The eyes of the nation will soon be on Nashville, its stunning Symphony Center, its world-class school of music and one of its favorite daughters.
In case you missed the announcement last week, Belmont University graduate (’99) and American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle will host the 2007 Christmas at Belmont concert, a production of Nashville Public Television that will air nationally on PBS Monday, Dec. 24, at 10 p.m. EST. Middle Tennessee will get a chance to see it a little sooner when it has its local premiere on NPT Thursday, Dec. 20, at 8 p.m. CST. This year, the show will be broadcast from the illustrious Schermerhorn Symphony Center. As you may know, Doolittle was a top finalist on the sixth season of American Idol, where she won the hearts and votes of millions of Americans and gathered legions of devoted fans.
Christmas at Belmont is an annual Belmont tradition celebrating the holiday season and the musical diversity and rich talent of the university’s School of Music. The concert features a collage of familiar carols (“Carol of the Bells”), classical masterworks (“Gloria”), world music and light-hearted seasonal favorites (“You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”). More than 400 student voices join with School of Music faculty and the Nashville Children’s Choir to present the annual holiday production. Doolittle will perform several sure-to-be crowd pleasers, such as Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmastime Is Here” with the Belmont Jazz Quintet and “Joy to the World” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” with all Christmas at Belmont performers. Previous hosts have included Peggy Lee and Belmont alumnus Josh Turner (’01). Turner has since become a bona fide country superstar and the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Doolittle graduated from the Belmont School of Music in 1999 with a degree in commercial voice and began her professional singing career as a backup singer for acts such as BeBe and CeCe Winans, Michael McDonald, Kirk Franklin, Aaron Neville, Alabama, Jonny Lang and Anointed. Doolittle emerged from the background to headliner after her successful run on the sixth season of TV juggernaut American Idol. Since her run on the show, Doolittle performed in the American Idol national tour and has been preparing for her debut album.
Pictured in the photo above: Cynthia Curtis, dean of the Belmont School of Music, Melinda Doolittle and Daniel Tidwell, vice president of development for Nashville Public Television.