MTSU Out of the Blue: August 2019

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MTSU Out of the Blue: August 2019

Coming up on this edition of Out of the Blue, from Middle Tennessee State University We tell you about the revival of the Blue Zoo, a new student group that’s working to bring more fan energy to Blue Raider Athletics We explore the Center for Popular Music at MTSU, one of the oldest and largest research centers for the study of American folk and pop music And we look at some of the features and the latest edition of MTSU Magazine, which arrived in alumni mailboxes in late July I’m Andrew Oppmann and this is Out of the Blue [MUSIC] Welcome to Out of the Blue I’m Andrew Oppmann The Blue Zoo was once the name given to the student sections at MTSU’s Floyd stadium and Murphy Center In its heyday, the Zoo was both loud and proud But the Blue Zoo faded into history And now Kobe Hermann and a team of fellow students are bringing the Blue Zoo back to life Kobe is here with us today along with Chelsea Floyd, our Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing, to talk about this and other changes for the football season Welcome to Out of the Blue >> Thank you for having us >> So Kobe, I know this has been a labor of love over the summer for you But let’s just start with the basics Why the Blue Zoo, why do we need the blue? Yeah, so when I first came to MTSU or when I first made my decision to come here, it was right around the time that we beat Michigan State in March Madness It was a great time And I was really excited to come to a campus that had such a great energy from a student section, and just had so much success in Division 1 athletics And so when I first got here I was greeted with the Blue Zoo, which was an awesome student section, everybody was having fun But then the creator graduated and things, I noticed that things kind of started to decline after my first couple years here So I came up with the idea of coming back with more structure, but taking their initial idea from what started as a social media page that just kind of grew into a movement And I took that and made it into more of an organized effort for all students to have a great experience at games >> And one of the things you mentioned, giving it more structure, because they really were fantastic I mean, the old Blue Zoo was everything you wanted in a good rally section, but when they didn’t have a mechanism to pass the torch along, they lost something in that And Chelsea, that was difficult to kinda bring until someone else wanted to step forward, right? >> It was difficult for me because when I went to school here, Blue Zoo was in its prime I remember having a mesh banner at football, being loud at Murphy Center for basketball and to move into a marketing assistant role right when they left and to see it kind of fall I knew that was something that I remember I cherished as a student and I did not want to lose that and I wanted someone that could bring it back to life And I knew that in the role I was in that I might not be able to do it, but I I had a hope that it would come back at some point >> And one of the things I’ve loved about following your progress over the summer is that you’re starting the foundation of the new Blue Zoo with incoming freshman, the folks that are just arriving Talk about how you’re reaching those new students and how you’re talking to them about the blue >> We knew that we wanted to have a great base of freshmen coming in because when you start a new movement, you need people who are going to be able to carry it on once you’re done So we made it a big effort to attend the customs orientation sessions Tell them what we’re doing Try to let them know that, hey, this is something that we have done before and it’s a lot of fun And if you guys can get behind it, it’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy If you don’t go to games, then it’s not going to be fun for everybody But if everybody can can get behind this idea and they all show up, then it’s a great time We’ve been at every customs orientation session, speaking alongside coaches to the whole group We’ve also had a table at the student organization fairs that they have for each session And we’re up over 1,500 students who have marked their interest and that’s just incoming freshmen So we know that the movement is resonating with a lot of incoming freshmen >> Chelsea, that’s important to get those incoming freshmen, right? If freshmen get engaged with MTSU athletics They’ll become sophomores, hopefully juniors and seniors and then alums, right? >> Yeah in marketing we attend customs too We do a departmental fair where we kinda tell them about our department and then we meet with them in the morning with coaches and alongside Kobe And that’s important to us because when we get to the freshmen, they have four years We hope they’re here four years And that’s four years of when they’re freshmen and they enjoy the games And so you got it started and we’ve got to keep it going But we also have to have people that we know will be here a while So getting your freshmen on board is really important, and resonates to our older students that are sophomores, juniors,

