Center students and faculty will be the most exciting part of the trip! I’m looking forward to creating incredible memories with these amazing artists,” Moretti wrote.

The two groups have been preparing for this concert since September of last semester.

Middle Georgia local Olivia McMillan will be performing a soprano solo during the Singers and Strings’ performance of the Requiem. She is currently a sophomore at The Juilliard School.

During the performance of the Requiem, the Mercer performers will be joined by 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 to total 175 voices.

“We have great repertoire that we’re bringing,” said Bryce Greene, a freshman in the Mercer Singers. “I’m really excited to hear what the strings are playing.”

Joel Terning, a sophomore member of the Mercer Singers, said he is excited for every aspect of the trip, including the different shows that the students will see while they are in New York.

“I think we’re going to do exceedingly well in New York and represent Mercer,” Terning said.

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Mercer musicians prepare for historic Carnegie Hall performance