Trustee provides lead gift for renovation of Belmont Heights sanctuary to create classical concert venue
Belmont University announced today that a lead gift has been secured for the renovation of university-owned Belmont Heights Baptist Church’s main sanctuary to provide the campus a new, large concert venue suitable for classical performances. The congregation of Belmont Heights Baptist Church will continue to be able to worship in the renovated sanctuary and will enjoy the benefits of the much-improved acoustics. The McAfee family, which has supported Belmont University for years, is providing this “lead gift challenge” for the renovation project.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “We are very grateful to the McAfee family for this generous gift. Their commitment to the university and support of this project means that we will have a Concert Hall to match the high quality of our music programs, and one that will appropriately showcase the amazing talent of our performing arts students.”
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. The McAfees’ son and daughter-in-law, Tom and Julie McAfee, joined Carolyn McAfee at today’s ceremony announcing the project.
“My late husband Jim, my son Tom daughter-in-law, Julie, and I have always been enthusiastic about supporting Belmont as a leader in Christian education,” said Carolyn McAfee. “Belmont’s School of Music has earned national recognition for the quality of its programs and the breadth of its vision. Our family is proud to kick off the fundraising efforts for this new Concert Hall, which will match those high standards with a performance space suitable to the talent these programs attract.”
Dr. Cynthia Curtis, dean of Belmont’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, added, “The new Concert Hall, which houses a 55-rank Aeolian Skinner organ, provides an outstanding venue for performances of the University’s classical choral and instrumental ensembles, including the symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, Chorale and 200-voice Oratorio Chorus. The College of Visual and Performing Arts is tremendously grateful to the McAfee family for their generous gift which helps sustain the rich artistic history of the Belmont campus and active cultural life of Nashville.”
The design concept for the new Concert Hall was developed in consultation with the architects and acousticians involved with the construction of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Acousticians have conducted extensive, carefully documented scientific studies and developed a plan for the building that eliminates ambient noise, expands the volume of space to optimal acoustic proportions for a large orchestra and chorus and creates optimal sound diffusion.
Fundraising for the new Concert Hall will continue as the total renovation is anticipated to be $7 million.