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GPB and Mercer University are excited to present “A Grand Mercer Christmas,” a one-hour television special being made available to PBS stations across the nation during the 2013 holiday season. Recorded in Macon’s historic Grand Opera House, the program will premiere on GPB, Tuesday, December 17 at 8 p.m. Acclaimed violinist, Grammy®-nominee, Macon native and Center for Strings founder Robert McDuffie serves as master of ceremonies for the program, which features two internationally acclaimed ensembles: the students and faculty of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and the Mercer Singers, conducted by Dr. Stanley L. Roberts.

The program includes holiday favorites as well as new selections by the Mercer Singers and the MCS Ensemble, including “What Child Is This” and “What Sweeter Music” alongside Matt Catingub’s thrilling “Christmas Medley for Strings” and J.S. Bach’s “Concerto for Two Violins” featuring Center director and former Oregon Symphony Concertmaster Amy Schwartz Moretti and McDuffie along with the MCS Ensemble. The combined chorus and orchestra also premiere two new orchestrations by composer Randol Bass: “Glory to God” and “Exultate Justi”.

Founded as a special institute within Mercer’s Townsend School of Music, enrollment in the McDuffie Center for Strings is limited to 26 students: 12 violinists, six violists, six cellists and two double bassists. The distinguished artists of the McDuffie Center perform, collaborate and record with the finest orchestras, string ensembles and conductors around the world. The Mercer Singers choir has represented the University extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Russia and Japan and performs a wide range of choral music spanning from the Renaissance to works written by composers of our time. “A Grand Mercer Christmas” will encore on GPB, Friday, December 20 at 7 p.m. and Tuesday, December 24 at 7 p.m.