Fennelly: New year brings exciting changes in local arts scene

December 27, 2013 

December has been an exceptionally fine month, so readers could be forgiven if they lower their expectations for January -- but don’t do it. Still more amazing events are on the horizon.

For starters, the McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University is going to do its part for historic preservation by occupying the handsome Bell House at 315 College St. The ground floor of this 1860 structure will become an intimate recital space, with the first concert slated for Feb. 24.

Later in 2014, the Mercer theater department will begin a new era as it too relocates to College Street, in this case to the former Presbyterian church at the corner of College and Oglethorpe streets.

The Macon Symphony Orchestra’s impressive youth development efforts will continue in the New Year. Especially to be looked forward to is the continued collaboration between the Macon Symphony Youth Orchestra and Beulahland Bible Church. Earlier this month, the MSYO teamed up with the youth music groups at that large urban church, and the result was a Christmas concert that had the audience alternating between shouts and tears.

I’m thinking next year the Macon Symphony’s audience development folks ought to be on hand with vouchers good for one free ticket to hear the MSO in its annual subscription series. Much good would accrue to our community with a broader spectrum of involvement.

Speaking of the symphony, the MSO’s annual January Pops -- featuring music of the Eagles -- is happening Jan. 18, while Macon’s newest orchestra -- actually named the Macon Pops -- will be presenting its third concert March 1.

Friends of the Library

If winter comes, the Friends of the Library’s Old Book Sale can’t be far behind, and this year the event will return to its former home in Central City Park during the last week of February.

The profits from the giant book sale and the literacy-boosting efforts of the group do much to keep Macon’s libraries flourishing. While the midstate is brimming with worthy organizations, none I think are more important to the educational and cultural life of the community than the FOL. The membership year ends Tuesday, so let me suggest that this is a great time to join. Dues are a mere $25 and volunteers are both welcome and needed.

Contact Larry Fennelly at LarryFennelly@avantguild.com.

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