CMA Board Members Honored At Special Reception

Pictured (L-R): Metro Nashville Public Schools music teacher Franklin Willis; CMA Foundation Executive Director Tiffany Kerns; CMA Foundation Board Chairman Joe Galante; CMA Chief Executive Officer Sarah Trahern; CMA Board Chairman and The Fitzgerald Hartley Company Partner Bill Simmons; and CMA Board President and BMI Vice President, Creative, Nashville Jody Williams    Photo: Jamie Schramm/CMA

The CMA presented industry honors to Board members Jody WilliamsBill Simmons, and Joe Galante on Tuesday night, (Oct. 16) at the CMA Board reception at BMI in Nashville. During the evening Simmons also surprised CMA Chief Executive Officer Sarah Trahern with the CMA Chairman’s Award for her outstanding service to the organization.

“Every year the Chairman of the Board gets to give an award to an individual who has provided outstanding service to the CMA through their term as Chairman,” said CMA Board Chairman and The Fitzgerald Hartley Company Partner Bill Simmons. “When I was trying to figure out who I would present this to, there was only person, you. The way you treat the Board, your staff, artists, you’re the best thing that ever happened to the CMA.”

“I’m the luckiest person in the world because I get up in the morning and I get to work with an incredible, amazing staff to execute on the vision of the Board and that’s why I have the best job in Nashville,” said Trahern. “I thank Bill and the officers, but I am going to accept this and put it in my office on behalf of our staff because there are 53 other people in our building who work with me to carry out what your vision is and I couldn’t do it without them, so as I look around the room at the faces, thank you for all you do for us.”

CMA Board President and BMI Vice President, Creative, Nashville Jody Williams was presented with a ceremonial globe memento during the celebration. “This role is so much more than I ever thought it would be,” said Williams. “It’s a lot more work, for sure, but it’s very gratifying to get really close to the leadership team and the CMA staff. It’s a real blessing to be able to do this, so thank you all very much. I look forward to another great year.”

Simmons was presented with a ceremonial gavel for his service. “It’s been an honor and a privilege, and thanks to all the past Chairs that talked to me and encouraged me to do it and helped me do it, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” said Simmons about his service before presenting the CMA Chairman’s Award to Trahern.

Metro Nashville Public Schools teacher and two-time CMA Music Teacher of Excellence recipient Franklin Willis spoke about the impact the CMA Foundation has had on him personally and professionally before presenting CMA Foundation Board Chairman Joe Galante a trophy.

“Mr. Joe, I’m not sure you understand the impact that you have, not only on the city of Nashville, but in other parts of the country for music education,” said Willis. “The CMA Music Teachers of Excellence has provided me an opportunity to grow and to be recognized for the work that I do. And the kids this year at CMA Fest. To know the back stories of some of those children and the brokenness that they come from, but when they got on that stage at Nissan Stadium in June in front of tens of thousands of people and to open up their mouths and sing with heart, with passion, with love, it was something I’ll never forget as a music teacher and also just as a human being.  We want to recognize you for your work. We want to recognize you for your passion and your love of music, Mr. Joe Galante.”

“I’ve been on the Board a long time and have been Chair of lots of committees, but the CMA Foundation has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done with this organization,” said Galante.


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Hollabaugh, a staff writer at MusicRow magazine, has written for publications including American Profile, CMA Close Up, Nashville Arts And Entertainment, The Boot and Country Weekly. She has a Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communication degree from Texas Christian University, (go Horned Frogs), and welcomes your feedback or story ideas at [email protected]om.

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