and seniors When they see the freshmen are involved and going to games, they’re like all right, we can come and join you guys and we can be friends and we can socialize I want it to be a social time I want it to be fun for everyone >> So Chelsea, let’s talk about some of the changes coming to Floyd stadium this fall Start with the beer garden What the heck is going on there, that’s gonna be actually on the field, right? >> Yeah, so Blue Raider Beer Garden started as a thought after our Conference USA championship We did a hospitality tent on our field And after this season we kinda were like, what new attractions could we add? And it took a visit to a couple of minor league baseball parks and I was like We need a beer garden We have this MTSU fermentation science program We need to be united some way where it makes it fun and we can test things The experience that you’re going to get by being on the field with beer and being with corn hole and jinga, it’s just a party >> Mm-hm, and it’s literally right behind the end zone I mean, when you say on the field, you’ll be on the same turf as the players, not on the playing field itself But you’re gonna be outside of the playing field, right? >> 12 feet, I think, from the end zone So you are, I mean, you’re inside, you’re on turf I mean, one long football pass and you might be catching a football, how cool is that >> [LAUGH] That is pretty cool It’s nothing like it in Tennessee athletics, it’s just this incredible, no other university has anything like this But also in addition to the Beer Garden, you’ve got the Enhanced Family Fun Zone And that’s really attractive to another definable market too, right? The families that wanna bring kids to games and have fun >> Yeah, of course A couple of years back, when I was a student we used to have Raider Town We used to have bands and it used to always be outside the stadium And the years have gone by, and most people like to tailgate with their friends and family, and then move into the stadium So that extra Raider Town was just a stop inside, and we really don’t wanna do that anymore So we’re like, why don’t we bring it inside? And in the past, we’ve always had one or two inflatables up there, but we’ve never really paid attention to it So this year we wanted to bring it, like a carnival theme I mean, four inflatables, a balloon artist, a face painter Different carnival games, like every game And adding a couple picnics where parents of the kids can come and sit and chat, watch the game, because you’re in a prime view I mean, you’re right there over the field >> Right >> And your kids can play >> Right, and both of these attractions, both the beer garden and the family fun zone, no additional cost If you are already at the game you can go, right? >> Everything is free Once you’re in our game, we want you to experience everything that you can Because you’ve paid to get into that game, we wanna provide you enough fun experience So, Family Fun Zone is free, any kid can come up there and play, get their face painted, no cost The Blue Raider Beer Garden, if you’re 21 and up, you can go down that garden and have a beer Play some games, just socialize with friends, grab a brat or hot dog from up of our grill that we’re gonna have there We wanna give you an enhancement >> Now you’ve got to pay for the beer, and you gotta pay for the brat, right? >> Gotta pay for the beer and the brat You can be in our club level, you can be a parent with a student guest ticket, anyone can come You can even be a visitor If you’re visiting our stadium, we want you to enjoy your time, cuz we also want you to come back >> Well Chelsea, that sounds exciting and it is gonna be a great experience for fans Thank you both for being on Out of the Blue and sharing all this with us >> Yes, thank you for having us >> Thank you so much >> And we’ll be right back >> Your MTSU Alumni Association has a goal of placing this pin, on the lapel of all those who call this campus theirs Let’s pass that tradition on >> Let’s pass it on [MUSIC] >> Don’t underestimate me >> Don’t count me out >> Don’t limit my potential >> Don’t block my runway >> We, are Middle Tennessee State University >> I exceed expectations >> I work harder than the rest >> I set the tone >> I still serve with honor >> I go the distance >> I am True Blue [MUSIC] >> I am True Blue >> As a member of this diverse community >> I am a valuable contributor- >> To its progress and success >> I am engaged in the life of this community >> I’m a recipient, and a giver >> I’m a listener >> And a speaker >> I’m honest in word and deed >> I am committed to reason, not violence >> I am a learner >> Now and forever >> I am a Blue raider >> I am a Blue raider >> I’m a blue raider >> True Blue [MUSIC] >> Pass the tradition on >> Pass the tradition on >> Pass it on >> Do you want the advantages of a major university,

