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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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‘In Tune’ Names Belmont a Best Music School

christmas at belmont-413In Tune Magazine has released their Best Music Schools for 2015 and Belmont University’s School of Music is on the list.

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.

 

Alumnus Greg Walter Receives Encore Award

CVPA Dean Dr. Cynthia Curtis (l) and Marjorie Halbert (r) present the Encore Award to alumnus Greg Walter.

CVPA Dean Dr. Cynthia Curtis (l) and Marjorie Halbert (r) present the Encore Award to alumnus Greg Walter.

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).

School of Music Opens 16 New Practice Rooms in McAfee Annex

Dean Curtis and music students at ribbon cutting event.

Dean Curtis and music students at ribbon cutting event.

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.

Alumnus Danny Wells Honored with Curtain Call Award

Wells performing at the Curtain Call award ceremony.

Wells performing at the Curtain Call award ceremony.

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.

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