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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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Internationally Renowned Opera Singer Denyce Graves to Host ‘Christmas at Belmont’

Show to air nationwide on PBS in December

Denyce Graves, Feb. 2013

Graves joined the School of Music in February for the Celebration of Unity concert.

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.

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Belmont University Sponsors Music City Roots on NPT

Artists with Belmont connections who played Music City Roots in January 2012 included The Westbound Rangers, Leah Korbin, Shirock, Kopecky Family Band and the Apache Relay.

Artists with Belmont connections who played Music City Roots in January 2012 included The Westbound Rangers, Leah Korbin, Shirock, Kopecky Family Band and the Apache Relay. [Photo by Donnie Hedden]

Belmont University is proud to serve as a lead sponsor of the inaugural televised series of “Music City Roots: Live from The Loveless Cafe,” which will premiere on its hometown station, Nashville Public Television, on Fri., Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. Central. Soon thereafter, the 13-episode series, distributed by American Public Television, will debut in tens of millions of homes, having received commitments from markets covering over 60 percent of all U.S. households, including WNET in New York, WGBH in Boston, plus stations in Los Angeles, Austin and over 75 other markets. New markets will be added every month.

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.”

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Internationally-Acclaimed Opera Singer Denyce Graves Shares Her Story

On Feb. 13 internationally acclaimed opera singer Denyce Graves sat down in the Massey Performing Arts Center for a conversation with longtime journalist Harry Chapman, who now serves as Belmont’s director of development and major gifts. Graves, who will be performing at the McAfee Concert Hall with various School of Music ensembles tonight, discussed her personal story.

Graves spoke with Harry Chapman before a crowded MPAC.

Graves described her entire career as being her “mother’s fault.” She explained that each week her mother assigned her and her siblings a new activity. “One week would be sewing, next week would be something else.”

Eventually, her mother realized the potential of her children and formed the Inspirational Children of God, and the musical group would perform at the family’s local church. However, it wasn’t until Denyce’s brother, the lead singer, became ill that she reluctantly took his spot in the group.

“My mother pushed me onto the stage, and at that point, you can’t really say no,” she recalled. From then on, Graves’s passion for music flourished as she continued to sing for the church. She fondly remembers the church as her “first audience” and “nourishing ground.”

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