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Townsend Organist/Professor Receives Rave Review for New CD Release


July 30, 2007

Denise Cook
(478) 301-2933

MACON Mercer University organist Dr. Robert W. Parris, the Charles B. Thompson professor of music, Townsend School of Music of Mercer, has recently received critical acclaim for his new CD release on the Loft Recordings label. The review by The American Organist magazine stated, “[Parris] is a solid, no-nonsense performer whose playing is characterized by vitality, clarity, rhythmic freedom and stability, lyricism, and stylistic integrity.” The American Organist is “published monthly by the American Guild of Organists and is the mostly widely read journal devoted to organ and choral music in the world,” according to its Web site.

Parris’ album, entitled “Land of Rest,” is available on Loft Recordings’ Gothic Catalog Web site (, and is described as “a varied selection of works particularly suited to the new C. B. Fisk organ in Macon, Ga. The program showcases the Fisk brand of eclecticism in a large two manual organ.” The recording includes works by Buxtehude, Bach, Franck and the title track, the Prelude on “Land of Rest” by Leo Sowerby, among others.

Parris recorded the album on the Fisk organ at Macon’s Christ Church. “In addition to teaching at Mercer, I am the organist for the church, and I do a lot of Mercer teaching there. We installed the new organ in 2000 as part of the church’s 10-year restoration effort. It is a spectacular organ, and I wanted to introduce the instrument to the world,” Parris said. This release was the first recording on the organ. “I wanted to record pieces that really show what the instrument can do best,” he added.

Land of Rest” is Parris’ third album release and his first for the Loft Recordings label. “I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to do this recording and very pleased that the reviewer liked it,” he said. He said that he has other recordings planned for the Fisk organ also. In addition to the Loft Recordings Web site, “Land of Rest” is available at the Christ Church office.

Parris was featured recitalist at Disney Hall during the 2004 American Guild of Organists convention in Los Angeles. A native of Virginia, he received his bachelor of music degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees as well as the performer's certificate in organ from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester. At Mercer, Parris teaches organ and harpsichord, as well as courses in both music history and music theory at graduate and undergraduate levels, often centering around the Renaissance and Baroque eras. In addition to music, he is active in the area of interdisciplinary studies, specializing in courses that integrate, compare and contrast various forms of artistic expression.  

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit