Belmont students sitting in the audience of the Ben Rector performance held as part of the Presidential Inauguration festivities on November 3 may have recognized more than just the lead singer up on stage. When one of the bass players in Rector’s band became ill before the show, Rector recognized the wealth of talent at the university and decided to invite three Belmont students to fill in the position.
Belmont students Garret Arwood, Isaac Mauldin and Lee Williams were contacted and given only a couple days to learn the chords, each being assigned four songs to perform during the concert. Each of the students rose to the occasion and made a big impression not only on their peers cheering them on from the crowd, but Rector as well.
In addition to the comments he made during the show about what a professional job the students did, Rector told The Tennessean that he hopes performing on stage helped them gain confidence in their abilities. “They can step into that situation flawlessly and execute on the highest level,” Rector said in The Tennessean article. “If I were them, I’d be like, ‘that feels good, man.’ That feels like you got tossed into pro baseball … and they fill in and do great. Yeah, you’re this good.”
Senior commercial bass major Lee Williams admitted to being a little nervous leading up to the rehearsal on Tuesday afternoon, the day before the show. “But that rehearsal went well, and everyone in Ben’s band and crew was so kind and encouraging that my nerves really stopped there,” he said. “Everything after that was just excitement to perform with such a solid band in front of a great crowd.”
Williams, who performed “When I’m With You,” “The Men That Drive Me Places,” “Old Friends” and “Brand New,” described the feeling of being on stage with Rector and performing in front of his classmates as all the more rewarding. Williams made the decision to go back to school in his late-20s and said that performing with Rector made “all the hard work coming back to school worth it.”
Similarly, junior commercial bass major Isaac Mauldin (who performed “Duo/Just The Two of Us,” “White Dress,” “Forever Like That” and “Never Gonna Give You Up”) said his emotions were mostly pure excitement as the opportunity set him up well for his future career goals. “I was honored to have the opportunity and I wanted to make the absolute most of it, so I worked hard and prepared as best as I could.” he said. “Post-grad, I would love to go out on the road with an artist. Seeing the world and playing music has always been a dream of mine, and it would be awesome to see that come to fruition.”
Read The Tennessean’s article about the performance here.