Musers & Performers

Performances are an integral part of the Tennessee Arts Academy experience. From the opening Overture Celebration to the final Finale Luncheon, a diverse group of artists and performing groups are featured at every Arts Academy event. Regional theatre, dance and music soloists and ensembles are showcased during a daily thirty-minute presentation in the Massey Performing Arts Center. On Sunday and Wednesday evenings a world-class artist is chosen to perform for TAA participants. The Belmont Mansion tour, the TAA art exhibitions, the TAA Carnival, Vendor Fair and Artist Market, and special event functions each include local artists as part of their program.

Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2019 Tennessee Arts Academy.

Presidio Brass
Brass Quintet

July 14 - 4:00 PM
Massey Performing Arts Center


Since forming in 2006, Presidio Brass has rocketed to success as the face of a bold new generation in brass entertainment. By combining a brass quintet with piano, percussion instruments, and fresh, original arrangements, the ensemble’s unique sound has become their trademark. In their hit touring show of Hollywood’s greatest hits, Sounds of the Cinema, the five young men of the group combine film music with a good dose of the wit and humor they’ve become known for. Hailing from San Diego, California, Presidio Brass has performed and provided educational outreach in more than forty states, conducted master classes at many of America’s finest colleges and universities, and has been featured on National Public Radio.

Each member of the ensemble began his music career by joining their school’s band program. Inspired by the dedication of their school music teachers, Presidio Brass came together with the primary mission to promote music education and music appreciation in youngsters. For this very reason, performances are often coupled with a master class or a school program for which the quintet volunteers their time.

Members of the ensemble have performed with major symphony orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, and San Diego Symphony, and have shared the stage with commercial and pop artists including Natalie Cole, Quincy Jones, and Stevie Wonder. In addition to performing as a brass quintet, Presidio Brass performs regularly as a part of Millennia Consort, one of the nation’s premiere brass, organ, and percussion ensembles. Millennia Consort is active in commissioning new works as well as arrangements of popular classical music.

The Presidio Brass has released four recordings. Their latest recording, Pictures of a New Beginning, includes commissions of new music by Craig Phillips, John Hirten, and Jon Naples and features an arrangement of the orchestral favorite “Pictures at an Exhibition” by the group’s tubist, Scott Sutherland. 

The Presidio Brass performance is made possible by generous gifts from KHS America; Country Music Association Foundation; and Sara Savell, in memory of Las Savell.

Nashville Ballet
72 Steps

July 15 - 11:30 AM
Massey Performing Arts Center


Commissioned by the League of Women Voters of Nashville and their Perfect 36 Supporters, 72 Steps explores themes of basic human rights, civic responsibility, and the ongoing battle for a more equitable society through the lens of the suffrage movement. With choreography and direction by Gina Patterson and music by Jordan Brooke Hamlin, 72 Steps takes an empowering and celebratory look at the ratification of the 19th Amendment and the vital role Tennessee played in its passage. The work transports audiences to the early 1900s as opposing groups frantically battle in favor and against the amendment in the Tennessee legislature’s vote. The League of Women Voters of Nashville is a non-partisan, volunteer organization that promotes the informed and active participation of citizens in government.

About Nashville Ballet

Nashville Ballet is the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee, presenting a diverse repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works by noted choreographers. Nashville Ballet and their second company, NB2 (a pre-professional training company), annually provide more than seventy thousand arts experiences to adults and children through season performances and community engagement programming. Curriculum-based programs bring dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries, and public schools across the state.

The Nashville Ballet’s performance of 72 Steps is made possible by a generous gift from Adolph Thornton Jr. AKA Young Dolph.

Nashville Children’s Theatre
Tuck Everlasting

July 17 - 11:30 AM
Massey Performing Arts Center


Nashville Children’s Theatre’s Tuck Everlasting is a Theatre for Young Audiences world premiere adaptation. The musical is based on the novel by Natalie Babbit, with music by Chris Miller, lyrics by Nathan Tysen, and book by Claudia Shear and Tim Federle. After adventuring beyond her white picket fence, “good girl” Winnie Foster meets the energetic teenager Jesse Tuck, who leads her on an unexpected, magical journey. Soon she is faced with an extraordinary question: If you could choose to live forever, would you? This heartfelt Broadway musical is full of soaring melodies and mischief.

