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20th Annual Commercial Music Showcase Features Students, Alumni

Rayvon Owen

Monday night Belmont’s School of Music presented the 20th annual Commercial Music Showcase in the Massey Performing Arts Center (MPAC). The annual concert features some of the School of Music’s top commercial performers, and this year’s showcase offered 15-minute mini-concerts from senior Nate Faulkner, junior Sarah Margaret Huff, junior Rayvon Owen and senior Cody Fry.

In honor of the showcase’s 20th anniversary, the evening opened with a special performance of “The Living Proof” with appearances by numerous School of Music alumni including C.T. Blackmore (’07), Kory Caudill (’09), Becki Corcoran Ryan (’01), Melinda Doolittle (’99), Chris Gregg (’02 and ’09) and Master of Ceremonies Frank Rains, Jr. (’92). In addition, current students from the commercial music program were involved as arrangers, instrumentalists, background vocalists and crew members for the showcase.

Click here for additional photos from the 2012 Commercial Music Showcase.

Alumnus Tad Wilson Honored with Curtain Call Award

School of Music alumnus Tad Wilson receives the Curtain Call Award Jan. 17.

School of Music alumnus Tad Wilson (’92) received the Curtain Call Award Tuesday night at a concert in his honor. The award is presented annually to a School of Music alumnus in honor of achievement in the field of commercial and popular music.

Sandra Dudley, assistant professor of commercial voice and coordinator of the Curtain Call Award Concert, said, “Tad Wilson is most deserving of this award. His accomplishments since graduation are plentiful and exceptional. He represents the kind of excellence in singing and musicianship that we are promoting here at Belmont.”

A native of Augusta, Ga., Wilson’s Broadway credits include Bonnie and Clyde, Rock of Ages and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. He graduated from Belmont’s School of Music with a degree in Commercial Music Vocal Performance and secured his first professional job as a performer at Opryland USA. Since his professional debut, Wilson has appeared on stages around the country. He has been featured on ABC, TNN, and has performed twice for U.S. Presidents. As an original cast member of the Broadway and Off-Broadway productions of Rock of Ages, he was a part of the 2009 Tony Awards, and has appeared on “The View” and “The Today Show” concert series. He has worked with personalities such as Frank Wildhorn, and Richard Maltby, Jr., sharing the stage with Constantine Maroulis, Trisha Yearwood, Clay Aiken, Larry Gatlin, Hal Holbrook and Maya Angelou, among others.

Previous Curtain Call Award winners include Tim Lauer, Josh Turner, Ginny Owens, Chester Thompson, Jill Phillips, Will Denton, Fleming McWilliams, Melodie Crittenden, Jozef Nuyens, Gordon Mote, Tammy Rogers King, Bernie Herms and Chris Rodriguez.

Belmont Offers Free Christmas Concerts to the Public

Belmont University announces a Christmas gift to the Nashville community with three free concerts that are open to the public, as well as the nationally televised airing of annual holiday music spectacular “Christmas at Belmont.”

The first concert will be on Fri., Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. with the Nashville Children’s Choir’s annual holiday concert at Belmont’s Massey Concert Hall. The Belmont Camerata Musicale will then offer its annual presentation of “A Camerata Christmas,” including a concert of holiday chamber music and a sing-along with Kathy Chiavola on Mon., Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Belmont Mansion on the university campus.

The Christmas Eve Carillon Concert concludes the series on Sat., Dec. 24 at 2 p.m. at the campus Bell Tower, located just off the corner of Belmont Blvd. and Portland Ave. The concert features traditional Christmas music played on the tower’s 42-bell carillon.

Of course, the holiday wouldn’t be complete without the annual “Christmas at Belmont” special, performed in the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. A presentation of this year’s performance will be shown which features nearly 700 students and faculty from the School of Music and will be hosted by country artist and Tony-nominated Broadway star Laura Bell Bundy.

Nashville Public Television [NPT-Channel 8] will air the performance on Thurs., Dec. 22 at 8 p.m. (CST) and will re-broadcast the concert on Christmas Day at 7 p.m. (CST). Check local listings for additional air times.

Laura Bell Bundy to Host Annual ‘Christmas at Belmont’ Holiday Concert on NPT, PBS

Schermerhorn performance to be nationally broadcast starting Dec. 22

Laura Bell Bundy will host the 2011 "Christmas at Belmont" concert.

Hosted by country artist and Tony-nominated Broadway star Laura Bell Bundy, and taped at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tennessee, nearly 700 Belmont University student musicians will join the Belmont School of Music faculty and the Nashville Children¹s Choir for “Christmas at Belmont.” The annual production of traditional carols, classical masterworks, world music and light-hearted seasonal favorites will air on PBS stations nationwide beginning Thursday, December 22. Please check local listings to confirm air dates and times. Nashville Public Television [NPT-Channel 8] will air “Christmas at Belmont” on Thursday, December 22 at 8 p.m. (CST) and re-broadcast the concert on Christmas Day at 7 p.m. (CST).   

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 a mass choir of 600 voices. 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.

“‘Christmas at Belmont’ is an amazing opportunity to showcase Belmont University’s world-class School of Music in front of a national audience,” said Belmont University President Bob Fisher. “We’re incredibly grateful that this partnership with NPT puts our talented students and faculty in living rooms across the country. It’s also an honor to welcome Laura Bell Bundy as host of ‘Christmas at Belmont.’ Her diverse vocal skills as both a Broadway performer and country singer will offer a perfect complement to the variety of our student ensemble performances.”


Quonset Hut Celebration Draws Music Legends

HaroldBradleySpeaksQuonsetHut.jpgNearly three decades after the last notes were played in the historical Quonset Hut recording studio, The Curb Foundation, Belmont University and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame arranged a special celebration Monday night to honor the legacy of the studio as well as the songwriters, musicians, singers, producers and artists that graced its hallowed walls.

The Quonset Hut, which is a large prefabricated metal building, was purchased in the mid-‘50s by legendary producer Owen Bradley and his “A-Team” guitarist brother Harold to add on to the house on 16th Avenue the two had turned into a music studio. Originally intended as a space for video production, the Quonset Hut quickly became a hot spot for music recordings, playing host to sessions by Buddy Holly, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Marty Robbins, Bob Dylan, Dusty Springfield and Brenda Lee, among hundreds of others.

In a 2005 interview with Tennessean reporter Peter Cooper, Merle Haggard said, “It was impossible for me not to be aware of the history of the place when I was recording there in the 1970s. When I walked in there, I always realized, ‘Hey, this is where they cut ‘I Fall to Pieces.’ If you’re at all interested in country music, you know about the Quonset Hut.”

RayStevensHaroldBradley.jpgAfter 25 years of churning out hit songs in the country, pop and rock genres, the Quonset Hut doors were shut in 1982, and eventually the building was used for office and storage space. Recognizing its significant historical status, Mike Curb acquired the building in 2005 and had the studio restored back into a recording facility. Belmont University now operates the Quonset Hut for teaching, sessions and events, so music is once again ringing inside its walls.

On Mon., June 27, many of the people who helped create history in this great studio gathered once again in the room where so many hits were made, trading songs and stories as part of the re-opening celebration. Harold Bradley, Whispering Bill Anderson, Little Jimmy Dickens, Ray Stevens, Charlie McCoy, Jim Glaser, David Frizzell, Beckie Foster, Norbert Putnam, Steve Gibson, Ray Edenton and Glenn Snoddy were among those who participated in the evening. Click here to see additional photos from the Quonset Hut celebration.

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