The holidays have arrived at Mercer, ushered in by “A Grand Mercer Christmas” concert event Tuesday night that showcased an array of Townsend School of Music faculty and students. The program of classics, carols and newly commissioned works was performed at The Grand Opera House to a capacity audience that joined in singing the opening and closing songs. The 2012 edition of the annual concert will be recorded for national broadcast on PBS stations in 2013. Save the date of Nov. 30, 2012, to be part of the audience for this exciting event that will shine a national spotlight on Mercer’s signature School of Music.
Holiday concerts continue this month with four family-friendly programs that span sacred and secular music. The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, a long-standing traditional welcome of the Christmas season on the Macon campus, will be performed on Friday, Dec. 9, and Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Newton Chapel. This year, the Mercer Singers perform with organist Michael McGhee from Wesleyan College in the service that weaves hymns and readings from the Bible to tell the story of Jesus’ birth. Dr. Stanley L. Roberts, associate dean of Townsend School of Music and the Arthur Lowndes Rich Professor of Choral Conducting, will conduct the program. Admission is $5 at the door or free with your Bear Card. For more information call (478) 301-5751.
The Mercer-Macon Symphony Youth Orchestra and Mercer University Children’s Choirs — the Touring Choir and Cantiamo Choir — will unite for a festive, family-friendly concert featuring Christmas favorites on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the Henry Tift Auditorium on the campus of Stratford Academy, 6010 Peake Road in Macon. The concert is open to the public and appropriate for all ages. Admission is $5 per person or $20 per family of four or more. Townsend School of Music Assistant Professor of Voice Dr. Richard Kosowski will co-conduct the program of Christmas music with Amy Wilson, conductor of the Mercer/Macon Symphony Youth Orchestra and apprentice conductor of the Macon Symphony Orchestra. The combined group includes many of the best young musicians from public and private elementary, middle and high schools from a dozen different counties throughout Central Georgia.
Dr. John Dickson, dean of Townsend, conducts the Choral Society of Middle Georgia’s annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah” in historic St. Joseph Catholic Church on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. The 70-voice community choir will perform with select soloists and a chamber orchestra of professionals and students from the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings. Tickets are $12 for students, $15 for adults. For reservations or for more information call (478) 301-4262.
The final Christmas music event features the Mercer University Children’s Choirs in their annual Christmas Concert, Sing and Rejoice, on Friday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary of St. Joseph Catholic Church. Dr. Kosowski and Marti Parker conduct the combined choirs.. “This concert is built around a joyous selection of songs in celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons,” Dr. Kosowski said. “Accompanied by organ, harp, flute, piano and string quartet, the audience will hear both traditional and twenty-first century music written specifically for children’s voices.” The event is free and open to the public. A suggested donation of $10 per person will serve to support the Mercer University Children’s Chorus Scholarship Fund. Donations will be accepted at the door. For more information call (478) 301-5751.
The Grand Opera House chimes in on the seasonal theme with two holiday favorites. Learn how angels get their wings with the national touring production of “Miracle On 34th Street” on Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 7:30 p.m. Little Virginia goes from doubt to delight in this heartwarming story about the power of believing in miracles. Tickets are $28 for students, $36 for adults.
John Berry returns to The Grand for his highly anticipated Christmas concert, Return to Bethlehem, on Thursday, Dec. 22, at 7:30 p.m. This concert has become an annual tradition with Berry’s classic hits as well as Christmas favorites. The singer/songwriter has one of the most powerful and distinctive voices in country music. Berry has released multiple gold and platinum albums and received nominations from the Grammy Awards, the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. Tickets are $32. For tickets or more information about either event at The Grand, call (478) 301-5470 or visit TheGrandMacon.com.