Students and famous artists to showcase music skills in combined performances

Victoria Cirilli

Staff Writer

“The Heart Behind the Music” concert will bring big country names and local student talent at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, in the Claudia Crosby Theater.

The concert features famous singer-songwriter artists like Teddy Gentry, Linda Davis and Marty Raybon.

The concert series focuses on bringing talented singers to the stage in a combined performance and storytelling experience, which allows the artists to explain how they were inspired to write their most famous songs.

“Our concerts are kind of like Pinterest — people are interested about how a song is crafted,” said Jack Landham, co-founder of Ecko Media Group, which tours “The Heart Behind the Music” across the South. “We have 40-60 artists that work with us from multiple genres.”

Landham explained that each of the country artists they work with is a singer as well as a songwriter, and the Saturday line-up has had a total of 57 No. 1 hits.

Although the concert specifically showcases country musicians, Landham said, “if you like music, you’ll love this show!”

Ava Symone Barrett, a junior music industry major from Freeport, The Bahamas, is performing “Does He Love You?” with Linda Davis. The Grammy award-winning song was originally a duet with Reba McEntire.

Josh McInnish, a senior music industry major from Cowarts, is playing the piano for Marty Raybon in the song “I Wanna Be Loved Like That.”

“It is such an honor to be performing with a major artist as Marty Raybon,” McInnish said. “It’s amazing what opportunities may fly into my lap, and some of those can really be door-openers.”

Both students have worked since early last semester on this upcoming performance, rehearsing their parts before even meeting Davis and Raybon.

“Rehearsals are going very well,” Barrett said. “I am preparing by not only just practicing the music but by trying to develop a personal connection to what the song is lyrically and melodically.

“I am most excited to perform alongside Linda Davis, but most importantly to learn from her and the other featured artists.”

Along with the featured student performers, music industry students are working with the production crew for setup, lights and sound system operations while gaining experience working with more experienced stars and production crews.

John Jinright, an associate professor of music, said the Troy Arts Council has been bringing concerts to the Troy area since the 1970s.

“We’ve had everything from string quartets to throat singers,” said Jinright.

Jinright is the head of the Troy Arts Council, which provides low-cost entertainment like “The Heart Behind the Music” three to four times a year, which has included famous acts like the Vienna Boys Choir and Dallas Brass in the past.

Jinright said this specific concert highlights artists who have not only been made popular through their own performances, but also by showcasing other singers performing songs they’ve written.

“It’s great to hear stories about how their music was created,” Jinright said. “It’s family friendly and personal.”

Tickets for “The Heart Behind the Music” concert are $8 for students. However, the first 125 students who show up with their student IDs will get in for free.

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