Video: Students get behind-the-scenes instruction before 54th Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas


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Photo and video courtesy of Andrew Oppmann / MTSU

MTSU students received behind-the-scenes instruction Sunday morning at rehearsals before the 54th Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas.

Students arrived in Sin City Friday to celebrate the achievements of several alumni, all of which are nominees in tonight’s ceremony, and to garner hands-on training they can’t get anywhere else.

The MTSU alumni who are among the 2019 ACM nominees are:

  • Chandler Baldwin, Jared Hampton and Eric Steedly, three of the five members of Lanco, which is nominated for Group of the Year and New Duo and Group of the Year;
  • Mitchell Tenpenny, nominated for New Male Artist of the Year;
  • Luke Laird, nominated for Song of the Year for “Space Cowboy” with Kacey Musgraves;
  • Michael Knox, nominated for Producer of the Year;
  • Hillary Scott, nominated with Lady Antebellum for Group of the Year;
  • And F. Reid Shippen, nominated for the ACM’s audio engineer of the year.

This is the second year in a row that College of Media and Entertainment alumnus and ACM CEO Pete Fisher has offered MTSU students a chance to utilize the awards show as a learning laboratory. Fisher and ACM telecast director Glenn Weiss taught a master class for the students during rehearsals, allowing them to shadow professionals and view how directors and producers stage the awards show.

“I have been able to get hands-on experience and training from the best in the industry, and no other school has this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Austin Forsberg, an MTSU senior, said in a university press release. “I am incredibly grateful to have this experience through MTSU.”
“It was loud, bright and active — all the elements you would have in a massive real-world production,” MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, who accompanied the students, said in the press release. “Our students and faculty soaked it all in.”

Students who attended were selected by Media Arts professor Bob Gordon and include Forsberg, senior Kevin Henkels, senior Madison Stewart and sophomore Ryan Tyler.

The ACM Awards will air Sunday night at 7 p.m. on CBS.

To contact News Editor Angele Latham, email

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