Belmont University has announced that three-time Grammy Award winner and Belmont alumna Trisha Yearwood will serve as host for the 2009 Christmas at Belmont performance at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The program will air on Nashville Public Television and PBS stations nationwide, on December 23 (check local listings).
Christmas at Belmont, a production of NPT with funding from the Beaman Family Foundation, features a collage of familiar carols, classical masterworks, world music and light-hearted seasonal favorites. More than 400 student voices will join Yearwood, the Belmont School of Music faculty and the Nashville Children’s Choir to present the annual holiday production. Previous hosts of Christmas at Belmont include alumni Melinda Doolittle and Josh Turner as well as recording legend Brenda Lee.
Among a few favorites, the program will feature Belmont University’s 10-voice, pop, R&B, rock, and alternative ensemble, Phoenix; female a cappella ensemble, Session; 12-voice, Blues, Swing, Bebop and contemporary jazz group, Jazzmin; and Women’s Choir. The performance will include classic sacred holiday music, such as “Ave Maria”, “God Rest Ye”, and “Joy to the World”, and would not be complete without traditional seasonal songs such as “Winter Wonderland” and “Jingle Bells” to name a few.
Belmont President Bob Fisher said, “It was a great joy to welcome Trisha back “home” for our special edition of the ‘Grand Ole Opry’ in honor of the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate. Her vocal talents leave every audience wanting more, and we are thrilled to partner with this amazing artist and friend for our annual ‘Christmas at Belmont’ production.”
A 1987 Belmont graduate, Yearwood possesses three Country Music Association honors and 19 top 10 singles in addition to her three Grammys. Her career-defining hits include such memorable songs as “She’s in Love With the Boy,” “Walkaway Joe,” “Perfect Love” and “How Do I Live.” Yearwood released her tenth studio album, Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love, in November 2007. Last year the multi-talented artist co-authored a New York Times bestselling cookbook with her mother Gwen and sister Beth, Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen. A second cookbook is anticipated to hit stores in Spring 2010.
Dr. Cynthia Curtis, dean of Belmont’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, noted, “Alumni like Trisha are wonderful examples of the incredibly gifted students drawn to Belmont University.” We are delighted that through the efforts of NPT and our generous sponsors, we can share the talents of our current students and faculty with a national audience.”
This year represents only the second time that the performance and taping of Christmas at Belmont has been held at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which opened in 2006. The Schermerhorn is one of few venues in the world featuring natural lighting and state-of-the-art acoustics, including motorized acoustic drapes and an acoustical isolation joint that encircles the entire concert hall and prevents sound waves traveling into or out of the hall.
“We continually revel in the opportunity to work with Belmont and bring to public television viewers throughout the nation this joyous celebration,” said Beth Curley, president and CEO of NPT. “Belmont’s talented students and faculty, together with Trisha Yearwood in the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, will make for a magnificent broadcast and will be the highlight of PBS’s holiday programming.”