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.
Schermerhorn performance to be nationally broadcast starting Dec. 22
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.”
Nearly 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.”
After 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.
Belmont senior and Texas native Jeff Jenkins is excited to sing his way into becoming America’s first “Voice.” After a long audition process, Jenkins will appear in the first round of live performances airing nationally on NBC June 14 with the rest of his teammates.
Hosted by Carson Daly, “The Voice” features four celebrity coaches–Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Maroon 5′s Adam Levine and Blake Shelton–leading their teams in weekly vocal performance contests. Jenkins, a communication studies major and music business minor who has already made it into the show’s Top 16, will compete live on national television Tuesday night with the three other members of Levine’s team and the four members of Cee Lo Green’s team. After the performance America will vote: the contestant with the most number of votes from each team will automatically be safe for the next week; the celebrity coach will then have the opportunity to hand select a second contestant to save from his team.
Although the process has been grueling, Jenkins said he is thankful for his chance to be seen by America, have his talent heard and receive positive response. In fact, the response has been so positive that Entertainment Weekly has already declared Jenkins is the contestant to beat.
“I still don’t realize any of this is real. I’m just Jeff. To have the support in Nashville, where everybody ‘plays and sings’, to have that support – that’s a big deal,” Jenkins said. “This is where I’ve always wanted to be, where I want to be headed and I’m already there.”
The winner of the show will be awarded a $100,000 recording contract with Universal Republic as well as $100,000 cash. If Jenkins wins the “Voice” title, he said he will start a charity to support children with cancer and other illnesses and open a place where “kids can go to just be who they are, normal kids.”
Rising Belmont seniors Andrew Bellisle and Vinay Shroff, both percussionists and students in the university’s School of Music, will represent the United States at the Red Bull Tum Tum Pa World Finals in Rio De Janeiro June 8-12 after winning local and regional competitions.
This unique Red Bull Tum Tum Pa competition, where students use everyday classroom materials to create organic rhythmic sounds, is the first of its kind. Over 386 teams competed on college campuses around the U.S. in March and April. Five were chosen to compete against an elite squad of drummers from 32 countries in Rio de Janeiro on June 11, when a jury will award the Best Beat Performance.
In the first round of the competition, Bellisle and Shroff, competing as team “Coffee and Cream,” performed a cover of Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” and an original composition at Nashville’s Café Coco (click here to view video of their first round performance). Judges graded the competitors based on rhythm, creativity and audience response. After their spot-on cover, complete with Shroff blowing into a half-full can to create the song’s “Snoooooop” noise, the duo earned the highest score and made it to regionals. The duo won the regional competition after they received the most online votes in the Southeastern Conference and were selected to be one of five national finalists by a group of judges.
With permission and support from many at Belmont, as well as the Nashville-area representative for Red Bull marketing, the two students filmed their official competition video in Belmont’s Hitch Science Building chemistry lab. Belmont’s Red Bull Student Representatives Kirk Slawek and Matt Shaw helped film the video, while Belmont student Kenny House recorded audio. Red Bull’s local marketing head, Lisa Gracey, is helping to promote the duo.
The official video is on Red Bull’s website, and click here to view photos from the filming session.