Carson-Newman Celebrates Blair Gift with Two Events

Taming the Savage Beast - Dr. Mark Hussung, interim dean of Fine Arts, plays a Boston piano, one of the 14 new instruments provided by the Nancy Jane Blair estate. A pair of upcoming events will celebrate the 1959 alumna’s benevolence to her alma mater.

Students and faculty members from Carson-Newman College’s music department will demonstrate their gratitude for the late Nancy Jane Blair with two events in the coming days.

The first event, slated for 2 p.m. Saturday, will be an on-campus celebration and dedicatory concert in Thomas Recital Hall, part of Tarr Music Center. Other activities will include the opportunity to see instruments provided, a demonstration of the new classroom technology and for the benefactor’s friends to record Story Core-style audio memories that will be archived in the department’s library.

On Tuesday evening, several music majors will perform at Knoxville’s American Piano Gallery, located on Parkside Drive. Featuring three pianists, two instrumentalists and four vocalists, the 7 p.m. concert will include a mix of solo and collaborative music.

Blair, a Knoxville native and 1959 Carson-Newman alumna, bequeathed a $500,000 estate gift to her alma mater’s music program. To fulfill herwish for immediate use, funds were directed to purchase 14 new pianos, refurbish four others as well as three organs, and provide Tarr Music Center its first Smartboard-equipped classroom.

“Much of the generous donation was used to purchase our new Steinway & Boston pianos and to rebuild four older models for enhanced teaching, practice and performance,” said Dr. Ryan Fogg, associate professor of piano and director of keyboard studies. “With the recent delivery of the instruments from American Piano Gallery, our students are enjoying the benefits of the exciting investment and its provisions.”

C-N’s music department currently has 10 fulltime faculty and approximately 90 majors in pursuit of undergraduate degrees in performance, church music, music education, music theory, or music with an outside field.