Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - by Merritt Jenkins, Lee University
The Lee University School of Music named Phil Nitz the 2021 Department Alumnus of the Year during Lee’s Homecoming celebrations.
Mr. Nitz earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the Lee University School of Music. While at Lee, he was a member of the a cappella ensemble Voices of Lee, both as a singer and, eventually, as an arranger. He also taught a songwriting course during the summer 2021.
“He was an extraordinary student,” said Dr. Austin Patty, professor of music theory. “I remember his excellent work in my music theory, aural skills, and music analysis courses, and especially his skill and enthusiasm for analyzing various kinds of popular music.”
Mr. Nitz is well respected for his work and collaborations with many artists, music industry leaders, and church musicians. He is a Dove-Award-winning arranger and orchestrator, a vocalist, and a worship leader.
As an arranger and orchestrator, he has worked with many prominent choral publishers in providing fresh, unique arrangements for use in churches across the country. He received a Dove Award in 2017 for “Musical/Choral Collection of the Year” and a second Dove Award in 2020 for “Musical of the Year.” His arrangement of Lauren Daigle’s “Noel” remains a best-seller among Brentwood Benson’s Christmas anthems. He is frequently called upon to create custom arrangements in a variety of styles ranging from traditional choral to instrumental to pop/jazz a cappella.
“‘It was my pleasure to work with Phil Nitz while he completed both his degrees and a pleasure to still work with him today as an arranger for Voices,” said Danny Murray, the director of Voices of Lee. “He is a multi-talented musician with an unbelievable work ethic that has brought him much success as a music professional in Nashville.”
As a vocalist, Mr. Nitz has sung on hundreds of professional vocal sessions for church choral demos, student choral demos, and cinematic scores, and provided background vocals on recording projects spanning a variety of musical styles. Notable clients include Michael W. Smith, Francesca Battistelli, Casting Crowns, Frankie Valli, Seth MacFarlane, Disney Parks, Star Wars (video games), Fargo (television series), and World Expo 2021 in Dubai.
Mr. Nitz also serves as staff arranger and worship leader at Christ Church Nashville where he assists in leading the world-renowned Christ Church Choir. Through his music ministry, Mr. Nitz has had opportunities to sing with the choir in various settings such as Norway, Japan, and with Carrie Underwood and Dolly Parton at the Country Music Association awards.
I was excited to have Phil on campus to receive the Alumnus of the Year Award,” said Dr. Patty. “It was great to express how very proud we are of his accomplishments. He is an inspiration to our current students in the School of Music.”
Mr. Nitz was recognized for this honor during a department reception held earlier this month and later recognized with the other award winners during the Homecoming basketball games.