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New Macon-Mercer Symphony Orchestra is preparing to perform for the first-time this fall

Now, 26 Mercer University students have the opportunity to work with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

MACON, Ga. — A $300,000 grant from the Peyton Anderson Foundation is helping jumpstart the new Macon-Mercer Symphony Orchestra.

Now, 26 students have the opportunity to work with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

In 2017, Macon's last symphony orchestra shut down. However, on Thursday, Mercer University and the Peyton Anderson Foundation announced the return of symphony music to Central Georgia.

Mercer University Musician Seido Karasaki said, "As a strings player, I think it is an extraordinary opportunity for us."

Karasaki moved from California to play classical music a few years back.

Now, thanks to that leap of faith, he has the opportunity to play with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Karasaki also said, "I can confidentially say I haven't heard of any opportunity like this for any other music student in the country."

Amy Schwartz Moretti, Director of the McDuffie Center for Strings, says this is something for all of Macon, not just Mercer students.

"I think we will all make this orchestra not your regular run of the mill orchestra," said Moretti. "It really is going to be special and something we can all be proud of."

Mercer University says the Macon-Mercer Symphony Orchestra would not be possible if it weren't for internationally-renowned violinist Robert McDuffie.

McDuffie said, "Our product has got to be commensurate with the groundbreaking musical heritage of Macon. If we don't do that, we fail."

McDuffie also says they owe it to the pioneers, the students, and even the community to make it a success.

"Macon has a beautiful music history, doesn't have a great racial history, but we are going to comfort that with music," said McDuffie.

While there isn't a set date, they hope to hold their first concert this fall.

Once they start performing, they plan to have four concerts a year, each on Monday nights. 

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