MTSU students were a major part of the “show behind the show” as the university partnered with Capitol Records at the “Capitol Street Party” on Nashville’s Music Row Sept. 21.
Eldridge Alexander and Sarah Fryar, seniors in the College of Mass Communication, were two of the 45 students handling TV production at the event, which drew a crowd estimated at 10,000 people on Demonbreun Street near the Music Row roundabout. (Watch video from the event here.)
The street show featured MTSU alumnus Eric Paslay (’05) headlining with Alan Jackson, Eric Church and Jon Pardi. Alexander and Fryar worked with Music Row professionals to produce the show in MTSU’s new $1.4 million Mobile Production Lab.
“Typically, we work on projects associated with college activities, but this is an opportunity to be around professionals at Capitol Records and network with MTSU alumni in the industry,” said Alexander, who served as assistant director for the production.
“Curt Cassassa, an MTSU alumnus who is a well-known director in the business, is the lead director. To work shoulder-to-shoulder with him is a great opportunity.”
Alexander’s job as assistant director was to be prepared to help Cassassa follow the action on stage, so what was on screen would flow with the music.
In the process, Alexander helped direct seven HD cameras that feed into the truck’s multiscreen video board.
Fryar was unit manager, or “mother hen” as she called it: organizing crew call, arranging crew credentials, parking, handling crew questions and finalizing the crew count for what would become a nonstop 16-hour day.
“That might seem to some like a long day, but the experience is so worth it,” said Fryar, who aspires to be a broadcast sports journalist.
“I went to another school for a year before MTSU, and I totally appreciate the experience that MTSU provides. It’s a big-time broadcast experience, and the new Mobile Lab just takes it over the top.”
MTSU students handled the HD cameras, boom mikes, street interviews and other duties.
John Merchant, MTSU assistant professor of recording industry, said his department is “thrilled” at the opportunity to showcase the students, faculty and staff of North America’s largest collegiate recording-industry program.
Bob Gordon and Dennis Oneal of Department of Electronic Media Communication also were instrumental in producing the event.
This was the Capitol Street Party’s fourth year. It originated as the “Capitol Pub Crawl” to allow the label to promote new talent. You can watch a slideshow of the night’s events here.
— Doug Williams (Doug.Williams@mtsu.edu)