Music veteran Charlie Peacock ‘passes baton’ to Brown Bannister, new interim director of School of Music

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Music industry veteran Charlie Peacock is passing the baton as director of Lipscomb University’s School of Music to Grammy winning producer Brown Bannister.

bannister_350Bannister brings nearly four decades of experience in the music industry as one of the most successful music producers in the contemporary Christian music world, having sold more than 50 million records that he has produced, to Lipscomb University’s George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts, which houses the School of Music.

Charlie Peacock, founding director of the university's contemporary music program, is stepping down to devote time to addressing health issues that have been developing over the past year but will remain a member of the school’s advisory board. Peacock, who joined the George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts faculty as artist-in-residence in 2014, was named director of Lipscomb’s School of Music in 2015.

“Charlie has played a tremendous role in building a strong foundation for our multi-dimensional School of Music and in launching our contemporary music program,” said Mike Fernandez, dean of the George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts. “Through his deep relationships in the music industry, he has developed numerous key connections for Lipscomb that will help the School of Music continue to flourish for years to come. We are grateful for his significant contribution to this program and most importantly to the many students he impacted during his time here. We wish him well as he takes time to tend to his health, and look forward to his continued input as a member of our advisory board.”

Under Peacock’s leadership, the contemporary music program was founded; overall music enrollment increased significantly and is now one of Lipscomb’s fastest-growing academic areas; a house near campus was renovated and developed into a “Music Row house” complete with a recording studio, editing suites and rehearsal space; an advisory board for the School of Music was formed; and music industry leaders and arts professionals joined the school as faculty, adjunct instructors and artists-in-residents to expand its technical and cultural reach, preparing 21st century creators, performing artists and educators for a lifetime of musical work. In May, Lipscomb University became owner of the Sound Emporium, one of Nashville’s vibrant recording studios for nearly 50 years with the goal of preserving the professional production capacity of the studio while looking for subtle ways for it to serve as a real-world learning lab for contemporary music students in the university’s George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts.

contemporary_350“While I’ve received incredible support from students, faculty and the dean, it has become necessary to resign my position as director of the School of Music so I can focus on my health. I appreciate everyone’s kindness, encouragement and support during this challenging time,” said Peacock.

“Though I’ve only been at Lipscomb University for a short three years, it has been a richly rewarding experience and one that I will always be thankful for. I leave with great confidence in the sovereignty of God and the work that has been achieved by the students and faculty of the School of Music over these last three years,” he continued.

Fernandez said Bannister will build on the strong foundation laid by Peacock.

?“Without a doubt, Brown Bannister is a leader in the Nashville music community and has the vision that will take Lipscomb’s School of Music to the next level,” said Mike Fernandez, dean of the George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts. “He is well-respected across the music industry and has the expertise and connections that will give our students the best learning opportunities as they train to enter careers in music.”

Bannister has won 15 GRAMMY® Awards, over 20 Dove Awards and has been named “Producer of the Year” five times by the Gospel Music Association and is a member the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. For 30 years, Bannister has produced numerous artists including B.J. Thomas, Steve Wariner, Kenny Rogers and Kris Allen as well as award-winning albums for some of the industry’s top Christian artists, including Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, Mercy Me, CeCe Winans and Michael Tait.

A graduate of Abilene Christian University, Bannister will head a transition team comprised of music industry veterans that will have three major tasks over the next year, said Fernandez.

“They will ensure the continuation of a strong music industry mentoring program that Charlie began,” he said. “They will also work with the school of music faculty to sculpt an exciting 21st century vision for all programs: contemporary music, music education and classical performance. Finally they will oversee a national search for the next director of Lipscomb University’s School of Music.”

This transition team includes singer/songwriter Amy Grant, Tim Lauer, veteran studio musician, songwriter and executive music producer for the television show Nashville; Gordon Kerr, CEO of Black River Entertainment, a company that represents former Lipscomb student Kelsea Ballerini and sponsor of CEA at the Well; Randy Goodman, chairman & CEO of Sony Music Nashville and a Lipscomb alumnus; and Juanita Copeland, vice president at Sound Emporium.

Bannister said he looks forward to continuing to build a strong music program at Lipscomb University that will prepare its students to be ready for the job market or graduate school on day one.

“At this point in my career, I am eager to have an opportunity to make an impact on future music professionals by sharing my experiences and lessons learned in my nearly 40 years in the business,” said Bannister. “I look forward to mentoring these students, helping them make connections with industry experts, giving them hands-on learning opportunities and preparing them for their careers by providing a strong inter-disciplinary educational foundation. I look forward to this opportunity, and am especially excited about being a part of a Christian institution with which I share common values and beliefs.”

Lipscomb University’s School of Music has grown into one that is being recognized as a program on the move. This summer, it was recognized as one of the top in the country by SuccessfulStudent.org, which recently released its list of the top 25 programs in the country. Other institutions on the top 25 list include The Juilliard School, the New England Conservatory of Music, Berklee College of Music, and Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music among others. 

“Charlie has worked tirelessly to build a commercial program that gives our students the best educational foundation possible with which to pursue their career goals in music,” said Fernandez. “He has built a program that not only equips students with the skills they need to be the best at their craft, but has given them the opportunity through his experience and knowledge of the industry, to get a real-world view of the music industry. It is especially impressive that he has envisioned this new program within a holistic school of music where rigorous classical training and flexible entrepreneurial practice benefit each other. Charlie’s vision has given our students the confidence they need to enter an often-challenging profession and has armed them with the tools they need to succeed.”

Lipscomb University’s George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts is the fastest growing college in the university, with undergraduate degrees in animation, cinematic arts, fashion and design, contemporary and classical music, theater and dance, and visual arts. Graduate programs include Master of Arts degrees in film and creative media, Master of Fine Arts degrees in film and creative media with writer and director tracks and a Master of Fine Arts/Master of Business Administration blended degree. With training from artists-in-residence like Steve Taylor, Charlie Peacock and others, the CEA provides a real world experience where students are inspired to create what’s next for the marketplace.  The mission of Lipscomb University's George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts is to be a Christ-centered, innovative, entrepreneurial arts community committed to rigorous artistic training, creative collaboration and professional growth that seeks to train the next generation of believer artists who seek to uplift, challenge and entertain culture through their art. For more information about Lipscomb’s School of Music, visit music.lipscomb.edu or visit cea.lipscomb.edu to learn more about the George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts.