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Belmont University Celebrates Grand Opening of McAfee Concert Hall

Inaugural season offers series of six concerts

Welcoming guests and the campus community with a brass ensemble, Belmont University celebrated today the official grand opening of the new McAfee Concert Hall. Originally built in the 1950s, the building located at 2100 Belmont Blvd. served in recent years as a rehearsal, classroom and practice space for many Belmont music groups as well as the main sanctuary for Belmont Heights Baptist Church. The University purchased the property from the church in 2003, but Belmont Heights continues to meet in the complex. In summer 2011, Belmont began a $9 million renovation of the space in order to provide the campus a new, large concert venue suitable for acoustic performances. The building is now named in honor of the McAfee family, who has supported Belmont University for years and provided the lead gift for the project.

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “We are incredibly grateful to the McAfee family for their generous gift to make this venue possible. Their commitment to the university has enabled us to build a concert space that matches the high quality of our music programs, and one that will appropriately showcase the amazing talent of our performing arts students. My hope is that the entire Nashville community will be able to enjoy the inspired concerts that will occur in this beautiful new hall.”

Lead donor Carolyn McAfee has served on Belmont’s Board of Trustees since 2006, and her late husband Jim, president and CEO of Hallmark Systems Inc., served on the board from 2002 until his untimely death in 2004. In addition to their time on the board, the McAfees also support Belmont through an endowed scholarship in their name for School of Music students with a major in organ or classical music. (more…)

School of Music Honors CeCe Winans with Applause Award

CeCe Winans and husband Alvin Love spoke to Belmont students last February at a Christian Faith Development convo.

Tickets still available for Saturday night’s President’s Concert

Belmont University’s School of Music will honor legendary gospel singer CeCe Winans with the Applause Award at Saturday night’s annual President’s Concert. The Applause Award is given each year to a person or organization that has greatly benefited the arts community in Nashville. The President’s Concert honors the leadership of Belmont President Bob Fisher and celebrates the talent and diversity of the School of Music at Belmont. Tickets to the concert, which starts at 8 p.m., will be available for purchase for $15 at the doors of the Massey Performing Arts Center. Seating is general admission.

One of the most recognizable voices in gospel music, CeCe Winans has sold millions of albums during her 25-year music career. The charismatic singer has won numerous awards including eight Grammy Awards and 21 Dove Awards in addition to gold and platinum albums and several number one Gospel and Top Ten R&B hits. Moreover, she has a reputation as one of the friendliest people in the music industry. In addition to singing, Winans has demonstrated her acting skills in TV sitcoms such as “Living Single” and hosted her own TV series, “CeCe’s Place,” for the Odyssey cable channel. She penned an autobiography, On a Positive Note, and co-wrote Throne Room, a worship journal and a devotional book for teenage girls. In 2005, she founded the youth and young adult conference Always Sisters Forever Brothers, an annual event which will be held on the campus of Belmont University this July. Both of Winans’ children graduated from Belmont University, and CeCe Winans is a former Belmont trustee.

The President’s Concert features School of Music student ensembles and groups that highlight the musical diversity of the program. The Applause Award is presented during the concert. All funds raised by the dinner and concert provide scholarships for students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, which includes the School of Music as well as the Department of Art and the Department of Theatre and Dance.

Previous Applause Award honorees include Earl Swensson (ESa), the Grand Ole Opry, ASCAP, Eddy Arnold, Chet Atkins, The Beaman Family Foundation, BMI, Patricia Taylor Bullard, Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, James Cotham, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Vince Gill and Amy Grant, Donna Hilley, Ronn Huff, Martha Ingram, Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, Nashville Symphony, Barbara Massey Rogers, SESAC, Steinway & Sons, Kenneth Schermerhorn, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Jerry Warren and Sam Wilson.

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.

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