Denver & The Mile High Orchestra, composed entirely of Belmont University alumni, received the Curtain Call Award on Wednesday night. The award is presented annually to a Belmont alumnus by the university’s School of Music in honor of achievement in the field of commercial and popular music. D&MHO, which performs Christian music with a “Big Band” sound, is lead by bandleader and trumpet player Denver Bierman.
The band was presented the award by Cynthia Curtis, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and Dr. Jeff Kirk, director of events administration and coordinator of commercial music, during a concert Sept. 7 in Massey Concert Hall.
Formed by a group of friends at Belmont in 1999, D&MHO is an exceptional group of musicians comprised of three trumpet players, three saxophone players, two trombone players and a rhythm section. Since their inception, D&MHO has traveled around the globe, performing at churches, conferences, festivals and even at the Olympics. The big band sound of the 30’s and 40’s had long intrigued Biermn, who had played the trumpet for 16 years when he founded the band. He assembled a group of musicians—friends to reinvent the style for the modern age.
“I grew up listening to hip-hop, rock and pop, to all those genres,” says Bierman, who is also the group’s lead vocalist and music arranger. “So I wanted to take the best of today and the best of yesterday and mix ’em up.”
D&MHO has released four albums, including Stand, Act the Scat, Good to Go, and Timeless Christmas.
“In an age when new bands come and go with the wind, the only way you can explain that a Christian ‘big band’ is still going strong,” Bierman says, “is that God must be up to something. So our job is just to keep moving forward and make sure He gets all the glory.”
Previous Curtain Call Award winners include Josh Turner, Ginny Owens, Jill Phillips Gullahorn, Will Denton, Fleming McWilliams, Melodie Crittenden, Jozef Nuyens, Gordon Mote, Tammy Rogers King and Chris Rodriguez.
All photos by Belmont University staff photographer Michael Krouskop. Click image thumbnails for larger versions.