SUU Commercial Music Program Strikes a Chord: NAMM Showcase and February Festival Featuring Joseph Wooten

Published: January 05, 2024 | Author: Kol Gibson | Read Time: 5 minutes

Commercial Music students pose in front of Anaheim Conference Center in spring 2023.In its second year, the Commercial Music program at Southern Utah University has a fantastic reputation in the music world. Because of their renown and the hard work of Dr. McKay Tebbs, the program’s director, they have earned exclusive opportunities to learn, grow, and perform this semester.

For almost 10 years now, Tebbs has been bringing groups of students to the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Trade Show in Anaheim, California to help them learn how to network and develop professionally. He learned of an opportunity to have bands perform at the show and that the SUU Commercial Music ensemble “Alternate Currents” could apply and was very excited when the group was selected to perform on the big outdoor stage in front of the Anaheim Convention Center on Friday, January 26, 2024 at 11:00 a.m.

“Performing at the NAMM show is an honor and privilege,” shares Dr. Tebbs, “The stage is huge and has thousands of people watching performances and passing by every day of the Trade Show. I’ve seen acts like Kenny Loggins, Lindsey Stirling, and Earth Wind and Fire perform on that stage! It is a dream come true for Alternate Currents and something that I would have loved to do when I was starting out my music career.”

For over 120 years, the NAMM trade shows have been strengthening the music products industry and promoting the pleasures and benefits of making music. The organization's vision is to create a world in which music and making music is truly valued and everyone has the opportunity and the right to engage with music at all levels of interest. Dr. Tebbs’ students will have the chance to impress the crowds onstage, and then make important connections with industry leaders.

Savannah Billeter sings with Alternate Currents.Junior Savannah Billeter registered with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) while at NAMM last year, and was awarded their “Pride in Music Scholarship” for their single Naomi. They are excited for what the Trade Show has in store for them this year.

“I would not have been able to receive my scholarship without the Commercial Music program and our involvement with NAMM. Being able to perform on the big outdoor stage is a huge opportunity. I can’t imagine what it will be like to perform one of my original songs with notable figures listening and taking note of what they like. I am so excited to experience it.”

Following their performance at NAMM, Alternate Currents will again take the stage with the SUU Concert Choir in Cedar City for their Commercial Music Festival concert entitled Fly Like An Eagle featuring guest artist Joseph Wooten. The concert will take place on February 16, 2024 at 7:00 p.m. in the Heritage Center Theater. The following afternoon on February 17, Joseph Wooten will give a Music Industry Masterclass at 2:00 p.m., followed by a concert at 3:00 p.m. in the Thorley Recital Hall of the SUU Music Building. The Commercial Music Festival is free and open to the public.

Musician Joseph Wooten sings. From his website.Joseph Wooten, a three-time Grammy Award-nominated artist, has been the keyboardist/vocalist for The Steve Miller Band since 1993 and is a member of the Wooten Brothers band comprised of his musically gifted brothers. With nearly 50 years of experience in the music industry, Wooten has recorded, produced, and performed with the popular R&B artist/producer Kashif, sang with Whitney Houston, as well as held a residency at Busch Gardens with his brothers, and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of his involvement in commercial music. He brings a wealth of knowledge and performance experience that will benefit our students.

“I am very excited to host such a prolific artist,” says Dr. Tebbs. “I hope that the community will take advantage of the opportunity to hear and learn from such an amazing artist. Our students have been working hard to prepare for this concert and will play amazing arrangements of pop classics as well as their own originals. It should be a night to remember.”

Penelope Campion sings with Alternate Currents.“Having an actual pop star coming to play with us is wonderful,” shares sophomore Pénélope Campion. “I can’t wait to learn all the things that he can teach us. The Commercial Music program is why I flew across the ocean from my home in France for my studies. These irreplaceable experiences are what make this program worth it. I can’t wait to promote our band and perform one of my original songs, Standing Out, for the community and our special guest artist.”

Though the Bachelor of Music in Commercial Music program is only a couple of years old, it has made a big splash in the music industry scene. Students have the opportunity to take classes in music technology, audio recording techniques, songwriting, and music entrepreneurship, and to brush shoulders with talented professionals that will help them to jumpstart their careers. Please join the University in celebrating the outstanding success of these students and the opportunities they have to showcase their skills and don’t miss the Commercial Music Festival on February 16 & 17, 2024. Please also consider supporting the Commercial Music Scholarship started by Dr. Tebbs in the summer of 2023.

For more information about the arts at Southern Utah University, visit

About the College of Performing and Visual Arts

The College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) at Southern Utah University comprises 41 academic programs including liberal arts (BA/BS) and professional (BFA, BM, BMEd) degrees in art, design, dance, filmmaking, music, and theatre. It includes graduate programs in the fields of arts administration (MFA, MA), music education (MME), and music technology (MM). The College is also the home of the Southern Utah Museum of Art. More than 60 full-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 900 majors in the College. CPVA presents over 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year and is affiliated with the Utah Shakespeare Festival and the Center for Shakespeare Studies. Southern Utah University is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) making SUU the first public university in the state of Utah to be accredited by all four associations. For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, visit

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Kol Gibson