Loyola University New Orleans has become an important educational hub for ambitious musicians, singers, songwriters and students aiming to become recording industry leaders. Seriously, it is not just hype. Of note: two Loyola professors are serving on panels at this week’s 17th annual Americanafest Music Festival and Conference in Nashville. What’s more, seven students from the university’s acclaimed Music Industry Studies programs have been in attendance. The whole idea behind the Americanafest is a meeting of the minds between famous artists, fans, industry specialists and musicians. Talk about networking. But there is so much more to this story.
During this year’s Americanafest, held Sept. 20 -25 at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown, Woody Guthrie was given a posthumous award. Loyola Guthrie scholar Mark F. Fernandez and the university’s Grammy Award-winning adjunct professor Scott Billington, who is also the VP of A&R at Rounder/Concord Records, were both featured panelists alongside others, including Mermaid Avenue’s Billy Bragg. Accompanying the group at the conference was associate professor and songwriter Jim McCormick, whose tunes have been recorded by everyone from country singer Tim McGraw to RIAA platinum-selling powerhouse Jason Aldean. On the school’s website, Loyola mentions how it is a place where “students can roam the halls and converse with Grammy Award winners and internationally renowned musicians.” They are not kidding around.
Loyola goes well beyond being just a focal point for up and coming songsters by educating artists about current issues facing the music industry. Commenting on Americanafest, Kate Duncan, professor of popular and commercial music states, “Students are also taking advantage of this opportunity to…learn from industry leaders, who can help them to secure internships — and just may be their future employers.”
How appropriate that Loyola is located in New Orleans. The city continues to be one of the greatest hotbeds for music in the country, if not, the world. Founded by the Jesuits, throw in the educational institution’s 100-year tradition for academic excellence and the potential can be unlimited. Loyola’s College of Music and Fine Arts also includes the highly praised Film and Music Industry Studies Department, which readies artists in the creative professions for entrepreneurial success. For any artist who wants to get somewhere in the music industry, it seems Loyola University New Orleans is the place to be.
Photos: Jason Aldean – Morgan Williams/Flickr/Creative Commons (CC); usage does not reflect endorsement by source. Video: Loyola University New Orleans Congratulates Harry Connick Jr. on new TV show – Loyola University New Orleans/YouTube.