Country music star and Belmont University graduate, Josh Turner, will host the annual Christmas at Belmont concert, which will be made available to viewers through a nationwide broadcast on PBS. It will air nationally on PBS Thur., December 21 at 9 p.m. EST., with rebroadcast in Nashville, Sun., December 24 at 8 p.m. CST. Belmont University’s highly acclaimed Bluegrass Ensemble, a group of student performers that has played everywhere from Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium to a private show for Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, is one of the many Belmont University performance groups that will be featured on the broadcast. Music City’s signature holiday event was produced by NPT with funding from the Beaman Family Foundation.
Turner, whose soulful voice has helped make him one of country music’s newest stars, is a Belmont University graduate. The South Carolina native’s first album, Long Black Train, has sold more than a million copies, and his recent No. 1 Billboard single, “Would You Go With Me,” has been on the charts for almost 30 weeks.
Among the performers in this year’s Christmas at Belmont may be one or more future entertainment stars, as Belmont’s alumni include such notable performers as Minnie Pearl, Trisha Yearwood, Brad Paisley and Lee Ann Womack. The event was taped in Massey Concert Hall at Belmont University, which sits just off Nashville’s famed Music Row. It is an annual holiday tradition featuring outstanding performances by Belmont’s orchestra as well as the finest student vocalists and ensembles from the university’s renowned School of Music. From bluegrass groups to a student choir that recently performed in Europe—to a student jazz ensemble that toured Atlanta, New Orleans and the Deep South—the range of music that comprises Christmas at Belmont reflects why Nashville is America’s pre-eminent “Music City.”
Also taking part in this year’s Christmas at Belmont:
Chorale, a select mixed ensemble of 52 voices that performs diverse literature from all genres and has produced several recordings. Chorale has toured the U.S. as well as abroad, including in June of 2004 as the guest choir for the International Church Music Festival in Bern, Switzerland, along with stops in Dresden, Leipzig, Nurmburg in Germany; Prague, Czechoslovakia and Lucerne, Switzerland.
Jazzmin, a 12-member mixed vocal jazz ensemble performing jazz literature dating from early blues and swing to bebop, vocalese and contemporary sounds. Jazzmin has toured extensively with trips to Atlanta, New Orleans, St. Louis, Chicago and other parts of the Deep South, performing regularly on and off campus throughout both semesters.
University Singers, a choir of 50-60 voices, which performs traditional choral literature.
Steel Drums and Percussion Ensemble, an ensemble of graduate and undergraduate percussion majors from the School of Music whose repertoire ranges from mainstream percussion ensemble standards to new compositions and premieres. Stylistically, the ensemble covers a wide range of material featuring compositions from classical, jazz, rock and world music categories. The ensemble performs a full-length concert each semester in addition to selections in other Belmont concerts and also performs off campus.
Chamber Singers, a choral ensemble of 24 – 30 singers who perform a variety of music styles from Pre-Renaissance to twentieth century.
Nashville Children’s Choir, a regional choir program for young singers, ages 8 through 14, which is part of Belmont University’s Belmont Academy, a pre-college music program. The Nashville Children’s Choir has recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra.