Berklee Presents American Master Awards to Celebrate 30th Anniversary of Nashville Trip
Berklee will present its first American Master Awards on Tuesday, March 17, in Nashville to Pete Fisher, Grand Ole Opry vice president and general manager; Eddie Bayers, drummer on more than 300 gold and platinum records; and Curb Group CEO Jim Ed Norman, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the college’s Nashville student trip.
The awards will be presented at Opry Studio following a Grand Ole Opry concert by Larry Gatlin, Charlie Worsham, the Willis Clan, Lee Greenwood, and more.
For 30 years, a group of Berklee students has spent its spring break in Nashville, getting an intensive, in-depth look at the music industry and gaining invaluable insight through clinics and workshops with accomplished alumni artists, songwriters, producers, and engineers. The trip, which began with five students, has grown to more than 100 students per year, including 120 this year and is led by Pat Pattison, professor of songwriting, and Stephen Webber, program director for the Music Technology, and Innovation Program at Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain. More than 3,000 students have attended the program since its inception.
“When Pat Pattison first let some students follow him to Nashville all those years ago, he had no idea that thousands would eventually follow, hundreds of lives would change, and Berklee and Nashville would never be the same,” said Webber. “When I joined the trip 21 years ago, it was instantly apparent that Berklee in Nashville was the single most incredible educational experience I’d ever witnessed. I’ve felt that way every year since.”
The students will benefit from sessions at Warner Music Group with acclaimed artists and songwriters including Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Kathy Mattea, Charlie Worsham, Gary Burr (Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks), and Matt Rollings (Lyle Lovett, Mark Knopfler); and producers Frank Liddell (Miranda Lambert, Lee Ann Womack) and Eric Masse (Worsham, Robert Ellis, Dierks Bentley).
“Charlie Worsham is a great example of the importance of Fisher, Norman, and Warner Music Group’s involvement in Berklee’s Nashville trip,” said Pattison. “He came on the trip as a student and now here he is, signed to the company the has supported the trip all these years.”
The students will also attend a recording session at famed RCA Studio A with Bayers, Rollings, Biff Watson, John Hobbs, Duncan Mullins, Josh Leo, and Drew Baldridge.
The American Master Award is presented by Berklee to industry leaders whose openness, generosity, and deep commitment to music education have made a positive impact on the lives of young musicians, providing them opportunities to grow as artists and leaders.
Pete Fisher is vice president and general manager of the Grand Ole Opry, overseeing the world’s longest-running radio show, managing operations of the Grand Ole Opry House, and producing its weekly Opry shows. He also serves as executive producer of America’s Opry Weekend, a syndicated radio program heard on more than 200 stations. Prior to joining the Opry, he was a partner in Fisher Raines Entertainment and spent seven years at WarnerSongs, Inc. as director of creative services.
Eddie Bayers has played drums on more than 300 gold and platinum records, and worked with some of music’s biggest names, including Vince Gill, George Strait, Alan Jackson, Steve Winwood, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, and Kenny Chesney. Named one of the Top Ten Greatest Session Drummers of All Time by Drum! magazine, Bayers has also won the Academy of Country Music’s Drummer of the Year award 14 times and was honored by the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Nashville Cat series.
Jim Ed Norman is CEO of Curb Group, overseeing Curb Records, which has recently enjoyed success with Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling singer-songwriter Lee Brice. He also served 22 years as president of Warner Bros. Records, where he launched artists including Blake Shelton, Faith Hill, Big & Rich, Dwight Yoakam, and Randy Travis. Norman is also a prolific producer and arranger. He wrote string arrangements for Eagles albums, including Desperado and Hotel California, and wrote string and horn arrangements for Linda Ronstadt.
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