Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., founder of Hope Through Healing Hands, and Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, led a community conversation Monday in Belmont’s Maddox Grand Atrium on “The Mother & Child Project: Simple Steps to Saving Lives in the Developing World.” This was the first public event held by the Faith-Based Coalition for Healthy Mothers and Children Worldwide, a joint partnership of Hope Through Healing Hands (HTHH), a Nashville-based global health organization, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
More than 250 individuals representing the faith community, global health NGO and higher-education sectors throughout greater Nashville attended the discussion, hosted by Belmont University. In addition to opening the event, Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns and Hope Through Healing Hands (HTHH) Executive Director Dr. Jenny Eaton Dyer also announced that this fall they would award the first Frist Global Health Fellowship to enable a Belmont graduate student to be immersed for a semester in a global health experience.
U.S. Olympic figure skating champion Scott Hamilton, who with his wife Tracie is an active global health advocate, moderated the event, posing questions to Frist and Gates about their experiences.
“As I began to talk with women around the world, it became very clear to me the spacing and timing of pregnancies we take for granted in the U.S. is a matter of life and death for them,” said Gates. “So I got very involved in contraceptives, because it truly starts the cycle of life, where they can feed their children, get their children in school, and honestly, not die themselves.”
Sen. Frist agreed, saying, “Contraception is a pro-life cause.” He went on to explain that, “…if you delay first pregnancy to 18 years old, you can increase survival in countries where one in 39 women die in childbirth, and cut the chance of children dying by 30 percent, enabling them to stay in school and become productive members of families.”
“Second, if you can push out the interval between pregnancies to three year period, the child is twice as likely to survive the newborn stage.”
GRAMMY Camp® Nashville was held last week at Belmont’s 34 Music Square East facility, home to historic Columbia Studio A and the Quonset Hut, with 39 high school students from 25 cities and 12 states. Celebrating its 10th year, GRAMMY Camp is the GRAMMY Foundation’s signature music industry camp for U.S. high school students and is an interactive non-residential summer music experience focusing on all aspects of commercial music.
Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business faculty members Drew Ramsey (songwriting), Nathan Adam (audio engineering technology) and Dave Tough (music business) taught classes and mentored students involved in the camp throughout the week. In addition, Luke Gilfeather, facility manager at 34 Music Square East, assisted with the camp’s studio and classroom needs. The program culminated on June 13 with an Open House event where guests received a behind-the-scenes look into what the students learned throughout the week, including the music and media they created. President and Chief Executive Officer or the Journeys Group Jim Estepa,GRAMMY Foundation® Vice President Scott Goldman and leadership from The Recording Academy® were on hand to speak with students.
GRAMMY Camp provides instruction by industry professionals in an immersive creative environment with cutting-edge technology in professional facilities. GRAMMY Camp Nashville offered four music career tracks: audio engineering, songwriting, vocal performance and instrumental performance. This GRAMMY in the Schools® program is supported by Converse and Journeys, among others.
Nashville Opera and Ocean Way Nashville have recorded Michael Nyman’s “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat” at Belmont University’s state-of-the-art Music Row studio facility. The project will be the first recording of a Nashville Opera production for commercial distribution, which will be available this fall.
Since its purchase by Belmont University in 2001, Ocean Way Nashville has become a leader in the music production industry, both locally and globally. The recording studio regularly hosts sessions for artists including Bob Seger, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton and Steve Martin, among others. Additionally, Ocean Way has recorded scores for films and major video games. Operated as a commercial facility, an academic resource and a community partner, Belmont has offered Ocean Way to many organizations within the Nashville community over the years.
“This partnership reflects Belmont’s ongoing effort to be Nashville’s University and to share its resources with the nonprofit community. As Ocean Way Nashville continues to offer recording opportunities to artists on Music Row and educational development opportunities to Belmont students, we are thrilled to carry on a tradition of community partnerships by offering complimentary use of the studio for Nashville Opera’s first opera recording of its recent piece, ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat,’” said Ocean Way Director Pat McMakin, who served as associate producer for the recording.
The three-day project included the original cast members from Nashville Opera’s critically-acclaimed 2013 production with soprano Rebecca Sjöwall as Mrs. P, bass Matthew Treviño as Dr. P and tenor Ryan MacPherson as Dr. S. The opera’s General and Artistic Director John Hoomes and Chief Operating Officer Noah Spiegel worked as co-producers. Maestro Dean Williamson led the seven-piece orchestra as he did during the original production.
