Mercer’s Wind Ensemble to present “Musical Flowers of Spring” concert


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The 41-member Mercer Wind Ensemble will join forces with the Northside High School Symphonic Band in an upcoming concert.

Mary Lathem, Arts and Entertainment Editor

The cherry blossoms aren’t the only blooms heralding spring in Macon this year. On April 4, Mercer’s Wind Ensemble will team up with the Northside High School Symphonic Band to perform “Musical Flowers of Spring,” its annual spring concert. The concert will take place at Northside High School’s auditorium in Warner Robins.

Dr. Douglas Hill, Director of Instrumental Ensembles and conductor of the Mercer Wind Ensemble, said that the instrumentation of Wind Ensemble sets it apart from larger groups.

“The Wind Ensemble features all of the various wind and percussion instruments, and it is the only ensemble [at Mercer] that . . . puts all of these sections together,” Hill said.

The 41-piece Wind Ensemble is made up of both Music majors and non-majors, drawing students from every undergraduate school and college at Mercer. As one of the Townsend School of Music’s most academically diverse ensembles, Hill estimates that around 40 percent of the ensemble’s members are majoring in subject areas other than music.

The Northside High School Symphonic Band will begin the concert with a set of pieces under the direction of conductor Chuck Herron, followed by Mercer’s program.

Hill said that one of the most notable pieces on the program will be the third movement of “The Three Embraces,” a piece written by University of Colorado-Boulder faculty member Carter Pann that will conclude the concert.

“The final piece on the program [‘The Three Embraces’] was written for a friend of mine, [Allan] McMurray,” Hill said. “It’s just a very interesting piece.”

McMurray is a retired University of Colorado faculty member who served as the school’s director of bands for 35 years.

In a program note provided by the composer, Pann said, “In describing this piece to Allan at the beginning of rehearsals, I made a quip that I now find quite apt: A chance encounter between Schubert and Stravinsky on the Appalachian Trail.”

Hill is also looking forward to two pieces on the program that incorporate student solos.

Lilly Mauti, a junior flutist, will perform the piccolo solo as part of the first movement of composer Eric Ewanzen’s “On Wings of Song,” “Over Distant Murmuring Waves.” In a program note provided by Ewanzen, the movement is described as “somewhat mysterious” and a “lilting waltz.”

Second year graduate student Jeremiah Kersting will also perform a solo during the concert. “Manhattan,” a piece for wind ensemble and solo trumpet composed by Philip Sparke, was commissioned by the United States Army Band for a performance in Carnegie Hall. Mercer’s Wind Ensemble will perform the first movement of the work, “Saturday Serenade.”

“Musical Flowers of Spring” will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Northside High School. The event is free and open to the public. For more information about the concert and other Townsend School of Music events, visit the school’s website at