The School of Music honored Commercial Music alumnus Geoff Koch (’94) with the Curtain Call Award on Tuesday evening. The Award is presented annually to a School of Music alumnus in honor of achievement in the field of commercial and popular music. During the ceremony, Koch performed a few selections from his significant songwriting catalog.
After graduating from Belmont, Koch was chosen to be the pianist at the Grand Ole Opry and later went on to perform with acts such as Lorrie Morgan, Restless Heart and The Glen Miller Orchestra. His music has been featured on a range of media, from Saturday Night Live to the National Geographic Channel.
Koch, the owner of Music Row’s Koch Music Productions, serves as the current president of the Nashville Composers Association and is on the board of Film-Com, the world’s largest completion and distribution market for film and TV.
Josh Turner, Belmont alumnus and double-platinum selling country music artist, returned to campus on Wednesday to speak to a packed auditorium of students, faculty and staff. With his most recent single released on iTunes and a new album coming out in Spring 2015, Turner spent his time discussing his hit “Long Black Train,” his family, his faith and his love for Belmont.
During his time at the University, Turner reflected on a walk he took from the Lila D. Bunch library to Hillside, his on-campus apartment at the time. During his walk, he was struck with the idea of a long train and the temptation to hop aboard. The inspiration turned into a night of writing, where he created three of the hit’s verses, as well as the chorus. The next day, he wrote the fourth and final verse. “Long Black Train” would become the song that landed Turner his first record deal.
Throughout his career, Turner said the song has changed lives and pulled people out of very bleak places. It is these stories that continue to remind him of his calling to write and sing country music. He said he feels “obligated to go out there and use the talent God has given me to change people’s lives for the better… The Lord gave me this song, he’s been using it and I think he’s going to continue to use it.”
The Belmont University School of Music presented the 2014 Encore Award Thursday evening to actor/singer/songwriter Greg Walter during a concert in his honor. The Encore Award was created in 2008 to honor a Belmont University School of Music alumnus for achievement in the field of classical music. Walter graduated from the Belmont School of Music in 1987 as a Presser Scholar. While at Belmont, he studied classical voice under Associate Professor of Voice Marjorie Halbert.
Walter was an original cast member of Chicago’s company of “Forever Plaid” for which he received a Joseph Jefferson award in the best ensemble category. He was also nominated for a Jeff award, which celebrates excellence in Chicago theatre, for best actor in Frank McCourt’s The Irish and How They Got That Way, for which he also music directed. His voice can also be heard in commercial jingles for Michelob and Trac Auto. His songs have been recorded by various cabaret singers in Chicago, and his vocal arrangement of “Down in the River to Pray,” performed by the Chicago Chamber Choir, can be found on the disc recording At the River.
Walter is currently a professor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he teaches voice and serves as musical director.
Previous Encore Award honorees include Clifton Forbis (2008), Daniel Weeks (2009), Drs. Daniel and Sharon Lawhon (2010), Maestra Teresa Cheung (2011), Dr. Alfredo Colman (2012) and Travis Cottrell (2013).
While working at local app development company Aloompa, Belmont senior Bryn Bodayle partnered with photographer Jeremy Cowart as the primary IOS developer for OKDOTHIS, an iOS app that provides an idea community for photography. The app has been steadily climbing the Apple App Store charts since its launch in late November. Aloompa, which was co-founded by two Belmont alumni, specializes in mobile apps for music, food, conference and community events.
OKDOTHIS allows users to share both their favorite photos and the creative ideas (“DOs”) that led to it. Users can connect with other photographers, become inspired by their DOs, and watch as their DOs spark the creativity of others. Recent examples of inspiring “DOs”include “Use car headlights to light a subject” and “Show off a piece of art that a friend made.”
“It has been great to work on an app of such scale and potential. It’s been incredibly rewarding to see how users have used the app as a creative tool,” Bodayle said. “It’s really a new kind of social network, and I’m excited to see it continue to grow.”
The Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, alongside industry partner ASCAP, honored alumna Carla Wallace as the fifth recipient of the Music City Milestone Award (MCMA). The MCMA celebrates Belmont’s connection with Music Row while also recognizing a Belmont graduate who has achieved truly superlative success in the entertainment and music industries early in their career.
Co-owner and general manager of Big Yellow Dog Music, an independent music publishing company based in Nashville, Wallace graduated from Belmont with a B.B.A. in Music Business. Throughout her time at Belmont, Wallace interned at many Music Row publishing companies. She also worked for the public relations department at The Nashville Network (TNN), delivering flyers across Nashville for upcoming concerts and shows, clipping articles that referenced TNN shows and seating the stars for the Viewer’s Choice Awards.