Macon has an awesome musical history, but we are not doing badly in the present either. The blockbuster news in October is the upcoming release of the new CD by Mike Mills, Robert McDuffie and Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music’s McDuffie Center for Strings Ensemble.
“Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra” was composed by R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills and will be released Oct. 14, although we can order it in advance on Amazon.com. Local folk who attended McDuffie’s Labor Day Concert heard several selections from the album.
McDuffie and Mills already have performed the piece at the Aspen Music Festival and in Rome, Italy. Beginning Oct. 20, they’ll take it on tour with Chicago’s Fifth House Ensemble, including stops in Macon, Athens, Atlanta and a dozen other cities around the country.
How did this unusual pairing occur? According to the news release, it all started back when Mills’ parents were in the choir at First Presbyterian Church and McDuffie’s mom was the choir director.
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Speaking of Susan McDuffie, that multi-talented parent will be the lead-off talent when the Third Thursday Organ Interludes resume at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Oct. 20. Those 30-minute concerts offer a sure-fire way to gain a bit of serenity in the midst of a busy day.
Coming up Thursday at Wesleyan College is a performance by the Verona Quartet in the Burden Parlor, an ideal setting for chamber music. The concert will open the Macon Concert Association’s 2016-17 season.
Further along, the popular Ward Stare will lead the Mercer University Orchestra in concert on Oct. 19.
The college theater programs are now making their presence felt on local stages, joining with the community groups, the Grand Opera House, and a couple of must-see shows in Atlanta — the result is more theater than we can ever hope to attend.
At Georgia College and State University, this is the final weekend to see Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and that classic will be followed by the Backlot Players’ “Arsenic and Old Lace.” Meanwhile, the Grand Opera House is hosting “Fame,” and Wesleyan College is presenting “Bocon!” (“Big Mouth”), directed by Frazier Lively and said to be a fable for all ages.
Meanwhile, a hour to the north, the Theatrical Outfit, famous for theater that stirs the soul, is presenting “Thurgood,” the story of the first black Supreme Court Justice, through Oct. 16.
Contact Larry Fennelly at LarryFennelly@avantguild.com.