with the Ivy League experience of an Honor’s College? What you’re looking for is right in front of you Middle Tennessee State University’s beautiful campus, is home to over 140 majors, taught in state of the art facilities Our undergraduates get hands on experience, working alongside a highly respected and caring faculty Take a closer look, become True Blue [MUSIC] >> Don’t underestimate me >> Don’t count me out >> Don’t limit my potential >> Don’t block my runway >> We are Middle Tennessee State University >> I exceed expectations >> I work harder than the rest >> I set the tone >> I still serve with honor >> I go the distance >> I am True Blue [MUSIC] >> Welcome back to Out of the Blue I’m Andrew Oppmann The center for popular music at Middle Tennessee State University, is one of the worlds oldest and largest research centers devoted to the study of folk and popular music The archive holds more than 1 million items related to American music traditions In formats that range from sheet music to song books, and sound recordings to photographs and posters Here to tell us more, is Dr. Greg Rish, Director of the Center, and welcome to Out of the Blue >> Thank you for having me >> We should have had you on a long time ago You’ve got a great center >> I always have a lot to talk about We have a lot going on at the center all the time >> Fantastic stuff, but tell our viewers who may not be familiar with the Center for Popular Music Give me the fast elevator pitch What’s the center like, what does it do, and how unique it is in the world of music? >> It’s been in existance since 1985, and it’s primary function is as a research archive So, we preserve rare and original materials, sound recordings, sheet music, sacred and secular song books, photographs, manuscripts, correspondence, all kinds of things related to all kinds of American folk and commercial music making, vernacular music as we sometimes call it So we are there as a preservation site, but also to provide those materials to students, musicians, researchers, documentarians We serve the students and faculty of MTSU first and foremost naturally, but we are also open to the greater community of scholars and musicians We have people coming literally from all over the world to work with materials that they simply cannot find anywhere else in one place, some of them are truly unique one of a kind items In addition to that, we do a lot of public programming, we have concerts, we have workshops and symposia and conferences, we have authors come in and give book talks about various topics in popular music studies We have film screenings, where we have people involved with the making the films come in and talk about the work that they’re doing We’re trying to bring the the study, the embrace, the preservation of American folk and popular music to as wide an audience as we can We also operate a Grammy winning record label called Spring Fed Records, which is dedicated to preservation and dissemination of folk music of the South So we have a lot of string band music and blues, and black gospel, and southern Texas quinto music From San Antonio, we have a wide diversity of things representing grassroots music of the American South >> Very recently, the Grammy Museum Grant Program, included the Center with an amazing array of institutions, the Smithsonian Institution, the City College of New York, Tulane, the San Francisco Symphony, an array of great organizations to receive grants for music research and sound preservation And here we are, the Center for Popular Music, talk about the grant that they’ve given to you, and what you hope to use that money to achieve >> Yeah, so this is actually our third Grammy Grant It’s one that’s just commenced And it is a project to catalog and digitize a significant portion of a massive collection that we have in the archive, John Hartford’s audio tapes John Hartford died in 2001, and he was a central figure in folk, Americana, Bluegrass, Newgrass, which is a kind of progressive bluegrass and he was a central figure in the birth of that And his Impact and his influence are still very much with us today, a lot of younger musicians really revere John >> Mm hm >> He was a compulsive documentor of everything he did for years, he was at the centre of the Nashville acoustic music scene, he knew everybody, he played with everybody,

he wanted to play music 24 hours a day if he could And he taped everything that he did, every jam session, every live performance, every visit he made to an old fiddler that he was trying to learn from, he recorded everything And so this particular grant program from the Grammy Museum, is to digitize and carefully catalog with all of the content song titles, what musicians are heard on the tapes of jam sessions that he recorded I decided to focused on those as our first big chunk of the entire collection These are recordings, some of them made in John’s house, where there were jams going on very, very frequently Some of them made in other people’s homes He liked to visit Earl Scrugg’s home He was good friends with Earl Scruggs They both lived up in Madison, Tennessee, just north of Nashville And some of the jams were made at venues backstage at the Opry or at fiddle contests and so on Now we haven’t dug into very much of this yet, that’s what the grant is gonna allow us to do, to digitize all of it, to preserve the tapes, to convert it all to digital But also to go through and spend time listening to the tapes and hearing exactly what it is >> Wow, who knows what you’re gonna find >> Yeah, we really don’t know >> I mean you really don’t know >> Yeah >> I mean cuz until you listen to them, you don’t know what you got >> Right, right >> But how appropriate that this is falling to you to do I noticed this is a book, John Hartford’s Mammoth Collection of Fiddle Tunes, that you were one of the compilers and narrators of this book >> Yes, this was a book that came out in the summer of 2018 And it is a sort of a biography of John’s life with the fiddle He’s often known as a songwriter and he’s a banjo player, and for good reason Composer of Gentle on My Mind, that was his big hit that financed a lot of his other investigations and interests