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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021

Upcoming Mercer Orchestra concert to feature a “classic and a zinger”

Students and faculty from Mercer’s Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and the Townsend School of Music have been preparing for a full-length Mercer Orchestra concert over the course of the Fall semester. The concert will take place on Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the McCorkle Music Building in Fickling Hall.

Admission is free and open to the public.

“This is the first full concert of the school year by the Mercer University Orchestra,” said Amy Moretti, director of the McDuffie Center for Strings, in an email.

The orchestra is made up of 21 string students from the McDuffie Center for Strings with 10 violinists, six violists, five cellists and two bass players.

“It's such a pleasure to hear these students perform because it is at such a high level. They get beyond the composers' notes on the page and make the music speak,” Moretti said. “Their concerts are always highlights on the calendar of events.”

The concert will be about an hour in length and will feature Felix Mendelssohn's “String Symphony No. 11 in F Major” and Mozart's “Divertimento in D Major.”

“Both of these works are full of energy and life, and I know that all of us string students will have a wonderful time performing it,” said Mary Grace Bender, a junior studying cello performance at the Center for Strings.

Bender has been studying the cello since she was six years old after receiving the instrument as a Christmas present.

Bender said to expect “[high]-energy music that will put you in a wonderful mood” at the upcoming concert.

“We’ve got a classic and a zinger,” said Reed Tucker, a senior double bass performance major at the Center for Strings who will be playing as part of the orchestra, in an email. “It's [going to] be an awesome concert.”

According to Tucker, the beauty of Mozart is that his compositions are timeless. He said Mozart's unique sound derived from his opera tradition.

“[Mozart's Divertimento] is essentially a collection of opera scenes for string orchestra, but in this opera, the listeners are given license to write the plot and the lyrics themselves,” Tucker said.

Under the directorship of conductor Ward Stare, the student instrumentalists have prepared over the past few months during his planned visits to Mercer.

Throughout most of the year, Stare serves as the music director of the Rochester, New York-based Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

He is an award-winning conductor and has been described as “a rising star in the conducting firmament" by the Chicago Tribune.

“I'm excited to share some of the most perfect music ever written,” said Tucker. “This is about as close a spiritual connection that one can [get] with people who lived in the 18th and 19th centuries.”

For more information, refer to the Townsend School of Music website at or the official website of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at


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