Belmont at the Opry

opry songwriters round
Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business

Belmont at the Opry

April 11, 2024 | by Julia Couch Copeland


The Grand Ole Opry — a stage that has showcased country music's past, present and future for a century — provided the perfect backdrop for celebrating the culmination of Belmont University's 50 years of excellence in music business education. On Tuesday, April 9, "Belmont at the Opry" brought together a star-studded lineup of alumni songwriters and performers celebrating those who have left an indelible mark on the music industry. The night highlighted the enduring legacy of a program that has shaped the careers of thousands of industry professionals and continues to nurture the next generation of leaders.

The Belmont x Opry takeover included songs from Trisha Yearwood (’87), Tyler Hubbard (’09), Hailey Whitters (’12), Ian Munsick (’15) and Ashley Cooke (’19), and a special songwriters round with Ashley Gorley (’99), Nicolle Galyon (’06) and soon-to-be-inducted Songwriters Hall of Famer Hillary Lindsey.


Ian Munsick, Hailey Whitters, Hillary Lindsey, Nicolle Galyon, Brittany Schaffer, Greg Jones, Ashley Cooke, Ashely Gorley, Caroline Rupard, Dan Rogers

Ian Munsick, Hailey Whitters, Hillary Lindsey, Nicolle Galyon, Brittany Schaffer, Greg Jones, Ashley Cooke, Ashley Gorley, Caroline Rupard, Dan Rogers

Opry attendees were dazzled by hearing the stories and writers behind some of the biggest country hits — and Grammy Award winners — including “Tequila” (Dan + Shay) co-written by Nicolle Galyon; “Jesus, Take the Wheel” (Carrie Underwood) co-written by Hillary Lindsey; and “You Should Probably Leave,” (Chris Stapleton) co-written by Ashley Gorley.

“Have small goals,” recalled Galyon during the round. In the beginning, when I came to Belmont, I was just trying not to go home until fall break. Then I was trying to make my money last until Christmas.” Small goals kept her moving forward.

Lindsey added the importance of tenacity and remembering that “all it takes is one song.”

In addition to the announced performers, the audience was treated to a surprise appearance by country music superstar Brad Paisley ('95). The Belmont Bluegrass Ensemble also made its Opry debut, opening the show and setting the tone for an unforgettable night of music and celebration. 

“I wouldn’t be here without Belmont,” recalled Paisley from the Opry circle. “If you want to be in the music business, this is the best place to be.”

A Landmark Gift

Before the show, Belmont hosted an industry reception where plans were unveiled for its Music Row expansion, supported by a $58 million gift from the Curb family and the Mike Curb Foundation. This generous gift — the largest in University history — further solidifies Belmont’s commitment to nurturing talent and shaping the future of the music industry.

"It was a joy to partner with Opry for this momentous occasion, celebrating 50 years of Music Business at Belmont," said Brittany Schaffer, dean of the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business. "This program started as a partnership between Belmont and Music Row, and it is a joy to honor that legacy by highlighting the diverse accomplishments of our talented alumni on country music’s most famous stage.”

Throughout the past five decades, the Music Business program has grown exponentially, paving the way for specialized programs within the entertainment space, including audio engineering technology, songwriting, creative & entertainment industries, film, publishing and sport administration. Today, the Curb College offers 11 undergraduate and two graduate programs.

The music business student experience

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