Mayor Karl Dean will be honored with Leadership Music’s Brian Williams Ambassador Award during the Oct. 17 Dale Franklin Award ceremony at War Memorial Auditorium. Dean, an alumnus of Leadership Music’s Class of 2010, will be saluted alongside Dale Franklin Award recipients Charlie Daniels, Vince Gill and Randy Owen.
The Brian Williams Ambassador Award honors an individual who bridges and strengthens the ties between Nashville’s music and business communities. Originally called the Bridge Award, it was renamed for the late banker who served Leadership Music for more than a decade and is given at the discretion of the organization’s board.
“From the time he was a candidate for the office, Mayor Dean has made the music industry a priority,” remarked Leadership Music President Jeff Gregg. “In the process, he has made a lasting and far-reaching impact and elevated the visibility of the brand Music City to new heights. He earned the respect and admiration of every one of his classmates, the staff and board by showing up to speak at his Closing Retreat just days after the historic flood of 2010. We are honored to number Mayor Dean among our distinguished alumni, and enormously pleased to honor him on a night dedicated to spotlighting three music industry icons for their humanitarian efforts.”
Among his initiatives is the launch of the Music City Music Council, a partnership between his office, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau to cultivate a dialogue between the city and music industry and capitalize on Nashville’s identity as Music City.
Mayor Dean has also made music in the schools a priority. The new program Music Makes Us enhances traditional music curriculum while adding a contemporary curriculum track that uses new technologies and reflects a diverse musical landscape. It is a private-public partnership between Metro Schools, the Mayor’s Office, the Music City Music Council and music industry leaders.
With a focus on free live music, he also helped start the concert series Live on the Green on the Public Square, and Musicians Corner in Centennial Park. Dean also spurred the creation of Ryman Lofts, the city’s first affordable community designed for artists which is slated to open later this year.
Previous recipients of the Bridge Award include the late Dale Franklin, founding executive director of Leadership Music; Phil Bredesen, former Nashville Mayor and Governor; Jim Ed Norman, founding council of Leadership Music; E.W. “Bud” Wendell, former chairman of Gaylord Entertainment; Jim Foglesong, former head of ABC Dot/MCA/Capitol Records and a Dale Franklin Award recipient; and Kitty Moon Emery, entrepreneur and former president of Leadership Music.
The first Brian Williams Ambassador Award was presented at Leadership Music’s 20th anniversary celebration in 2009 when it was given posthumously to Williams, the former head of SunTrust Bank’s Music Row branch.