World class orchestra coming to Macon
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — According to Mercer University and Peyton Anderson Foundation, a world class orchestra is coming to Macon this fall.
It will be called the Macon Mercer Symphony, and the group will include Robert McDuffie Center for Strings. Organizers will have 13 members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra come to mentor the center’s students.
“In my opinion it will be the best orchestra in the country,” said founder of Mercer’s McDuffie Center for Strings Robert McDuffie.
The Macon native says after becoming a world renowned violist, it’s time to pay it forward to Macon’s music community and Macon music legends.
“We owe it to Otis. We owe it to Greg and Duane Allman. We owe it to Chuck O’Dell. We owe it to Little Richard. We owe it to Mike Mills and Bill Berry who left Macon to form REM. We can’t just be good, we have to be great””
Violinist Virgil Moore says growing up as the only black kid in the orchestra in Virginia, made it difficult to connect to others. Moore says once he attended the McDuffie Center, his love for music heightened, and he found people who shared the same interest.
As black man interested in a predominantly white-based genre of music, he says Mercer demonstrates inclusiveness.
“I think the center does a good job of trying to create an inclusive atmosphere in the center,” said Moore. “I believe they will continue to do that with this partnership, and we will be able to play more pieces by minority composers and broaden the repertoire.”
“We’re not just going to play dead white European male composers, we’re going to do it but we’re not going to punish an audience but we are going to connect to all of Macon,” said McDuffie.
According to McDuffie, the symphony will perform four concerts a year. He says for opening night, Macon artist Bob Lennon will perform with students from the Otis Redding Foundation.
“We are so excited the kids are just ecstatic to be able to perform their original numbers as well as to work with the symphony and the strings,” said Vice president and executive director for Otis Redding Foundation Karla Redding Andrews.