FHU Music Program Coordinator Dr. Alan Kinningham has been working hard behind the scenes to organize this special event for students. “I am grateful for the opportunity to expose our music students to professionals in the music industry,” Kinningham said. “Janelle has worked her way up from performing at Dollywood to being a top-five finalist on American Idol. She has since become a recording artist and actress, performing at the Grand Ole Opry. She knows first-hand the hard work and dedication required to be successful in the field of entertainment.”
Arthur has been performing for audiences since she was 8-years-old and began portraying a young Dolly Parton on the stage in Dollywood theme park. Both as a child and later as an adult, she performed in over 3,000 shows in the Pigeon Forge area. In 2010, she decided to further pursue her music career in Nashville, Tennessee.
The rest of the country started taking notice when Arthur made it to the final rounds of American Idol, season 12, eventually placing fifth and earning her spot in a national tour. Since then, she has been a guest on The Today Show, The Kelly & Michael Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Access Hollywood and Today in Nashville. Arthur has either opened shows for or performed with such country music legends as Vince Gill, Rascal Flatts, Craig Morgan and The Band Perry. She has also been a repeated guest on the stage of the world-famous “Grand Ole Opry.”
In 2018, Arthur made her feature film debut in a faith-based drama called “Runnin’ From My Roots.” The accompanying single and title track for this film was co-written by Arthur and was featured on the movie’s soundtrack. Her next film, a faith-friendly romantic comedy entitled “Five Date Rule,” will be available soon.
During her Oct. 19 visit to Freed-Hardeman’s campus, Arthur will introduce herself by briefly addressing students near the end of that morning’s chapel program. From 1-2 p.m. she will offer select students the opportunity to participate in a one-on-one songwriting clinic. At 4 p.m. Arthur will speak in the Draughon Recital Hall on the topic of “Maintaining Christian Values In the Entertainment Industry.” Finally, beginning at 7 p.m. on the stage in Old Chapel Hall, FHU music students will present a “Songwriters Showcase” which will then be followed by a 30 minute musical set by Arthur. The concert is free, but donations will be accepted. A “tip jar” will be available with proceeds going to the FHU Music Concert Series.
Chris and Holly Hallmark have been instrumental in sponsoring and arranging this special appearance by Arthur. “Holly and I are thrilled to help bring Janelle Arthur to the Freed-Hardeman campus for what we know will be a fabulous performance and a unique opportunity for our music students to learn from an amazing singer-songwriter,” Hallmark, a newly appointed FHU trustee, said. “Not only is Janelle Arthur a rising star in country music, but she is a person of faith and the kind of role model we want our students to emulate.”
The mission of Freed-Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by empowering them with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees.