Belmont University's Student Road Crew: The Tour Launches...
Belmont University's Student Road Crew: The Tour Launches...

Ed. Note: For 10 music-business students of Belmont University in Nashville, the summer of 2012 will include an experience they probably never dreamed they'd be getting school credit for: Being the road crew for a touring band, handling everything from loading gear to making sure the band gets paid.

In this case, the touring band is that of Belmont professor Mark Volman -- who also happens to be a lead singer of the Turtles (the touring band in question) as well the Flo in Flo & Eddie -- who recruited several students to act as the group's road crew. They'll be sending us edited blog posts and videos throughout the tour; to see much longer posts, head here.

For ten Belmont Students, work on the "Happy Together Tour" has officially begun. The bus left campus last night packed full of excitement and camaraderie. Next stop, the first leg of the tour: River Center, Columbus, Georgia.

"As soon as I pulled into the Belmont loading docks to find my new lovely mobile home (the tour bus) awaiting me at midnight, I was instantly filled with excitement." says Lauren Walsh, a junior Entertainment Industry Studies major.

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The team boarded the bus and claimed their bunks wisely. "It is finally here! After months of planning and prepping, the trip of a lifetime is here. I am sitting on board the bus, heading to Atlanta and listening to the excited chatter of other students. While I am still bubbly with excitement, I'm uneasy in the fact that I have no idea what I have gotten myself into," says Emily Carver, a senior Entertainment Industry Studies major.

In the next two weeks the student team will work a dozen shows, lending their hand in various tour and production positions including live sound, stage management, merchandise, accounting and much more. "This opportunity is priceless," says Johnny Cloherty, a junior Entertainment Industry major. "The ability to have options like this is the reason I came to Belmont. We can only learn so much in a classroom or from a textbook before we must embark on a journey and use the tools Belmont has given us."

Mark Volman, A.K.A 'Flo' of the Turtles and Curb College professor of Entertainment Industry Studies will be guiding the student's firsthand tour experience through instruction and lesson plans. "Only at Belmont do students get such a unique opportunity to experience the world of tour management, live production, and what life on the road looks like before embarking on their career paths. I'm excited to teach them what I know outside a normal classroom space and to see what I'll learn from them. Inevitably, their energy will add to the tour experience for the performers as well," says Mark Volman.

The "Happy Together Tour" unites several pop/rock artists of the '60s all together on one stage, starring The Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie; The Monkees lead singer Micky Dolenz; Gary Puckett & The Union Gap; The Grass Roots; and The Buckinghams. With the obvious generation gap between the performing artists and students, I believe we will see an interesting dynamic of both sounds and personalities.

On June 8th the students met up with the rest of team in Columbus, Georgia to officially dive into their "Happy Together" touring experience. "I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. I am a little nervous just because I don't know what to expect but I am mostly excited! I'm ready for an awesome learning experience!" said Tate Forbes, a junior Audio Engineering major, before the tour.

I, Donnie Hedden, a member of the student team and senior Entertainment Industry Studies major, will be writing to you, doing my best to report the tale of ten students learning firsthand from seasoned legends of classic rock. Join us on this extraordinary experience, be sure to tune into the student blogs, photos, and videos. Onward!

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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