Nashville Opera, Tennessee’s largest professional opera company, is dedicated to creating legendary productions and programs. Among the most successful regional companies in the United States of America, Nashville Opera has presented three different world premiere operas since its inception in 1981. Main stage performances are presented at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and the Noah Liff Opera Center, playing to over 13,000 people annually. Nashville Opera’s extensive education and outreach touring program reaches over 23,000 students throughout Middle Tennessee. These projects are supported by grants from the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Judy and Noah Liff Foundation, the Nashville Opera Guild and many other corporate and individual supporters.
College celebrates graduation of 120 students from charter class
Belmont University’s College of Law celebrated the graduation of its charter class today as 120 students received their Juris Doctor degrees along with timely inspiration from commencement speaker and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Belmont announced the opening of the College of Law on Oct. 7, 2009, one year after hosting the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate, and the charter cohort began classes in fall 2011. From enrolling with a median class LSAT of 154, the 2014 graduating Law class set the standard for Belmont lawyers to follow through classroom performance, co-curricular involvement and community service.
Belmont President Bob Fisher said, “We opened a College of Law because we believe it fits perfectly within Belmont’s mission to provide a transformative education that empowers civic engagement and creates change agents in our community and the broader world. This first class has undoubtedly exceeded expectations, and I’m both proud and honored to welcome Justice Alito to campus to give them a final charge into service.”
Encouraging his fellow graduates to “build a legacy of greatness,” Alexander H. Mills provided the valedictorian address for the College of Law Class of 2014, quoting from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Justice Alito used his commencement address to declare that the foundational backbone of this country could provide an appropriate source for the graduates’ future guiding principles. “The essential features of the Constitution and the legal system can lead us to ideals that are applicable to life… it separates matters that are essential from matters that are simply important. The same strategy is a good one to implement in our personal lives. It’s good to go through the mental process to identify what is essential and permanent in our lives, those things that matter most.”
Justice Alito also noted the brevity and accessibility of the Constitution, as well as the way it reflects the American culture of optimism. “The Constitution entrusts the future to the good sense and decency of the American people.”
Mike Curb, Curb Family Foundation in kind gift equivalent of $10 million
Preserving Music City history while shaping the music of the future, Belmont University and the Curb Family Foundation announced today the completed renovation of Columbia Studio A at 34 Music Square East as a classroom and hands-on learning lab for students in Belmont’s Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business. Through his Curb Family Foundation, Curb Records’ founder and CEO Mike Curb is giving the University a 40-year lease on the 34 Music Square East property (including office spaces, Columbia Studio A and the Quonset Hut) as an in kind contribution, an estimated donation value topping $10 million.
From its opening in the mid-1950s as part of Bradley Studios to the building’s purchase by Columbia Records in 1962 to its transition to office space in 1982, Columbia Studio A and the Quonset Hut provided the sonic landscape for many of that generation’s biggest hits and greatest artists, including Bob Dylan, who recorded his legendary 1969 Nashville Skyline album in the most recently renovated space. “A-Team” session musician Charlie McCoy, who played on Nashville Skyline, noted that thanks to Dylan recording in town at Columbia Studio A, “Nashville was certified as a recording center in music to artists who might never have come here otherwise.”
Other artists who’ve graced the building include Dusty Springfield, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Buddy Holly, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Charlie Rich, The Byrds, Patti Page, Elvis Costello, Simon & Garfunkel, and many more. Today’s event was opened by rising I.R.S. Nashville band Striking Matches, a duo who first met when paired together in a Belmont guitar class.
“If these walls could talk,” said Brenda Lee, who spoke at today’s announcement, “they could recount a virtual ‘who’s who’ of great artists and hit songs that first found life here… Thanks to the vision of today’s industry leadership—to men such as Dr. Bob Fisher, president of Belmont University, and Mike Curb, whose namesake Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business is unparalleled as a music industry learning resource—thanks to them, these walls can and will ‘talk’ to a new generation of young creativity that will come here to experience and learn where it all began. And for that, we can all be grateful.”
Dr. Fisher added, “When it comes to honoring Nashville’s music roots, we all need to thank Mike Curb for both his generous contributions and visionary commitment to keep that history alive in this town for future generations to recognize and enjoy. But Mike’s vision extends beyond our history to our future, as he has and continues to be a tremendous resource for tomorrow’s legendary artists through his support of Belmont’s Curb College. We’re truly grateful for his contributions to all of our programs.”