President Greg Jones’ inaugural year theme—Let Hope Abound—lends itself perfectly to one of Belmont’s greatest artistic expressions–songwriting, and alumnus Chad Cates was up for the challenge. “Dr. Jones teed us up with such a great title,” he said. “And alongside songwriter Tony Wood and vocalist Melinda Doolittle we were able to write for the moment and create a song that would transcend any single event and live on.”
Giving appreciation for the past and hope for the future, the trio wrote to pay homage to Belmont’s story. “We stand on the shoulders of the ones who came before,” Chad said. “In writing this song, we expressed gratitude to the Belmont story, the goodness of God and how the Lord led us here.”
But a great song is more than just words–it needs a great vocalist to perform it. Alumna and songstress Melinda Doolittle worked on the project as both a singer and a co-writer. “I was happy to be part of it, but I don’t do a lot of writing,” she explained.
There’s a big difference between writing a song and putting a song in front of an audience, Melinda said, and she was grateful to add her performance expertise to help bring the song to life. “The writing process was a gift I did not know I needed,” she said. “Writing with Tony was like a masterclass for me. Learning what the process is like from veteran writers who have these hit songs was such a great experience.”
Chad and Melinda’s legacy through this song carries on at Belmont as ‘Let Hope Abound’ is performed at many events across campus, further emphasizing this year’s theme and Belmont’s charge to serve the world. “I am just grateful to support what Dr. Jones is doing in some small capacity,” reflected Chad. The torch was passed to alumna and vocalist Piper Jones who has performed ‘Let Hope Abound’ at multiple events this year, from Dr. Jones’ Strategic Trajectory rollout to Spring 2022 commencement. Not only has Piper enjoyed singing her longtime friend Melinda’s song, she has been deeply encouraged by the song’s message. “Dr. Jones continues to talk about God-sized dreams, and I need to hear it just as much as the students,” said Piper. “The lyrics to Let Hope Abound affirm that we’ve seen incredible things done in the past, and we are hopeful that God will continue to do those things in the future.”