The Belmont University School of Music presented the 18th Annual Commercial Music Showcase yesterday in Massey Concert Hall. The free, one-hour concert featured the best solo performers, arrangers, instrumentalists, background vocalists and crew in the Commercial Music Program. In September, 45 students auditioned on the first of two nights of try-outs in front of a diverse group of music industry professionals for one of the coveted four showcase spots. Ten students were called back for the second night of auditions. Below are the four students who were selected to perform with a short bio on each one:
Noel Barefoot: For a traditional country music fan, the Commercial Music Showcase helped Noel realize a personal goal: standing in the circle on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. After being selected, the Commercial Music Showcase students are taken to the Opry for a recording session. Noel will graduate in May with a degree in commercial music with an emphasis in performance. After graduation she plans to marry her high school sweetheart and continue working towards her goal of recording music and performing at the CMA Awards.
Joshua Eric Wright: Before coming to Belmont University, Josh had never performed outside of church in Celeste, Texas. When he graduates in May with a degree in commercial music with emphases in music business, songwriting and performance, Josh will have many performance, recording and songwriting honors to go along with his degree. As the youngest member of the Nashville Choir, Josh was part of the recording of Michael W. Smith’s Dove Award-winning Christmas album, It’s a Wonderful Christmas. The choir just recorded the music for an upcoming Disneyland attraction, The World of Color. In 2007, Josh performed with Steven Curtis Chapman as part of the Belmont Writer’s Showcase. He was also selected to represent Belmont songwriters at the opening of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Aashley Morgan: While in high school in Maysville, Ohio, Aashley was a member of a show choir that won nine grand championships. Since coming to Belmont University Aashley has continued to perform a variety of musical styles as a member of Belmont’s choreographed shochoir, Company and for the past two summers she has performed five shows a day as a member of Showstoppin at Six Flags Great America in Chicago. Aashley has a demanding schedule as a junior music major, double majoring in commercial music with a music business emphasis and in music education. Her plans for the future include continued work as a performer, and she will follow those opportunities whether they lead her to concert halls, arenas or Broadway.
John Flanagan: John selected Belmont University for its music program but started here as a communications major. After performing in the Pop/Rock Showcase his freshman year, he changed his major to become a double major in English and commercial music with a performance emphasis. Growing up in Manchester, New Hampshire, John developed his larger-than-life stage presence through his childhood love of Disney musicals and through high school musical theatre performances. Before graduating in May, John hopes to release an EP that he describes as “Queen meets ELO.” After graduation, he hopes to make his living as a performer, ideally in Europe with dance and glam rock music.
The Commercial Music program is designed for students who wish to study contemporary/non-classical styles of music. The solo performers in the Commercial Music Showcase are indicative of the broad range of Belmont’s commercial music program. All of the music charts for the concert have been arranged by the students of Belmont’s composition and arranging classes.