PREVIEW: The stage is set for Christian and Pop Showcase
Looking for a fun-filled, jam-packed weekend? The Christian and Pop Showcases are the perfect de-stressor before Thanksgiving break!
Artists Sammi Accola, Abby Dixon, Breanna Corjuc, David Murphy and the Black Student Association are working hard to take us to church at this Friday’s Christian Showcase.
Artists Grace Pelle, Chasyn, Chris Wiper and Sierra Carson are excited to display their various takes on the pop genre at Saturday’s Pop Showcase.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the competition kicks off at 7 p.m. at the Curb Event Center, Friday and Saturday. CHRISTIAN SHOWCASE
Christian artist Sammi Accola, a senior songwriting major, is excited to perform Friday and hopes to illuminate God’s love to those in attendance.
“It really is about knowing God and displaying his love to the whole community, Belmont and Nashville,” says Accola. “I just want to do that in an authentic, real honest way.”
Empowering women is a central part of her music and will be an essential part of her performance, showcasing a 10-piece, all-women band. Her involvement with the non-profit organization Thistle Farms has been a huge inspiration for this.
“I have seen how strong women are, and personally I just want to see more women representation in the music industry,” says Accola.
Accola already feels herself growing in confidence from this experience and hopes that others can relate to her music and feel like they are not alone.
“I hope this experience invites others into that friendship with me through my music and find themselves where I’m at as well,” says Accola.
Accola’s setlist includes “Horizon Eyes” from her latest EP, “Renaissance” and “Holy Women,” an ode to all the women she has gotten to work with. Abby Dixon
Worship leader and junior songwriting major Abby Dixon is ready to step into a new, unknown season of her musical journey in her performance on Friday.
“Over the past year, I feel like my music journey has really shifted into the CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) world and realizing the more my faith is integrated into my life, the more that’s going to spill out into my music,” says Dixon.
However, this was not Dixon’s original plan coming into college.
“I didn’t know that CCM was where I was going to go. It was very much a ‘Lord. If you want me to do this, you’re going to have to make it very clear,’ because it was not my plan.” says Dixon.
Dixon makes it clear her friends and family helped push her to audition and is excited to gain a fun experience to share with them; a fun experience is not the only thing about the showcase that she is excited about.
“I’m looking forward to really sharing specific pieces of my story and pieces of my heart and really hoping it’s a worshipful moment,” says Dixon. “At the end of the day, that’s what I am; a songwriter and a worship leader.”
Dixon will be performing “Until Every,” “Take It All,” and “Understand,” which she wrote specifically to express the feelings she has coming into the showcase. David Murphy
Senior songwriting major David Murphy is overjoyed to show a different kind of Christian music than the audience might be used to.
“I hope to open people’s eyes to other forms of Christian music, not just CCM,” says Murphy. Through his performance, Murphy wants to convey that all forms of music have value, whether they are sacred or not.
“I think worship music isn’t so different from other music. I think all music has some sort of connection to it,” says Murphy.
COVID restrictions limited Murphy’s vision in the past, but since those restrictions have been lifted, Murphy feels confident he will be able to convey the gospel vibes he wants to the audience.
“You’ll see on Friday I’ll have the biggest number of people on stage for any of the groups, and I just knew I wanted to do something a little bit bigger,” says Murphy.
Murphy is excited to compete and perform in the show, but no matter what the results, he will be pleased because he remembers who it is all for.
“The heart of my set and the heart of what I’m doing Friday is giving glory to God,” says Murphy.
Murphy will be performing “Write a Song,” “Nobody Like You Jesus” and “The God Who’s Never Late.” Breanna Corjuc
Breanna Corjuc, a junior commercial voice major, is grateful to be coming back to the Christian Showcase stage for the second year in a row.
“I try to take every opportunity at Belmont and showcase was such a good opportunity last year to have a platform.” says Corjuc.
Although she is performing in the same show, this go-around feels different to Corjuc. “God has been doing a lot of things in my life and growing me in different ways this semester,” says Corjuc. “[I feel] contentment and joy to be in it again.”
Corjuc hopes the opportunity will benefit her future, as it has done for many Belmont alum in the past.
“Different artists like Cody Fry and other artists at Belmont have done showcases and a lot of people say that the people that end up getting on, some of them will take off in their careers,” says Corjuc.
