CMA EDU’s first chapter meeting of the year kicked off this week at Belmont University, with more than 275 students attending a meeting with Country star Billy Currington.

The meeting was held on Belmont’s campus in the Vince Gill Room, and the turnout was so large, it was a standing room only affair.

lauren klausing lo res

Lauren Klausing

“It was such an awesome experience to see the students and Billy connect on such an intimate level,” said CMA staffer Lauren Klausing, and a former Belmont CMA EDU chapter president.

Billy talked about his start in the industry and answered some questions from the crowd. He then did three acoustic songs that had everyone singing every single word.

“Since so many students come to Belmont to be artists, songwriters and work in the music business, this meeting not only provided them a chance to get plugged in, but to be encouraged by Billy to never give up on their dreams,” Klausing said.

Hilary Thomke, Belmont’s Chapter President, and the leadership team promoted the meeting and have kept the excitement about CMA EDU buzzing around campus.

Belmont University professor and CMA EDU faculty advisor Dan Keen

Belmont University professor and CMA EDU faculty advisor Dan Keen

A key element to the success of the CMA EDU program at Belmont is faculty advisor Dan Keen. He is also a professor at Belmont and goes beyond his responsibilities as an advisor and professor to lead, encourage and support not only the program, but the students involved.

The CMA EDU program started at Belmont in 2011, and since then has grown not only on Belmont’s campus, but 22 ambassador schools around the US.

Billy’s current single “Hey Girl” is No. 2 on Country Aircheck.

“Billy and his team were awesome to work with and are genuinely good people,” Klausing said. “CMA EDU wouldn’t be where it is without the help of the artist community willing to donate their time to give back to students. “