Nashville Children’s Theatre

With the goal of fostering cultural curiosity in children, Nashville Children’s Theatre (NCT) provides transformational theatrical experiences to more than eighty thousand audience members each year. Their productions reflect an evolving community, instill profound empathy, and foster personal discovery. Founded in 1931, NCT continues to be the oldest professional equity children’s theatre in the nation and the largest theatre company in Middle Tennessee. Ranked as one of the top five children’s theatres in the country by Time Magazine, NCT productions, according to theatre critic Jeffrey Ellis, are “remarkable … proving that the company continues to set the standard to which others may aspire … the region’s flagship professional theatre company.”

The Nashville Children’s Theatre performance of Tuck Everlasting is made possible by a generous gift from Pat and Thane Smith.

Interview with Tuck Everlasting Composer – Chris Miller

About Nashville Children’s Theatre

Alton Fitzgerald White
Broadway My Way

July 17, 8:15 PM
Curb Event Center


Alton Fitzgerald White captivates audiences whenever he performs. The triple talented singer, actor, dancer has starred in six Broadway shows. He made his Broadway debut as John in Miss Saigon, where his performance of the anthem “Bui Doi” brought nightly ovations. White then moved on to major roles in both the hit rock-opera The Who’s Tommy and the Leiber and Stoller musical revue, Smokey Joe’s Café. His starring portrayal of Coalhouse Walker Jr. in Ragtime: The Musical was a milestone in White’s career. His time in the role, which began with the pre-Broadway original company in Toronto opposite six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, continued during the critically acclaimed North American tour, and ultimately led him to Broadway, opposite Tony award winner LaChanze. White’s next major move took him on the road to originate the role of Mufasa in the first national tour of Disney’s The Lion King. After just over a year of touring, he joined the Broadway company, where he played the role of Mufasa for a record breaking five and a half years. In 2007, White performed the role of Mister in Oprah Winfrey’s production of Alice Walker's novel The Color Purple opposite American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino. White’s many television appearances include episodes of Law and OrderMadam SecretaryBulland the recently released Fox network television special, Rent Live. He has featured roles in four upcoming films including The Goldfinch, in which he plays opposite actress Nicole Kidman. White has performed in concerts around the world and has become an in-demand motivational and keynote speaker. His CD, Disney My Way!, is filled with wonderfully reimagined Disney classics. In his recently released inspirational biography, My Pride: Mastering Life’s Daily Performance, White shares his secrets to fulfillment and joy in work and life.  

The appearance of Alton Fitzgerald White throughout the Academy week is made possible by a generous gift from Pat and Thane Smith.

Sympatico Percussion Quintet
Percussion Ensemble

July 18 - 11:20 AM
Massey Performing Arts Center


Sympatico Percussion Quintet offers listeners a dynamic program made of entertainment and intrigue, virtuosity and poignancy, and appealing melodies and vibrant rhythms from around the world. As chamber musicians, Sympatico members Susan Powell, Joe Krygier, Scott Herring, Chris Norton, and Juan Mendoza have recorded and toured internationally and across the United States with Pendulum Duo, Shiraz Trio, Alias Chamber Ensemble, Rosewind Duo, the Bob Becker Ensemble, and the Jack Daniel’s Silver Cornet Band. As symphonic percussionists, their list of credits includes core or auxiliary membership in the Alabama Symphony, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Eastern Philharmonic, Nashville Symphony, New Orleans Symphony, and Rochester Philharmonic. As Sympatico, they have performed at several Percussive Arts Society events and as part of various community, festival, and university concert series. Collectively, their collegiate teaching experience exceeds seventy years; Powell and Krygier teach at the Ohio State University, Herring teaches at University of South Carolina, Norton at Belmont University, and Mendoza at McMurry in Abilene, Texas. Sympatico’s diverse and eclectic repertoire includes rudimental drumming, ragtime xylophone, pop transcriptions, and wonderfully uncategorized original compositions that embrace global streams of contemporary musical styles. Enthusiastic audiences have said that Sympatico concerts are “beyond imagination” and “absolutely engaging!”

Sympatico’s performance is made possible by a generous gift from Bobby Jean Frost, in memory of Donna Frost; the Lingner Gift Fund; and Lee Stites, in memory of Marilee Kester Stites.