CMA Presents Industry Honors During Board Reception in Nashville
The Country Music Association presented industry honors to four highly-deserving individuals Wednesday evening, Nov. 29 during an intimate CMA Board reception at the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Eighteen-time CMA Awards-winning artist and Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill was honored with the CMA Foundation Humanitarian Award, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp President/Chief Executive Officer Butch Spyridon received the CMA Chairman's Award, and beloved Nashville business leader and former CMA Board Chairman and President Kitty Moon Emery was posthumously honored with the Joe Talbot Award.
"Vince Gill defines the word humanitarian, and we're thrilled to present him with the CMA Foundation Humanitarian Award, which has only been awarded twice before," said CMA Chief Executive Officer Sarah Trahern. "Mayor Barry and Butch Spyridon have been invaluable partners in Nashville through their support of CMA Fest and Country Music in general. And Kitty Moon Emery was a true trailblazer whose contributions to Country Music and the City of Nashville will be remembered and appreciated for many years to come."
"Both Megan and Butch have been dream collaborators, effortlessly working with Sarah and everyone at CMA to create an environment where we all win," said CMA Board Chairman Sally Williams as she presented the CMA Chairman's Award to the city leaders. "Their commitment to Country Music and specifically to CMA Fest is unwavering. In 2017, we drew record-breaking crowds for Fest. We're all grateful for their continued partnership and support of Country Music."
In a heartfelt speech, Emery's devoted husband Pat Emery accepted the award in her honor and shared, "Kitty would tell me to tell you she loved you. She loved the CMA more than anything I think she ever did in her life."
In addition, Trahern presented mementos to Williams, CMA Board President Bill Simmons, and CMA Foundation Chairman Joe Galante.
CMA Foundation Humanitarian Award - Vince Gill
The CMA Foundation Humanitarian Award is for an individual who has served as a humanitarian through community leadership, financial support, personal volunteerism and advocacy. The individual recognized has evidenced commitment to worthwhile causes that are important to the Country Music Association and the Country Music community.
One of the most popular singers in modern Country Music, Vince Gill is famous for his top-notch songwriting, world-class guitar playing and warm, soaring tenor, all wrapped up in a quick and easy wit. Gill has won 18 CMA Awards, including Song of the Year four times, making him the most-awarded artist in that category in CMA Awards history. He's also the longest-standing CMA Awards host with 13 consecutive years under his belt. Gill was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007. He is also a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
In 25 years, Gill's charity The Vinny has raised over $7 million, which goes towards junior golf programs across Tennessee including First Tee, Special Olympics, Blind Golf and many other programs for boys and girls not only learning the game, but learning valuable life skills as well. Gill continues to lend his voice to countless charitable organizations including the "All For The Hall" benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame, American Heart Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Salvation Army, Second Harvest, St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Toys For Tots and many more.
CMA Chairman's Award - Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp President/CEO Butch Spyridon
This award, given at the discretion of the incumbent Chairman, is not an annual award, but given when the Chairman feels an individual or individuals, through outstanding service to CMA, merits the recognition.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp President/Chief Executive Officer Butch Spyridon are two of the City's most dynamic champions with regards to the development and growth of Country Music throughout Nashville. Both leaders are hugely integral to the monumental success of CMA Fest, which drew record-breaking crowds to Nashville in 2017 from all 50 states and nearly 20 international territories. Most recently, Mayor Barry's and Spyridon's offices came together with CMA to hold a candlelight vigil in Nashville in the wake of the Las Vegas tragedy.
The Joe Talbot Award - Kitty Moon Emery
The Joe Talbot Award recognizes outstanding leadership and contributions to the preservation and advancement of Country Music's values and traditions. Moon Emery's widow, Pat Emery, accepted the honor on her behalf.
Before her passing earlier this year, Nashville business leader Kitty Moon Emery served on the CMA Board for 22 years (1989-2010), including terms as both Board Chairman (1995) and President (1996). Additionally, she devoted six years (2011-2016) to serving on the CMA Foundation Board, the first three years in the role of Chairman and most recently the position of Emeritus Director.
A Nashville native, Moon Emery was known for breaking barriers in politics, business and civic leadership. She was the co-owner and President of Nashville-based Scene Three, a multi-million-dollar film and new media company. She produced many of Scene Three's most successful TV, music video and business communication projects including "The Dance," Garth Brooks' 1990 CMA Awards-winning Music Video of the Year, and "A Day in the Life of Country Music," a two-hour CBS primetime special. She later served as CEO of Kitty Moon Enterprises, a growth consulting company designed to help businesses and individuals flourish in the global marketplace, in addition to serving as COO of the Global Action Platform. Emery was the recipient of CMA's President's Award and Leadership Music's Bridge Award, and in 2014 was honored by the women's music industry group SOURCE with an induction into its Hall of Fame.