During the first weekend of May 2010, the music city was struck by what is being called the thousand-year flood. Surprisingly to many shocked residents of Nashville and the surrounding areas, the flooding and extensive damage that was subsequently caused was not well known outside our region for several weeks. Lives were lost, thousands of people were displaced, businesses were destroyed and dreams were ruined by the simple force of water.
For us in the music community, it was very tough to hear and see the after-effects of the flood on the musicians and their instruments. While the top artists made headlines with horror stories of losing priceless collections, it was the hundreds of stories of the mostly nameless “working class” musicians that were the hardest to hear. These folks, many of who support major talent, are studio musicians or can be found paying their dues at some thankless gig and did not have insurance or the wherewithal to replace their instruments.
SoundCheck, the biggest cartage, rehearsal and instrument storage facility in Nashville, keeps personal instrument lockers on more than 600 musicians and is located at a place where some of the flooding was the worst. Nearly an entire week went by before owner, Ben Jumper, and his crew could get to the instruments that lay soaking in a thinly mud-coated brown water. Needless to say, nearly everything was destroyed. All of the music venues downtown were quiet, and if for just a brief moment, the music stopped in music city. But only for a moment. We music people are part of an extraordinary community and although Yamaha itself was not immune to the flooding and lost several instruments, I was truly humbled by the outreach of musicians for the musicians. In the days following the flood, nearly every artist I spoke to asked if we could not help them, but assist others in greater need.
Within hours of the flood’s end, my office was busy donating and replacing instruments to musicians as well as consulting with many of the stricken venues and productions as to the best means to get up and running as quickly as possible. But this flood was much more than losing some instruments––many lost homes and lives were destroyed.
During this recovery process, I was reintroduced to the efforts of MusiCares. MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need, such as this tragic event. MusiCares' services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies and quickly stepped in to assist the hundreds of musicians that were affected. Because of the efforts by organizations such as MusiCares, many of these musicians are getting back to work. Many still need help.
Please join me in supporting MusiCares by going to their website www2.grammy.com/musicares and learning about the organization and the incredible job they do in helping musicians in their everyday lives. Send them a cash donation to support their tireless efforts. Someday you may need their services.
I am proud to live in Nashville––the music city. No amount of water could ever drown the spirit of what Nashville and its people represent.