Mercer will hold the dedication of the Townsend School of Music during a special series of events on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26 and 27, in Macon. The annual dinner and luncheon meeting of The President’s Club, one of the University’s top donor recognition clubs, are part of the two days of celebration.
The events will mark the formal dedication of the Townsend School of Music, which was established with a significant gift from Mercer Trustee Carolyn Townsend McAfee and her son, J. Thomas McAfee III, and his wife, Julie Crangle McAfee, to endow the school in 2006. The school is named in honor of Raymond Clay Townsend and Sophia Malin Townsend, the parents of Carolyn Townsend McAfee.
Carolyn Townsend McAfee and her late husband, James T. McAfee Jr., also provided the major gift to the University that established the James and Carolyn McAfeee School of Theology on Mercer's Atlanta campus. Mr. and Mrs. McAfee were also instrumental in establishing the Townsend Institute Graduate Studies in Church Music, which was renamed the Townsend-McAfee Institute for Graduate Church Music Studies.
The dedicatory celebration begins Friday at 7:30 p.m. with a Musical Gala at The Grand Opera House, downtown Macon. The extravaganza will showcase faculty and students of Townsend School of Music and the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, with a special performance by internationally acclaimed violinist and Distinguished University Professor Robert McDuffie. Also performing will be Amy Schwartz Moretti, director of the McDuffie Center and former Concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra; Elizabeth Pridgen, accompanist for the McDuffie Center; Andres Diaz, concert cellist; Marcus Reddick, assistant director of percussion studies and assistant professor of the Townsend School of Music; Brian Hodges, assistant professor of cello at the Townsend School of Music: Emily Odum, Mercer percussion student; Elaine Shin, Mercer cello student; Lavena Johanson, Mercer cello student; Miranda Henne, Mercer cello student; the Mercer Singers, conducted by Interim Dean Stanley L. Roberts; and the McDuffie Center String Orchestra, accompanied by Carol Goff, assistant professor of piano at the Townsend School of Music. A reception will follow the Gala.
At 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, the formal dedication of the School of Music will be held at the First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon, with President William D. Underwood presiding. Alumni, friends, faculty, students, administrators and representative from other universities will be in attendance. The program will have a number of musical arrangements performed by Mercer faculty and students, including University Organist Robert Parris, as well as the Mercer University Children’s Choir, conducted by John E. Simons, associate professor and director of the Townsend-McAfee Institute for Graduate Studies in Church Music; and The Mercer Singers, conducted by Interim Dean Roberts, accompanied on piano by Jennifer Beaver, accompanist for the Mercer Children’s Choir, and organ by Charles Higgs, a Mercer student, and Parris. Chancellor R. Kirby Godsey will give the address. A reception in the Fellowship Hall will follow the dedication.
At noon, members of The President’s Club will hold their annual luncheon meeting at the Armory Ballroom down the street. Stephanie Godsey Shepherd, president of The President’s Club, will preside. John and Leta Wimpey and Bill and Judy Roberts will be recognized for becoming Life Members of The President’s Club, which requires a cumulative gift of at least $100,000 to the University. New officers for 2008 will be elected.