over the rest of his life But he was absolutely a fanatic about all things fiddle And that was a part of his story that really was under appreciated and hadn’t been told yet One of the things that the Hartford family found among his effects when he passed away was a multiple stacks actually of music notebooks, spiral bound manual script books, that John had filled up with fiddle music Some of it was transcription of other things that he heard, but most of it was original tunes And very few of these tunes ever got into circulation, he only recorded literally a handful of them, played literally a handful of them out of thousands of tunes that he wrote So these are like musical diaries of a sort, over the course of nearly 20 years of work So I had the opportunity to interview a long list of prominent musicians who knew John, were around when a lot of these tunes were being written, although they didn’t necessarily know it He even named tunes for some of these famous musicians Bela Fleck and Sam Bush and Norman Blake and Nancy Blake and just lots and lots of people who donated their time to share stories with me about the creation of these tunes, about John’s fiddle world So a lot of the narrative that’s in here, there’s a long introduction and then more text that is run throughout the book comes from those interviews But also from information gleaned from the notebooks themselves, and that is interspersed with photographs from the Hartford archive and some of John’s own delightful line drawings He was a fine illustrator, just a creative figure of enormous magnitude >> Greg, what an amazing archive, what an amazing center I do wanna mention the book one more time, John Hartford’s Mammoth Collection of Fiddle Tunes, available now on Amazon and- >> Amazon >> Where you buy your books >> Right, or you can go to the Hartford Office own website, just Google it, it will come right up >> Thanks for being on Out of the Blue >> Thanks for having me, it’s been a pleasure >> And we’ll be right back >> You’re MTSU Alumni Association has a goal of placing this pin on the lapel of all those who call this campus theirs Let’s pass that tradition on >> Let’s pass it on [MUSIC] >> Don’t underestimate me >> Don’t count me out >> Don’t limit my potential >> Don’t block my runway >> We are Middle Tennessee State University >> I exceed expectations >> I work harder than the rest >> I set the tone >> I still serve with honor >> I go the distance >> I am True Blue [MUSIC]

>> I am true blue >> As a member of this diverse community- >> I am a valuable contributor- >> To its progress and success >> I am engaged in the life of this community >> I’m a recipient and a giver >> I’m a listener- >> And a speaker >> I’m honest in word and deed >> I am committed to reason, not violence >> I am a learner- >> Now and forever >> I am a Blue Raider >> I am a Blue Raider >> I’m a Blue Raider >> True Blue [MUSIC] >> Pass the tradition on >> Pass the tradition on >> Pass it on >> Do you want the advantages of a major university with the Ivy League experience of an Honors College? What you’re looking for is right in front of you Middle Tennessee State University’s beautiful campus is home to over 140 majors taught in state of the art facilities Our undergraduates get hands on experience working alongside a highly respected and caring faculty Take a closer look, become true blue >> Middle Tennessee State University offers more than 100 Masters and Doctoral degrees designed for working professionals Many of MTSU’s graduate programs are offered partially or completely online More information is available at mtsu.edu/graduate >> Welcome back to Out of the Blue I’m Andrew Oppmann The latest edition of MTSU Magazine, our premiere publication that reaches more than 110,000 alums twice a year, was just delivered to readers a few days ago And here to tell us all about it is Drew Ruble, our Senior Editor of MTSU Magazine and a former host of this very program, Out of the Blue Welcome back to your show >> Well I don’t know if it was my show One time at Kennon Hall of Fame I did broadcast the show, and that was quite an experience for me >> Well you’ve made a mark, welcome back >> Thank you >> So let’s talk about the cover story Let’s talk about this It’s very recognizable to our audience, this is our chairman of the board, Steve Smith And the title of this is called Legendary Comebacks, and there’s a double meaning to that Obviously a baseball player with a personal story, but also a student academic story behind that Why don’t you fill our readers in >> The state of Tennessee has a program, an initiative, called the Drive to 55 This is a program intended to get 55% of all Tennesseans to degree attainment, college degree attainment, by the year 2025 This is obviously an important program for higher education in the state It’s an important program for economic development and business development across the state as well And MTSU is one of the largest degree granting institutions in the state, plays a big role in this One of the ways that MTSU fulfills on that promise is through the adult degree completion program that it’s been running for quite a while It’s a wildly successful program These are people who had some college credit, dropped out for one reason or another But MTSU actively recruits people like this to come back to college To Mr. Smith, he has to be the highest profile adult degree completer in the history