Bobby Karl Works The NATD Honors

BOBBY KARL WORKS THE ROOM

Chapter 443

2013 Honorees & NATD Board of Directors. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

2013 Honorees & NATD Board of Directors. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

This year’s presentation of the NATD Honors exceeded its two predecessors in star power, warmth, humor and elegance.

The “elegance” part is easily accounted for by the fact that the event on Tuesday evening (11/12) took place in the gorgeous, wood-paneled, coffered-ceilinged ballroom of the turn-of-the-century architectural marvel The Hermitage Hotel. Couple that with the fact that the venue also boasts one of the finest restaurants in the city and you have a perfect banquet.

The “warmth” part comes from a sold-out audience of true friends and colleagues. The “humor” was reflected in almost all of the presentations, video salutes and acceptances.

As for stars? Well, Martina McBride was in the spotlight as this year’s artist honoree. “She sings about issues and makes hits out of them,” said presenter Paul Worley. “She sings with power and passion and a clarity that is unique.”

“Singing is what I was put here to do,” said Martina. “I always knew I wanted to move to Nashville. It was my dream….I went on to live the life I’ve always dreamed of. I love this industry. I love Nashville; I feel passionate about this town.

“It’s a privilege to do what I do. It’s a privilege to touch people’s lives.”

Red-hot Jason Aldean turned up to present the booking-agent award to Kevin Neal. “This is very special to me,” said Kevin. “My father was one of the founders of the NATD.”

Kevin’s father was the late Bob Neal, who helped create the Nashville Association of Talent Directors (NATD) some 50 years ago. Kevin began his career in his father’s firm, then went to Buddy Lee Attractions. After stints with Headline Attractions and Charles Dorris & Associates, he returned to BLA and rose to its presidency. He is a three-time winner of the IEBA Talent Agent of the Year.

“It’s been a great ride, and it continues on,” Kevin concluded.

CCM superstars Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith presented the manager award to Chaz Corzine. “I love nights like this, because it brings people together,” said Amy. “This is a great room to be a part of. Because my guess is we are all doing something we love.

“He’s a great networker, because he loves people,” Amy remarked about the honoree. “And he networked out of a sense of compassion.”

“To be with a manager for 30 years is almost unprecedented,” added Smitty.

“The best thing about being honored is the time between when they tell you and now,” said Chaz. “Because you reflect on your life…. God has blessed me. He has allowed me to be around music. He has allowed me to be around people I love.”

The gala was hosted by Stephanie Langston and Storme Warren with aplomb. NATD president Steve Tolman welcomed the guests, saying, “Enjoy the NATD living room, because we’re all friends here. We’re all in this business to bring smiles to people’s faces.”

PIctured (L-R): NATD President Stephen Tolman, Steve Hendrich, Maria Morari, Lynn Hendrich, Academy of Country Music CEO Bob Romeo. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

PIctured (L-R): NATD President Stephen Tolman, Steve Hendrich, Maria Morari, Lynn Hendrich, Academy of Country Music CEO Bob Romeo. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Steve introduced a heartwarming Tennessean video story about a blind orphan girl from Moldova who was taken in by Nashville’s Lynn & Steve Hendrich. Fifteen-year-old Maria Morari was operated on by Dr. Ming Wang and is now partially sighted. The NATD is donating $10,000 to the family.

“We just want to give all the honor and glory to God,” said Lynn. “We just wanted to help a little girl. Thank you guys.”

Tom Condon was this year’s winner of the sports award. It was presented by R.J. Gonser. Condon recently relocated to Nashville. He is a lawyer and sports agent who is a former 12-year NFL player. He now represents 14 of the NFL’s 32 starting quarterbacks, including Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

“It’s truly heartwarming to be embraced by the NATD,” said Tom. “This city seems to be really on fire. It’s exciting to be part of it.”

Entertainment lawyer and artist manager Bernie Cahill was another honoree. His ROAR firm represents the Zac Brow Band, Dwight Yoakam, Nashville TV star Clare Bowen, comedian David Alan Grier and movie stars Chis Hemsworth and Liam Hemsworth, among others. John Huie presented the honor.

“This is a very cool thing,” said Bernie. “I feel privileged to be included in this list of honorees.”

Steve Tolman and Martha Earls described the NATD’s College of Knowledge program. Then Martha gave Murray State University student Ethan Donohoo a $2,500 scholarship check.

Rod Essig presented the evening’s final honor to the ACM’s Bob Romeo. “One of the things you realize when you’ve been in the business a long time is that you cherish the relationships,” Bob reflected. “I find this industry to be one of a giving nature,” he added. The ACM has a charity arm called Lifting Lives. Bob was so moved by the saga of the blind orphan that he announced that his organization would match the NATD’s $10,000 gift to the family.

The gala was attended by many of Music Row’s finest, including Tinti Moffatt, Bonnie Sugarman, Tony Conway, Moore & Moore, Preshus Tomes, Lisa Lee, Scott Borchetta, Kent Earls, Ed Bazel, Dean Unkefer, Susan Nadler, Randi Perkins, Ray Shelide, Travis Wolfe, Evelyn Shriver, Teresa George, Kirt Webster, C.T. Wyatt and John McBride.

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