Belmont University celebrates Christmas and announces its Christmas gift to the Nashville community with four free concerts that are open to the public, as well as the televised airing of the annual holiday music spectacular, “Christmas at Belmont.”
The first, the Nashville Children’s Choir performances, will be held on Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. in the McAfee Concert Hall. The Children’s Choir, a premiere youth choir for singers aged 8 – 18, performs renditions of traditional Christmas music.
Belmont Camerata will offer its annual presentation of “A Camerata Christmas,” including a holiday tradition featuring Corelli’s Christmas Concerto and a sing-along with Kathy Chiavola and fiddler Tammy Rogers-King, on Monday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Belmont Mansion.
The University’s Christmas concert series will conclude with the annual Christmas Eve Carillon Concert, held on Wednesday, Dec. 24 at 2 p.m. at the campus Bell Tower, located just off the corner of Belmont Boulevard and Portland Avenue. Continuing a tradition begun during the Ward-Belmont days, the concert features traditional Christmas music played by Professor of Music Richard Shadinger on the tower’s 42-bell carillon, one of five carillons in Tennessee.
Of course, the holiday wouldn’t be complete without the annual “Christmas at Belmont” special. An encore presentation of the December 2013 performance, which featured 700 students, faculty and staff musicians from the School of Music and was hosted by opera singer Denyce Graves, will be shown in Middle Tennessee by Nashville Public Television (NPT-Channel 8) on Friday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. (CST). Check local listings for additional air times.
To watch the 2013 Christmas at Belmont performance online, click here.
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).
On March 17, the School of Music opened 16 new practice rooms in the annex located behind McAfee Concert Hall. These new rooms provide additional practice spaces for over 600 music majors. The rooms have been optimized for sound isolation and sound panels in the rooms lower the decibel levels to meet health and safety expectations.
Previously, all practice rooms were located in the Wilson Music Building or Massey Performing Arts Center. The new location adds variety to practice location options and will be convenient for students with lessons or ensemble rehearsals in McAfee. Later this spring, lockers will be installed and available for rent for student instrument storage.
“Practice is a vital part of any musician’s education, so we are delighted to have these additional new practice rooms on campus. To illustrate the impact of this new space, fully utilized this facility provides almost 1,800 hours of practice time per week for our students,” said Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Dr. Cynthia Curtis.
The spaces are available for practice at the following times:
Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.
For security, a building monitor will be on duty weekdays, beginning at 4 p.m., and on weekend hours as stated above.
With priority registration starting next week, returning students may see some unexpected courses cropping up on the Fall 2014 Classfinder schedule. Next semester Belmont expands its program options with the addition of two new majors that are a perfect fit for future career opportunities in Middle Tennessee: music therapy and publishing.
“A major in music therapy has been a dream for our School of Music faculty for a decade, particularly with our focus on education and nurturing through the arts,” said Associate Dean for Academic Studies Dr. Madeline Bridges. “Add in the healthcare opportunities present in Nashville and the region, and this new program is a perfect fit for Belmont and the broader community.”
The only one of its kind in the state, Belmont’s music therapy program will be rigorous. Students will need a total of 136 hours including the required 41 BELL Core general education hours, 79 music hours, 20 hours of music therapy courses and an additional 13 clinical foundations courses. In addition, the program will require a six-month internship, often outside of Nashville. Once complete, the degree will qualify graduates to sit for the board certification exam.