Studies in Organ Performance & Church Music

McCorkle Building at Night

One of the fastest-growing organ departments in the country

Since Jack Mitchener’s arrival at Mercer, the number of organ majors has grown exponentially! This is an exciting time for both undergraduate and graduate organists at Mercer!

A Master Teacher

Dr. Jack MitDr. Mitchenerchener, Professor of Organ, University Organist and Director of the Townsend-McAfee Institute of Church Music is a national leader in the organ field. He is an award-winning teacher and performer who is wholeheartedly committed to his students. Many of his former students have won prestigious competitions and are now full-time professors, church musicians, and performers throughout the world. He is a positive and encouraging teacher, but also has high standards for performance and academics. He fosters a nurturing environment in which students feel a strong sense of community. He promotes a rigorous course of study, yet strives to help students grow and develop.

A conservatory atmosphere within a university

The Townsend School of Music offers our students a high-level conservatory experience including a vast array of courses in music history, theory, organ history and literature, service playing, improvisation, secondary instruction in voice, piano, harpsichord, choral conducting, etc. Organ majors have the opportunity to collaborate with the outstanding students in the McDuffie Center for Strings and to sing in the acclaimed Mercer Singers, the top choral ensemble on campus. This group provides organ students with invaluable vocal experience and helps to prepare them for church work. The ensemble performs often and has regular tours. They are featured on a nationally-broadcast PBS program, A Grand Mercer Christmas.

Liberal ArtsMcCorkle Building Daytime

Our students also have the opportunity to choose from many excellent academic courses in the liberal arts.  And we offer the enjoyment of many extra-curricular activities that one expects from a comprehensive university.

Degrees (double majors and double degree programs are possible)

Bachelor of Music in Performance

Bachelor of Music in Performance with Elective Studies in an Outside Field

Bachelor of Music Education

Bachelor of Arts in Music

Master of Music in Performance

(“Emphasis in Church Music” can be added by taking six additional credits in church music)

Master of Music in Church Music

Artist Diploma

Audition Requirements

Undergraduate

  • Three pieces in contrasting styles (preferably one major free work of J.S. Bach, plus two pieces from the 19th – 21st centuries). 
  • Prepare a hymn (include introduction and two stanzas, the last of which should include a re-harmonization)
  • Sight read a hymn

GraduatDr. Mitchener with Studente

MM in Performance

  • Three pieces in contrasting styles (one major free work of J.S. Bach, plus two pieces from the 19th – 21st centuries). 
  • Prepare a hymn (include introduction and two stanzas, the last of which should include a re-harmonization)
  • Sight read hymns
  • Additional sight-reading is possible

MM in Church Music

  • Two pieces in contrasting styles, one of which should be based on a chorale or hymn.
  • Prepare a hymn (include introduction and two stanzas, the last of which should include a re-harmonization)
  • Sight read a hymn

Artist Diploma

  •   • A recital of approximately 30-45 minutes including four pieces in contrasting styles (one major pre-Bach work, one major free work of J.S. Bach, plus two pieces from the 19th – 21st centuries).  The level of difficulty of the repertoire (both musical and technical) will be taken into consideration.

          • Sight read at least two hymns

          • Additional sight-reading is possible

Instruments

Organs oOrgan in Newton Chapeln campus include Holtkamp, Noack, Richards & Fowkes, and a recent acquisition: a Gonzalez studio organ built in Paris in 1953 and reconstructed by Robert Martin of Marseille in 2012 (donated to Mercer by Michel Snethlage on behalf of the estate of Jacqueline and Giuseppe Englert, the daughter and son-in-law of celebrated French organist André Marchal).  Other local instruments by Casavant, Fisk, Schlicker, and Skinner/Möller are used regularly for lessons and performances.  The harpsichords in the Townsend School of Music include instruments by Hubbard and Kingston.  Mercer is an all-Steinway School, so all of our pianos represent the high quality of Steinway. 

Contact Dr. Mitchener directly with questions: mitchener_je@mercer.edu.

For a PDF of the organ department brochure, please click here. Organ Brochure

Discover Townsend • music.mercer.edu • (478) 301-5751