Belmont University’s School of Music honored acclaimed singer/songwriter/musician Michael W. Smith with the Applause Award at Saturday night’s annual President’s Concert. The Applause Award is the most distinguished award presented by Belmont’s College of Visual and Performing Arts and is given annually to honor those who have made significant contributions to the arts.
College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean Dr. Cynthia Curtis said, “Belmont’s School of Music was delighted to present the 2015 Applause Award to Michael W. Smith, who is both an icon of Contemporary Christian Music and a caring and generous humanitarian. Michael was a perfect choice for this award because he brings a long list of impressive musical achievements, highly admirable examples of community service and, as a Trustee of the University, is a supporter of Belmont! To top all this… his performance for the concert finale was energetic, joyful and simply fun for the entire audience.”
Smith noted, “What an amazing event. I was absolutely blown away at the talent of the kids there at Belmont. It’s hard to put into words what it’s like to see literally hundreds of kids – all with amazing talent – put on a show like that. And to hear them perform my music – – I have to admit to shedding a tear or two. It was a very emotional experience for me. I am so proud of Belmont University. I’m proud to be a Trustee, and I’m proud to recommend Belmont to so many kids that are looking for a great education.”
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.
Belmont University celebrates Christmas and announces its Christmas gift to the Nashville community with a number of free concerts that are open to the public, as well as the televised airing of the annual holiday music spectacular, “Christmas at Belmont.”
The Nashville Children’s Choir performances were held on Dec. 6 and featured the premiere youth choir’s (for singers aged 8 – 18) renditions of traditional Christmas music.
Belmont Camerata offered 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 in the Belmont Mansion.
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.”
In Tune’s Best Music Schools special feature was included in the October 2014 edition of the magazine. In this special report, high school students receive advice from music professors and students who majored in Music on picking a college or university music program that is just right for them.
Belmont alum, Rayvon Owen, is highlighted in the article and shares his thoughts on what makes Belmont a top music program. Owen credits Belmont for enhancing his leadership skills and teaching him how to be prepared and perform (musically and non-musically) in high pressure situations.
“We are incredibly honored to be recognized as one of America’s best schools of music and excited that Belmont University continues to receive applause for the many good things that happen on this campus,” said Cynthia Curtis, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts
In Tune is a classroom magazine for music students, grades 7-12.