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Country Music’s Kathy Mattea to Host Nationally Broadcast ‘Christmas at Belmont’

Special performance to honor Belmont’s 125th anniversary

Hosted by Grammy Award-winning country recording artist Kathy Mattea and taped at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, nearly 700 student musicians will join Belmont School of Music faculty and the Nashville Children’s Choir later this fall for the taping of  a special 125th anniversary edition of “Christmas at Belmont.” The annual production of traditional carols, classical masterworks, world music and light-hearted seasonal favorites, produced by Nashville Public Television (NPT),  will offer its world premiere on NPT in late December followed by a PBS broadcast for a national audience. This is the 13thconsecutive year “Christmas at Belmont” has been seen on PBS, and this year’s performance will also honor the University’s 125th anniversary, a year-long celebration of its 1890 founding.

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 mass choir. The performance includes both classic holiday music such as “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Little Drummer Boy,” as well as festive seasonal songs like “Carol of the Bells” and “White Christmas,” to name a few.

Mattea said, “I’m thrilled to be hosting ‘Christmas at Belmont’ from the Schermerhorn Symphony Center this year. It’s a great honor to be asked to join the ranks of the wonderful artists who have taken part in this respected tradition over the years, and I’m pleased to be able to represent Belmont University, which has been a big part of my life since I came to Nashville.”

Twice named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association, Kathy Mattea carved out a role for herself in the late 1980s and ‘90s as an artist at ease both with country tradition and free-ranging innovation. Drawing from the Grammy-winning collection Good News and the critically acclaimed follow up, Joy for Christmas Day, her Christmas presentations highlight the joyous message of the holiday with a thoughtful blend of new songs and old favorites, stretching stylistic boundaries to engage with a variety of her favorite musical influences.

“‘Christmas at Belmont’ is an amazing opportunity to showcase the tremendous talent of our faculty and students,” said Belmont University President Bob Fisher. “We’re incredibly grateful for our partnership with NPT that brings that talent to a broader audience, and we’re delighted to have an artist of Kathy Mattea’s caliber at the helm this year.”

The performance and taping of “Christmas at Belmont” returns for the fifth time to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, one of the few venues in the world featuring natural lighting and state-of-the-art acoustics, including motorized acoustic drapes and an acoustical isolation joint that encircles the entire concert hall and prevents sound waves traveling into or out of the hall.

“NPT is excited to once again partner with Belmont University to bring one of Nashville’s great holiday traditions to the entire nation on PBS,” said Beth Curley, president and CEO of NPT, which has won 46 Midsouth Emmy Awards since 2001. “I am always amazed at the depth and range of talent Belmont’s School of Music is nurturing—truly making a mark on Nashville’s music and performance scenes. With 2015’s all-new production of ‘Christmas at Belmont,’ we continue a vital part of NPT’s mission, which is to share these unique talents with a national audience.”

Dr. Cynthia R. Curtis, dean of Belmont’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, added, “We are delighted that through the efforts of NPT and our generous sponsors, we can share the talents of Belmont students with a national audience. Having two-time Grammy Award winner Kathy Mattea as host adds to our excitement about Christmas at Belmont 2015! Kathy brings not only her outstanding skills as performer and songwriter, but also serves as an exceptional role model for our students who seek careers as performing artists.”

“Christmas at Belmont” is underwritten by The Beaman Family Foundation and The Jack C. Massey Foundation. Due to the large demand for tickets among performers’ families and friends, there are no public seats available for this event, but viewers will be able to see the concert on PBS in December. Dates and times for the broadcast will be announced later this fall.

*Above image provided by David McClister