Nashville Music Icons Honored to Mark 30th Anniversary
by Shantell Ogden ‘05
In an intimate backstage event at the Grand Ole Opry on Tuesday, March 17, Berklee College of Music presented its first American Master Awards to Pete Fisher, Opry vice president and general manager; Eddie Bayers, drummer on more than 300 gold and platinum records; and Curb Group CEO Jim Ed Norman. The award was timed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Berklee’s Nashville student trip, a trip that each of the award recipients have played a key role in cultivating throughout the years.
“This is a monumental year for us and we wanted to recognize some special people who have made this Nashville trip possible for students at Berklee,” said Jay Kennedy, vice president, Academic Affairs. “Tonight we are honoring industry leaders for their openness, generosity, and deep commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of young musicians, providing them opportunities to grow as artists and leaders. Pete, Eddie and Jim have been leaders and succeeders in the music industry and we applaud them for their contributions.”
Jay introduced each honoree, crediting Pete and Jim for ‘opening the doors’ to Nashville’s music industry elite to build the trip schedule for the first 15 years, and Eddie for using his connections to help expand and evolve the workshops and tours in more recent years.
“We started the trip 30 years ago with five students coming down on spring break to be ‘shown around’ in Nashville,” added Pat Pattison, professor of songwriting and founder of the trip. “Now, more than 3,000 students have benefited from this experience.”
Recording artist Charlie Worsham shared his thoughts about the impact the Berklee Nashville trip had on him as a student.
“I am so grateful to have been the recipient of the grace of the people we are honoring tonight,” he said. “The access you’ve had in Nashville this week just doesn’t happen everyday; you are truly seeing the inner circle of the music industry.”
Part of that ‘inner circle’ included a special musical performance and question and answer session with the Secret Sisters following the American Master Awards event. Pattison joked that it was a ‘modulation’ of the evening’s ceremony.
“In this house of great tradition [Opry], keep this great tradition of the Berklee Nashville trip going,” said Jim Ed Norman, touching on the overarching theme of the night.
For more information about the American Master Award please visit https://www.berklee.edu/awards/music-masters-awards for a press release about the event please see https://www.berklee.edu/news/berklee-presents-amarican-master-awards-celebrate-30th-anniversary-nashville-trip