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Loyola University New Orleans Students Head to Americana Fest

Loyola press release - September 22, 2016

Loyola Popular and Commercial Music, Music Industry Studies majors meet industry executives and working professionals, mingle among the stars, while learning more about issues facing music and recording industries

Aspiring singers, songwriters, producers and music industry executives from Loyola University New Orleans are in Nashville this week attending Americana Fest. Two Loyola professors are serving on panels at the conference. Seven students from the university’s new Popular and Commercial Music and acclaimed Music Industry Studies programs are attending the conference with their professors, meeting recording industry professionals and learning more about current issues facing the music industry.

“Through the Popular and Commercial Music and Music Industry Studies programs at Loyola University New Orleans, we are training not only musicians, singers and songwriters of the future, but the music and recording industry leaders of the future as well,” said Kate Duncan, extraordinary professor of popular and commercial music at Loyola.

“Here at AmericanaFest, Loyola ‘PopComm’ and Music Industry Studies students are learning about current issues facing the music and recording industries, from new sync licensing legislation to the latest trends in digital streaming revenue. Loyola students are also taking advantage of this opportunity to network and learn from industry leaders, who can help them to secure internships — and just may be their future employers.”

The 17th Annual Americana Music Festival & Conference is hosted by the Americana Music Association in partnership with the Oklahoma Film + Music Office (Studio Oklahoma), the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts and Culture, and the Woody Guthrie Center. Each year, the Americana Music Festival & Conference brings together legendary artists, the next generation of rising stars, fans, and industry professionals for six days of music and education.

The festival, which includes a prolific array of panels, musical events, parties and special programs, runs September 20-25, at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel.

This year, two Loyola professors are participating in the conference as panelists. Mark F. Fernandez, a Woody Guthrie scholar who serves as Patricia Carlin O’Keefe Professor of History at Loyola, served on a special panel Tuesday afternoon presented in partnership with the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Okla., and moderated by Smithsonian Folkways Archivist Jeff Place.

Okie native Woody Guthrie will be posthumously awarded this year’s President’s Award at the star-studded 15th Annual Honors & Awards show. The Tuesday afternoon panel, “The Relevancy of Woody Guthrie Today,” focused on the iconic singer-songwriter’s lyrical relevancy promoting social justice, peace and equality. Fernandez, who is leading a transcription project at Loyola documenting a collection of interviews with the late American singer-songwriter, was a featured panelist alongside Greg Vandy, Jimmy LaFave, and musician Billy Bragg.

“It was great to hear the insight from Billy Bragg, Jimmy LaFave, and Greg Vandy on my panel, but it what was really amazing was to look out in the audience and see Kate Duncan and our Popular and Commercial Music and Music Industry Studies students appreciating our conversation,” said Fernandez. “Social justice is central to our mission at Loyola, and Woody Guthrie put so many of his ideas to music then voiced them in interviews that it’s especially exciting to now be documenting them at Loyola.”

Scott Billington, a Grammy Award winner who is Vice President of A&R at Rounder/Concord Records, as well as an adjunct professor who teaches a course called “Production of Recorded Music” at Loyola, will serve on a panel entitled “From the Song to the Bank,” which explores new ways for songwriters to monetize their products.

Also travelling with the group are Duncan, who helps to run the new Popular and Commercial Music program at Loyola, which one year in has doubled in size, and Jim McCormick, a Nashville songwriter and associate professor of music industry studies who teaches “The Business and Craft of Songwriting” at Loyola. McCormick’s songs have been recorded by artists ranging from Tim McGraw to Jason Aldean.