Hitmakers Brenda Lee And Ray Stevens Receive Cecil Scaife Visionary Award

The sellout occasion featured performances by Charlie McCoy, Jeannie Seely, Ricky Skaggs, and others.

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Brenda Lee and Ray Stevens - Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images
Brenda Lee and Ray Stevens - Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Two esteemed country and pop hitmakers and fellow inductees of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Brenda Lee and Ray Stevens, have been presented with the Cecil Scaife Visionary Award. Stevens, of “Misty,” “The Streak” and countless other favorites, helped to organize the event at CabaRay Showroom in Nashville. The surprise twist was that he thought he was giving the award to “Little Miss Dynamite,” and Lee thought she was presenting it to Stevens.

The Cecil Scaife Visionary Award recognizes an individual whose life and work have made it possible for future generations to realize careers in the music industry. It’s named for the businessman whose ambition to create a formal program to allow creatives and would-be executives to learn the business of music led to the creation of the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business.

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The sellout occasion featured a 20-piece orchestra accompanying Mandy Barnett, who performed Lee’s durable “I’m Sorry,” with which she had a No.1 smash on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960, when she was 15. A notable list of fellow contributors included Charlie McCoy, Jeannie Seely, Ricky Skaggs, and Lang Scott. The McCrary Sisters performed another topical Lee hit, “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,” as the finale, accompanied by the honoree herself.

Further adding to the occasion, video greetings were played from Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Tanya Tucker, Steve Wariner, Kyle Lehning, Mike Huckabee, and Mike Curb. Senator Marsha Blackburn, a previous winner of the award, presented Lee and Stevens with a Senate Statement for the Congressional Record, thanking them for their contributions to Tennessee and beyond, and their help and inspiration to the careers of other artists.

In the ’70s, it was the late Cecil Scaife’s vision to create a music business program for musicians, artists, songwriters, and future music business executives to formally learn the industry he loved so dearly. His vision grew to become the world-renowned Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business.

Both recipients of the award have been in the spotlight of late, Lee returning to charts worldwide, as each holiday season, with the streaming popularity of “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,” which is currently at No.2 on the Hot 100 behind only Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Stevens was last month inducted, along with Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Don McLean, and others, into the Musicians Hall of Fame, in a ceremony at Nashville Municipal Auditorium.

Listen to uDiscover Music’s Country Music In 20 Songs playlist.

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