MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee (center) poses with Grammy nominee, MTSU alumnus and Academy of Country Music CEO Pete Fisher (left) and Fisher's spouse, Hope, at a reception in Los Angeles honoring the university's Grammy nominees. ANDREW OPPMANN / MTSU
LOS ANGELES -- MTSU put its spotlight upon country star Hillary Scott as faculty and friends gathered Saturday, Feb. 11, in Southern California to celebrate the former student's Grammy nods in two Christian music categories.
President Sidney A. McPhee and College of Media and Entertainment Dean Ken Paulson also recognized three other Grammy nominees with MTSU ties at a university reception held at The Standard in downtown Los Angeles.
"We celebrate Hillary's music, her continued ties to her alma mater and the inspiration she engenders among the students in our program," McPhee said. "She is True Blue."
Later that evening, MTSU capped off its Saturday in Southern California with its third consecutive concert co-sponsored by the Americana Music Association at the Troubadour club in West Hollywood and honoring legendary singer Loretta Lynn.
Scott, absent from Saturday's events because a bout of flu, was represented by father Lang Scott, and her little sister, Rylee.
"Today, we recognize Hillary Scott, not only for her achievements in music, but for the work she has done to personify the spirit of what it means to be a member of the MTSU community," Paulson said. "We thank her, and her family, and celebrate their hard work and achievement."
Present at MTSU's Saturday reception was also family members of MTSU alumnus Chris Young, a nominee for best country duo/group performance category for No. 1 single, "Think of You," which he co-wrote and which features singer Casadee Pope.
Paulson and Beverly Keel, chair of MTSU's Department of Recording Industry, also recognized Pete Fisher, the Opry's former longtime vice president and chief executive officer.
Fisher, now CEO of the Academy of Country Music, is part of a team that created "American Saturday Night: Live from the Grand Ole Opry," a concert film released in theaters in December 2015 and a nominee in the best music film category.
Also noted by Keel and Paulson was Brad King, a 2015 MTSU recording industry graduate specializing in audio production, is competing with Scott in the best contemporary Christian album category for his engineering work on the team that recorded "Poets & Saints" by the group All Sons & Daughters.
Meanwhile, later Saturday, MTSU co-sponsored its third concert, organized by the Americana Music Association, at the legendary Troubadour Club in West Hollywood to honor country music icon Lynn. Several Recording Industry alumni, as well as faculty and administrators, were in attendance for the event.
"We are privileged again to partner with MTSU for our annual pre-Grammy Salute to Loretta Lynn," said Jed Hilly, executive director of the American Music Association. "Our mission is to advocate for the authentic voice of American Roots music and working with an institute of higher education helps us to reach the next music loving generation."
Among the acts confirmed for the concert were John Carter Cash, son of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash; Lynn's daughter Patsy Lynn; singer-songwriter-producer Joe Henry; Jack Ingram; Lori McKenna; Robbie Fulks; ZZ Ward; Fantastic Negrito; and Lynn's granddaughter, Emmy Rose.
"Our presence at these events preceding the Grammys underscores not only the importance we place in our ties to the Recording Industry, but also the commitment by President McPhee to invest in sustaining our standing at a player in this field," Paulson said.
The Department of Recording Industry, for the third straight year, is part of an international list of acclaimed music schools praised by The Hollywood Reporter that includes Juilliard, Berklee and London's Royal College of Music. It ranks No. 18 on the "Top 25 Music Schools 2016" list.
Middle Tennessee State University provided this report.