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Basketball Team and String Students to Study in Master Class with St. Lawrence String Quartet Oct. 18

October 13, 2010

Media Contact:
Billie Rampley
(478) 301-2933

MACON – The nationally renowned St. Lawrence String Quartet will perform a concert at Mercer University on Oct. 19, but before they do, the group will be coaching and teaching the Mercer men’s basketball team and students from the Center for Strings on Oct. 18 in a master class at 4 p.m. in Fickling Hall of the McCorkle Music Building. From teamwork to visual cues and timing, the quartet will show the similarities between athletics and music, and help both groups to succeed by learning from each other.

The master class is free and open to the public and the media. The concert, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the McCorkle Music Building’s Neva Langley Fickling Hall, is $10 for the public and free with a Mercer ID. Tickets can be purchased through Mercer Ticket Sales at (478) 301-5470 or online at

“The Center for Strings is so jazzed to take part in this first-of-its-kind collaboration with the Mercer basketball team. We are excited about the learning opportunities for both programs,” said Bobby McDuffie, founder of the McDuffie Center for Strings and Mansfield and Genelle Jennings Distinguished University Chair in Music. “There are more similarities between team sports and string quartets than one might think. Knowing when to take your shot is equivalent as to who has the melody. Using discretion when to play softly and knowing when to pass the ball. Checking your ego at the door because we are all in it together for a greater purpose applies across both disciplines.”

“Throughout many years of coaching at different levels, I have found that in order for our players to improve they need to work hard, remain focused, stress teamwork and learn from others,” Mercer men’s head basketball coach Bob Hoffman said.  “What a great opportunity this is for our guys to cross-train with the wonderfully-talented musicians from the St. Lawrence String Quartet. I think we will be somewhat surprised at how basketball and music have many similar components in leading to success, whether it is on the basketball court or in the concert hall.”

The St. Lawrence String Quartet has established itself among the world-class chamber ensembles of its generation. Members of the quartet include Geoff Nuttall, violin; Scott St. John, violin; Lesley Robertson, viola; and Christopher Costanza, cello. Their mission is to bring every piece of music to the audience in vivid color, with pronounced communication and teamwork, and great respect to the composer. Since winning both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1992, the quartet has delighted audiences with its spontaneous, passionate, and dynamic performances. Alex Ross of The New Yorker magazine writes, “the St. Lawrence are remarkable not simply for the quality of their music making, exalted as it is, but for the joy they take in the act of connection.”

About Townsend School of Music
Mercer is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music. Mercer’s Townsend School of Music and the Townsend-McAfee Institute for Graduate Studies in Church Music offer undergraduate and graduate professional music studies in a comprehensive university environment. The School is nationally recognized for its outstanding faculty, award-winning students, performance ensembles and state-of-the-art facilities and is home to the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings.
About Mercer University

Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,000 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit