MTSU Opens New “Chris Young Café” To Support Students In The Music Industry

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Andy Heidt

It seems like everybody has their own bar in Nashville these days. But Chris Young is doing something a little different with his venue.

Chris recently donated $50,000 to his alma mater, Middle Tennessee State University, in order to upgrade and create the Chris Young Cafe, a new learning space and performance venue for students hoping to pursue careers in the music industry.

The space was unveiled at a grand opening this week, with Chris on hand to cut the ribbon and perform the first song inside the venue.

The 4000-square foot venue will be used as a lab space during the day, with the director of the café naming classes such as venue management, sound reinforcement, lighting and rigging as those that will be able to get hands-on experience in the space. And in the evening (and after COVID) the venue hopes to host at least one performance a week in the evenings.

The performance space comes complete with a floor-to-ceiling stage length LED video display, and state-of-the-art audiovisual technology – and Chris even donated some of his own sound equipment to the café.

“I remember standing on this campus trying to write music, meeting other people that I’ve continued to work alongside in music, and I am absolutely blown away. It’s an incredible honor.

This is my hometown, and this (cafe) means the world to me. Whether they are musicians, comedians, entertainers, people who want to learn how to engineer and produce, videographers, photographers, anything, I hope everyone finds a use for this space. I really hope everyone enjoys it. It’s just been an honor to be a small part of this.”

The Chris Young Café also features a Tennessee Music Pathways marker in Chris’s honor, as well as a mural showcasing some of Chris’s friends, family, and others in the music community with ties to MTSU like Hardy, Mitchell Tenpenny, Erin Anderlin and Eric Paslay.

This is a pretty incredible space for MTSU students to get hands-on experience – and it’s also super cool of Chris to give back to his alma mater with something like this. Almost makes me wish I could go back to college just to get to learn in a place like this.

It would definitely beat all those boring lectures that I had to sit through back in the day.

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