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Belmont Alumni Wow on Idol, Perform Together as Blvd

Belmont alumni Rayvon Owen, Cody Fry, KellyeAnn Rodgers and Piper Jones are competing on American Idol’s 14th season and last night, the four performed together in the group round as Blvd. “The really awesome thing is, we all went to college together. We’re all buddies – Belmont University!” Jones said.

Blvd performed their rendition of Idol star Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone,” earning high remarks from the judging panel. “It was so smart to sing that song… Really impressive… That was my favorite one today,” said Idol judge and musician Harry Connick, Jr.

Following their performance, judge Jennifer Lopez wasted no time letting Blvd know they were safe. “I’ll just keep it very short, all of you are going through to the next round,” she said.

Once safe and off stage, Fry was grateful for the opportunity to perform with his friends and fellow Belmont students. “We all went to school together, and it was a once in a lifetime musical experience to be up on that world stage, just singing with some of my best friends.”

Tune into FOX next week to watch the contestants move forward in their Idol journeys.

Schedule of Events Unveiled for Homecoming 2015, Feb. 26-28

homecoming 2014-172Belmont University invites alumni, friends and family to attend Homecoming 2015 Feb. 26-28 for a variety of special events. The celebration, centered on the theme “Destination Belmont,” will feature the first Bruin Spirit Walk, two basketball games, a campus-wide canned food drive supporting Second Harvest Food Bank, a homecoming concert and a pep rally and bonfire. For a complete list of all Belmont Homecoming 2015 events and an opportunity to register, click here.

Julie Thomas, associate director of Alumni Relations, said, “Homecoming at Belmont University continues to grow into a true celebration of university life, and Homecoming 2015 is no exception. We view our alumni as part of our extended family, and we hope they will come home to experience the music, art, sports and friendships reminiscent of their time at Belmont. To quote the author John Ed Pearce, ‘Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave and grow old wanting to get back to.’ It’s time to come home and fall in love with Belmont all over again.” (more…)

Belmont Alumni Create The Escape Game, Challenge Nashville to Adventure

escape game-110Belmont alumni Jonathan and Moriah Murrell have launched The Escape Game Nashville, an entertainment concept that challenges participants to use a series of clues and escape from one of four predesigned rooms in less than 60 minutes.

The first of its kind in this region, The Escape Game was inspired after the concept began to take flight in a number of countries. Seeing only the online version locally, Moriah said she and Jonathan, with three other partners, decided to bring the concept to Nashville. Since the pair met in undergrad at Belmont and both studied business and entrepreneurship, they had experience launching and working on start-ups together.

The concept has been a hit with community members of all ages, with many Nashvillians and tourists coming through the door since The Escape Game opened in May 2014. Recently rated as the No. 1 thing to do in Nashville on TripAdvisor, Moriah said she is very proud of the game’s success and is happy to be working on the project with her husband, especially since the creation of a start-up can be so time consuming.

escape game-106She said the greatest thing she has learned since the game’s start would be something that mentor and Belmont entrepreneurship professor Jeff Cornwall has said many times. For a start-up to be successful, “it takes a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck.” Moriah says that couldn’t be more true for The Escape Game Nashville. The couple luckily stumbled upon the idea, but the road since then has been a lot of hard work for the duo and the rest of their team.

When asked for a piece of advice, Moriah said it all comes down to teamwork. “If you ask anyone that’s played, they will say yes – that is true. Work together as a team, and you’ll have a great time.”

For more information or to plan your escape, click here.

Alumnus Geoff Koch Honored with Curtain Call Award

Curtain Call Award-113-L

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.

Alumnus Josh Turner Returns to Belmont for Chapel Presentation

Jjosh turner-108osh 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.”

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