Symphony Ball Co-chairs Lin Andrews and Janet Ayers announced recipients of two special awards to be presented at the 2010 Symphony Ball, taking place Saturday, December 11, at Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel. Marty Stuart will receive the prestigious Harmony Award for 2010, and Mayor Karl Dean will be presented with the special Gold Baton Award.
The Harmony Award is presented annually at the Nashville Symphony Ball to individuals who have demonstrated continued interest and support of music in Nashville. In addition to exemplifying the unique harmony between the many worlds of music that exist in our city, recipients must have contributed significantly to the development and appreciation of Nashville's musical culture.
Ever since his youth, when he got his start singing gospel and performing alongside bluegrass legend Lester Flatt, Harmony Award winner Marty Stuart has exhibited a showman's zest for every conceivable flavor of country music. A four-time GRAMMY winner, platinum-selling recording artist, Grand Ole Opry star, country music preservationist and songwriter, Stuart possesses a missionary's zeal for bringing the importance of the music and its themes home to longtime fans and newcomers alike. Leader of the band The Fabulous Superlatives, he has been hailed as one of the most important roots musicians and visionaries in America and has also earned a reputation as a stylist, designer, photographer and all-around Renaissance man.
Nashville record producer Tony Brown — himself a previous Harmony Award winner — says it best: "Let me speak of Marty Stuart, 'Icon in the Making'! Marty has not only always pushed the boundaries of country music, but has been the torchbearer and authority on all things 'Hillbilly, Mountain Music, Bluegrass, Traditional Country and Southern Music,' period! He 'walks the walk' and is absolutely one of Nashville's treasures. I'm proud to have produced some of his records and to call him my friend. Thank you, Marty, for preserving the South's and Nashville's heritage. Because of this, you are known around the world; congratulations!"
Other previous recipients of the Harmony Award include Amy Grant, LeAnn Rimes, Michael W. Smith, Mike & Linda Curb, Lyle Lovett, Trisha Yearwood, Dolly Parton, The Judds, Steve Winwood, Vince Gill, Wynonna and Naomi Judd, Chet Atkins, Martina McBride, Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood.
The Gold Baton Award honors individuals who represent the epitome of leadership, community spirit and service to others in the Nashville area. This award has been presented by the Nashville Symphony only on rare occasions to acknowledge visionary leadership benefitting the Symphony, the music industry and the Nashville community. Gold Baton recipient Karl Dean is the sixth mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. His priorities as mayor are many - education, public safety and economic development. During his three years in office, Dean has acted as a strong advocate for improving Nashville's public schools. In the area of public safety, he has worked to see more police officers protecting Nashville's streets. And as part of his economic development efforts, Dean has been a strong advocate for the development of a new downtown convention center to help grow Nashville's tourism industry. One of the most impressive and visionary of his initiatives, however, has been his creation and leadership of the Nashville Music Council, a group of music industry leaders dedicated to cultivating and advancing the ever-expanding music community to further establish Nashville’s position as the global music capital.
Nancy Shapiro, a member of the Nashville Music Council, comments, "Mayor Karl Dean's steadfast leadership guided our great city through its worst crisis in more than a century. Shock, fear and loss during two harrowing days last spring soon gave way to hope, strength and a sense of community under his guidance. Mayor Dean not only has plans for Nashville to become a top-tier city for business, education, sustainability and quality of life, he is actually making it happen by shaping policies, laying the groundwork and leading the way in all of these areas. His commitment to music education for all of our public schools will ensure our students graduate and become creative, disciplined and confident citizens in our community. This combination of vision, leadership, strength and compassion makes Mayor Dean the perfect recipient of the first annual Gold Baton Award."
Now in its 26th year, the Symphony Ball is Nashville's premier winter social event and one of the Nashville Symphony's two annual fundraisers. The ball annually raises $500,000 for the Symphony and its commitment to artistic excellence and music education; since its inception in 1985, it has raised a total of more than $6.5 million. This year’s event is being held at Loews Vanderbilt Plaza while Schermerhorn Symphony Center continues to undergo repairs from the May flood.