of MTSU As you can see from the cover, he’s wearing a baseball cap, he’s holding a baseball He was a student athlete at MTSU in the 70s He experienced a terrible car accident, he experienced probably a more terrible recovery from that accident, but he did fight his way back to pitch for the team again In fact he was part of a conference championship team, I believe in 1976, at MTSU But he would be the first one to tell you that he was here to play ball, not necessarily for academics His father was very successful in real estate He took a job with his father I dropped out of college >> Left without a degree >> Left college, left without a degree Talk about wildly successful, I mean you’re talking about Mr Smith The real estate company is one of the largest in the state of Tennessee He also casts a very large shadow over Tennessee politics and in the state GOP So why did he come back? If you ask him, he will tell you the main reason that he did this was to set an example for student athletes at MTSU He casts a very large shadow on the campus of MTSU, particularly in the athletic realm He’s at all the games He’s a significant supporter and donated to the athletics program In fact, the baseball field is named in honor of his father, as a result of a gift that he gave to the university And he told us that he hopes that student athletes today look at him and say, hey, if getting a degree was important to Mr Smith and he’s 60-something, then maybe it’s important for me to get my degree as well, not just play ball here at MTSU >> MTSU Magazine is, we call it the premier publication of the university for a big reason Because if we have your address, [LAUGH] we will send you a copy of this magazine And you’re an alum of this university, it’s a huge benefit of our MTSU Alumni Association to provide this

But it is also our primary storytelling device too And one of the other stories I noticed with interest in the book was our package on our Ready to Work degree programs And that’s a relatively new phrase in our lexicon, the Ready to Work Why don’t you talk a little bit about that, and why that’s kind of entering into our vocabulary? >> Okay, and it does connect really to the adult degree completion program I’m an English major, I have a masters degree in writing I’m actually working on a PhD right now that’s at the intersection of sport and fiction So I’m a big liberal arts guy I’m a big proponent of the value of a liberal arts education I think I’m evidence of someone who can be successful in life, and get work, and contribute to the economy as a liberal arts major That said, I also, my last job before coming to MTSU was as an editor at the only statewide business magazine in Tennessee And I can tell you, there’s not a CEO or a business owner across the state of Tennessee that isn’t Interested and concerned about higher education’s role in preparing a workforce, and preparing people for jobs of tomorrow, and moving Tennessee’s economy forward So what we tried to do with this piece is take a look at a sampling of programs at MTSU And it is a sampling, it’s not comprehensive But about 15 to 20 programs that really stick out when it comes to preparing graduates for real life jobs, jobs of tomorrow, jobs that are needed in the state today, and we call it Ready to Work Concrete management would be a great example This is a first of its kind program in the nation It was conceived in partnership with industry There’s not a graduate of that program that doesn’t have five, ten job offers for high-paying jobs on the table before they graduate >> It’s absolutely incredible >> It is incredible And if you need any further proof that this is important to the state, consider that the General Assembly in their last budget cycle set aside, I believe, $30 million in state funding to build a stand-alone building on this campus to house this program So, really a signature program for MTSU, and one that speaks to this ready-to-work graduates theme >> I love the fact that you’ve made the connection to a liberal acts education President McPhee is very, very passionate about that He feels that in order to prepare people for the jobs to come, that the fifth or sixth job in their lives and careers, they need to have that good grounding in liberal arts And that’s what makes our university and these Ready to Work programs special, because of that liberal arts base from the College of Liberal Arts, which is fantastic >> Well, Drew, thanks for coming on the show, sharing MTSU Magazine It’s already in the hands of our readers as we speak, been there for a couple of days We appreciate you telling us all about all the wonderful things in this edition >> Thank you >> And this does wrap up another edition of Out of the Blue But before we go, I’d like to give a shout-out to our producer, Rob Janson, who recently received not just one, but two national Telly Awards for his video work at our university And this very show was recently honored by the Tennessee College Public Relations Association as the best news broadcast among the state’s universities Congratulations to Rob and our entire Out of the Blue crew Now you can find more stories and videos about the campus 24 hours a day, by visiting our website, mtsunews.com And we invite you to follow MTSU on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for additional special content I’m Andrew Oppmann, and I hope you’ll always remain True Blue [MUSIC]