CHRISTMAS AT BELMONT airs nationally on PBS Thursday, December 22 at 9:00 p.m. EST
Rising country music star and Belmont University graduate Josh Turner will host this year’s Christmas at Belmont concert, which will be made available to viewers through a nationwide broadcast on PBS. Turner, whose soulful voice has helped make him one of country music’s newest stars, is a Belmont University graduate. The Hannah, S.C., native’s first album, Long Black Train, has sold more than a million copies, and his radio hits include the single “Long Black Train” and “Your Man.”
Belmont University’s highly touted Bluegrass Ensemble, a group of student performers that has played everywhere from Nashville’s famed Ryman to a private show for Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, is one of the many Belmont University performing groups that will take part on this year’s edition of Christmas at Belmont. One of Nashville Music City’s signature holiday events, the program will be taped this year for national broadcast on PBS Thursday, December 22, 9:00 p.m. EST, with rebroadcast Sunday, December 25, 2005. For December 25 broadcast times, check local listings)
The concert, which will be taped in Massey Concert Hall at Belmont University sitting just off Nashville’s famed Music Row, is an annual holiday tradition featuring outstanding performances by Belmont’s orchestra as well as the finest student and faculty choirs and ensembles from the university’s renowned School of Music. From bluegrass to a student choir that recently performed in Europe, to a student jazz ensemble that recently toured Atlanta, New Orleans and the Deep South, the range of music that comprises Christmas at Belmont reflects why Nashville is America’s preeminent “Music City.”
Belmont’s well-regarded chorale contingents, some of which have become prominent in music festivals worldwide, will be featured in the one-hour concert along with the Nashville Children’s Choir, which has recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, the university symphony orchestra, percussion ensemble and jazz quintet. In all more than 400 student and faculty musicians and vocalists join forces to create Christmas at Belmont.
The concert floods the Massey Concert Hall with a wonderfully diverse musical collage of familiar carols, classical masterworks, world music and light-hearted seasonal song, with musical styles including classical, jazz, rock, bluegrass, country and a cappella. 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 Bluegrass Ensemble’s recent performances include backing country singer Chely Wright in concert, playing at the Ryman Auditorium, performing for Alan Greenspan at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and opening for Tracy Byrd at the National Entertainment Buyer’s Association Conference.
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, a long with stops in Dresden, Leipzig, Nuremberg 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 on 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.
[Hi-res Josh Turner image]