This time last week, as I write, I was at the Harpeth Hills Golf Course just outside Nashville, getting prepped for the second day of the 14th Annual Audio Masters Benefit Golf Tournament.
The Audio Masters truly is a unique event—incredible fun while raising serious money for a serious cause. Title sponsors Sweetwater and Sterling Audio/GC Pro, and a host of additional sponsors, make good things happen in the Nashville pro audio community through their support of the Audio Masters.
Along with the sponsorship and support signage that line the golf course cart pathways, the tradition is also to acknowledge those the community has lost. Fourteen years ago, at the first Audio Masters, there was a single “This hole in memory of:” sign. This year, the count was 26.
Veteran Nashville tech, Kerry Kopp (left), looks on while
legendary Quad Studios recording engineer Gene
Eichelberger talks with API’s Dan Zimbelman during
the Sweetwater Audio Masters. Seeing these commemorations for folks I knew well can cause an ache of loss, but the point of their being is to help us never forget. Many of the names on these signs are unfamiliar to most of the players on the course. For next year, an initiative is underway to provide the players with bios that will encapsulate the contributions these individuals have made to our audio heritage. And that’s the essence of the commemorations— honoring and remembering those pioneers that blazed the trails we now tread.
Another initiative at the Audio Masters is to bring our living legends to the course to meet and greet the participants, to celebrate their contributions while they are still with us. This year’s guest of honor was Gene Eichelberger, a storied engineer with credits ranging from Tammy Wynette to Neil Young, from Dan Fogelberg to Jewel. It was great to see Gene mingle with players and sponsors—he seemed honored to be with us, but the honor of spending time with him was ours.
Hosting such dignitaries at the Audio Masters is just a part of the Nashville AES’ efforts to maintain a connection to our heritage. The section is committed to learning from these audio trailblazers, hosting an ongoing series of “Legends in the Round” events where engineers, producers and musicians that worked in particular eras or landmark studios are brought together to link us to our past.
We are a young industry, but we’ve still plenty to learn from those who’ve already “been there and done that.”