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January 19, 2010

Lee University gains reputation as a dream school for vocalists

Chattanooga Times Free Press:

On the way to Jackson, Miss., for a recent performance, the Voices of Lee vocal ensemble pulled into a Mississippi truck stop in the wee hours of the morning to gas up their bus. As the singers walked in, remembers the group's director Danny Murray, a startled cashier asked, "Have ya'll been on TV? Weren't you on that 'Sing-Off?' You were my mama's favorite!" That brush with fame was the direct result of eight hours of prime-time exposure on NBC's nationally televised singing competition in December.

Lee University, in Cleveland, Tenn., has become known for its singers who have won spots on national reality shows such as "American Idol" and "The Sing-Off" over the last three years. Actually, university sources say, those singers are just the latest in a growing roster of emerging professional musicians to have passed through Lee's music department during the last two decades.

According to information provided by the university, the school had 60 music majors among its 750 grads in 2009. The department, while small, is nonetheless compiling an impressive list of nationally known alumni.

The musical "Who's Who" begins with Jay DeMarcus of country music band Rascal Flatts, who came to Lee for three years in the early 1990s after hearing one of Danny Murray's vocal groups perform in Ohio.

The talent line-up continues with Jimi Westbrook of the country group Little Big Town; Jeremi Richardson, Melissa Green and Janna Potter Long of the contemporary Christian quartet Avalon; Scott Stapp of the rock band Creed and Nathan Chapman, producer of Taylor Swift's "Fearless" CD, who is nominated for a Grammy in Best Country Album at next month's awards ceremony. Read more.

Posted by acapnews at January 19, 2010 12:00 AM


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