Corjuc’s setlist consists of all original songs “I Will Triumph,” “You Are Holy” and “God You’re with Me.” POP SHOWCASE
Indie pop artist and songwriting major Grace Pelle feels ready to take the stage her senior year and present her music to people who have never listened to her before.
“It’s super fulfilling to perform live and interact with an audience,” says Pelle. “It’s just a good way to end off my Belmont experience.”
Pelle is especially grateful for this opportunity since much of the college experience was taken away from her and her classmates.
“After COVID hit, everyone kind of lost that motivation.” says Pelle. “A lot of the songs I’m going to play kind of talk about the struggles of that and mental health.”
Pelle hopes to create an experience for the audience through the contrast of the deep lyrics and retro, pop beats of her songs.
“I want to create a community where people feel like they’re not alone,” says Pelle. “But the musicality around it is very happy. It’s kind of like a cool paradox.”
Pelle will be performing “Outgrowing,” “Stuck in My Head,” and an unreleased song titled “Empty Spaces” which she plans to release sometime next year. Chasyn
Senior audio engineering major Chasyn is finally fulfilling his dream of performing at the showcase, a goal he has had since before enrolling at Belmont.
“When I first came and checked out Belmont, they were doing the Best of the Best thing, and I sat there and was like ‘ah, I want to do that,’” he said.
Chasyn’s style of pop music includes many unconventional electronic components that he will be incorporating in his performance Saturday, which he has mixed feelings about.
“I’m super excited. It’s also just a little bit stressful because there’s a lot of moving parts,” says Chasyn.
Many supporters are flying out to cheer on Chasyn including his childhood friend, Collyn, who will also be singing a song with him at the performance.
“It’ll be special for us,” says Chasyn.
Chasyn’s hopes for the showcase are to simply have an enjoyable time with the other musicians and to create an experience he will never forget.
“I just hope I can gain an awesome memory from my senior year,” says Chasyn. His setlist includes all original songs including “I Don’t Want to Be Alone Tonight,” “One Makes Two Fools,” and “Real” which was recently released this summer. Chris Wiper
Chris Wiper, a commercial voice major, is overjoyed to finish out his last semester at Belmont with the showcase.
“This is a Hail Mary. I have this last big opportunity at school to make these connections using Belmont, and I don’t want to waste it,” says Wiper.
Wiper recognizes the impact the showcase could have on his future career in the music industry and does not take it lightly.
“It’s been something that everyone that has done something as an artist coming out of Belmont, it feels like this has been a really good steppingstone for them,” says Wiper.
Wiper feels the showcase is an important opportunity and that, at this point in his musical career, he is ready to take it.
“You get a certain amount of opportunities, and success is where preparation meets opportunity,” Wiper said.
Wiper explains that an already special experience is more special to him because of the friendships he has with the other artists in the showcase.
“I’m really, really excited to be performing with Grace Pelle and Chasyn because we’re all seniors, and we were all friends freshman year,” says Wiper. “They are some of my first friends.”
Wiper’s setlist consists of “Pink Whitney” and “Heat Stroke” from his EP that was released in May and “Mercury” which is an unreleased song. Sierra Carson
Pop-folk inspired Sierra Carson, a sophomore songwriting major, is gratified to see that her take on the pop genre is being recognized and her style being appreciated.
“What’s been really cool is seeing that just being myself and doing what’s authentic to my artistry is what got me there and made people listen,” Carson says.
Carson sees the showcase as a challenge for her and her band that she is ready and excited to take on.
“More than anything it’s definitely going to push me and my whole band as far as stage presence goes. Performing in such a big space is a really good push for all of us,” says Carson.
Carson recalls watching the showcase last year and is looking forward to being part of that atmosphere this year.
“I’m just excited to perform in front of my peers,” says Carson. “It’s really cool to bring everyone together. I think that’s one of the things that makes Belmont, Belmont.”
To say Carson was shocked when receiving the news that she made it to the showcase would be an understatement.
“I freaked out. I yelled at my roommate ‘Oh my gosh! You need to see this,’” says Carson. Carson will perform the songs “Trauma,” “High School Friends” and “Matches” all from her upcoming EP releasing in the spring.
This article was written by Karlie Souder. Contributory reporting by Lilly Owens.