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.
The School of Music honored alumnus Danny Wells (’83) with the Curtain Call Award on Thursday evening. During the ceremony, Wells performed a few selections from his significant songwriting catalog. The Curtain Call Award is presented annually to a School of Music alumnus in honor of achievement in the field of commercial and popular music.
“Wells was chosen because of his outstanding achievement in songwriting. Some of his number one hits include George Strait’s ‘Check Yes or No,’ Rascal Flatts’ ‘These Days’ and Craig Morgan’s ‘Little Bit of Life.’ He is a member of BMI’s ultra-exclusive Million-Air Club and has written songs for a long list of artists,” Belmont School of Music Assistant Professor Sandra Dudley said.
Show to air nationwide on PBS in December
Hosted by internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves and taped at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, nearly 700 student musicians join the Belmont School of Music faculty and the Nashville Children’s Choir later this month for the taping of “Christmas at Belmont.” The annual production of traditional carols, classical masterworks, world music and light-hearted seasonal favorites, produced by Nashville Public Television (NPT), will premiere on NPT on Thurs., Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. Central followed by the PBS premiere on December 20 at 9 p.m. Central, with an encore broadcast Christmas Eve at 7 p.m. Central. This is the 11th consecutive year “Christmas at Belmont” has been seen by a national audience on PBS.
This year’s edition of “Christmas at Belmont” features the University Symphony Orchestra, Belmont Chorale, Percussion Ensemble, Musical Theatre, Jazz Ensemble and Bluegrass Ensemble, as well as mass choir. The performance includes both classic sacred holiday music such as “The First Noel” and “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen,” as well as festive seasonal songs such as “Carol of the Bells” and “We Need a Little Christmas,” to name a few.
This historic premiere answers the prayers of generations of Nashville artists, producers, business people and civic leaders for a national television showcase for the diverse artistry happening in Nashville, beyond the well-publicized country music industry. Launched and run as a live radio show with a focus on artistry and community, Music City Roots celebrates the diversity and dynamism of the new Nashville and the national revival of folk and roots music.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “When Board Trustee Eugenia Winwood suggested partnering with Music City Roots, her enthusiasm was inspiring. Belmont University has a long history in the music industry and as ‘Nashville’s University,’ we’re proud to show our support for the unique and unparalleled talent of Music City.”