Parnelli Awards 2015: Another Year of Surprises, Laughs and Emotions

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Chris Lamb, 2015 Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
Chris Lamb, 2015 Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

LAS VEGAS — Halloween came early to the 15th Annual Parnelli Awards on Saturday, Oct. 24. Audio Innovator honoree Pat Quilter dressed as Mountain Man with an Egyptian head piece; Visionary honoree David Cunningham came to the stage with two beautiful women and proceeded to change wigs and transform himself into a rock/drag star; and finally there was Chris Lamb, in his trademark cowboy getup.

Otherwise, it was all treats and no tricks at the sold out gala award ceremony.

Visionary Award winner David Cunningham at the 2015 Parnelli AwardsPerhaps channeling the spirit of Rick “Parnelli” O’Brien, Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman kept the backstage humor going with a speedy progression of sly jokes, heartfelt gratitude and well-deserved recognition, barreling along like an efficiently packed, fully loaded tour truck. "Kevin Lyman was a perfect fit for his audience - his edgy comments on the current state of the industry were spot on and, like a good promoter, he brought the show home on time," said Marshall Bissett, chairman of the Parnelli Awards.

Lyman also made observations about where the industry has been, and where it might be going. “My life is about doing more with less, and from where I sit 120 [lighting] fixtures will do as well as 160 in the hands of a creative designer.”

Kevin Lyman at the 2015 Parnelli AwardsWhen introducing the first award of the night, Trucking Company of the Year, he, said: “I talk at universities a lot and get asked, ‘what’s the most essential skill I can have to be successful in this business?’ And I say it’s being able to drive at night and go six hours without peeing.” Having worked with many in the room over the years, his stories and occasional jabs made for an entertaining evening.

Most of the humbled winners stepped up to the podium, took just enough time to credit supporters and fellow nominees, and quickly exited the stage, which kept the show moving briskly. Rock-It Cargo’s David Bernstein took a moment longer to thank Chris Lamb for taking a chance with his still-fledgling company for a big Queen tour in 1981.

Terry Lowe at the 2015 Parnelli AwardsThere were plenty of emotions on display, too. Executive producer and publisher Terry Lowe took the stage early in the show to share a clip of a young Patrick Stansfield he found in Martin Scorsese’s documentary on George Harrison. “When I saw Patrick Stansfield, my co-founder of the Parnelli Awards, I could see his passion. And this is why we are all here tonight: to honor the men and women who brought the created the industry of concert production through their, hard work and yes their passion.”


Parnelli Board Chairman Marshall Bissett gave homage to Patrick Stansfield and Bob See, among others.Marshall Bissett told a funny story about the recently departed founder of See Factor, Bob See, who was named a Parnelli Lifetime Honoree in 2005. He told of first meeting See an Aerosmith concert in 1976 when he was a young lighting designer for the opening act, he being teased by See as “you limeys get what you want by being so god****ed polite – let me show you how a real lighting desk works.” He then read a touching note from producer Michael Ahern on his longtime friend See before the video tribute to all those members of the tribe we’ve lost was shown.


2014 Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award winner Benny Collins welcomed 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award winner Chris Lamb to the stage.It all culminated with Lamb receiving the lifetime achievement honor. Long time friend and associate and recipient of this award last year, Benny Collins, took the stage and said: “Chris, I feel for you. I was sitting right where you were last year. I know the last thing in the world you want to do is get in front of a live mic in front of a room full of people.  I’m the same way. But they put me up here to prove to you that you can survive receiving the Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award … yes, I too am a public speaking survivor …”

Collins said a few more words about Lamb, before revealing a surprise video of congrats sent just the night before from Lionel Richie. Funny and sincere, Richie told a story of Lamb showing up at Richie’s mother’s 70th birthday party in pink shirt and cowboy hat and boots, then praised his work and dedication. Then there was another video of congrats from the very first recipient of this lifetime achievement honor, Brian Croft, who was one of Lamb’s earliest bosses. Finally the documentary on Lamb’s career was shown, and Lamb was spotted tearing up at the tribute. When it ended, Collins came out and summoned a reluctant Lamb to the stage.

Benny Collins, last year's Lifetime Achievement honoree, presented the 2015 honor to Chris Lamb “I’m not good at this,” Lamb said when he finally reached the podium. While acknowledging that he had the opportunity to take the lead in the creation of “lots of amazing stuff,” he made clear that “I didn’t do it by myself,” and also thanked both his parents, who were able to attend on his big night. Their boy may have opted for the touring life instead of a “real job,” but he seemed to have turned out okay.


Otherwise it is a night when the stars came out. In addition to Collins, presenters included lighting designers Peter Morse and Sooner Routhier, Production Manager Mark “Springo” Spring, QSC co-CEO John Andrews, ETC’s VP Steve Terry, Hemphill Brother’s Joey Hemphill, Maryland Sound’s and last year’s Innovator Honoree Bob Goldstein, and PLSN and FOH’s editors Nook Schoenfeld and George Petersen. Industry stars Roy Bennett, Cosmo Wilson, Laurie Quigley, Curt Jenkins, and Earl Neal were on hand to accept awards. Also Roy Lamb (no relation) and Dale “Opie” Skjerseth were in attendance.

Neal and Jenkins received the newly named Patrick Stansfield Production Manager of the Year and Patrick Stansfield Tour Manager of the Year, respectively.

From the eye-popping, pulsating opening video created by Silva Sveta to the final nightcap of the after party, it was a night to remember.

Nook Schoenfeld and Sooner Routhier at the 2015 Parnelli Awards.“The swift and flawless production of the Parnelli Awards was noted and appreciated by everyone I spoke to, as evidenced by a fantastic turnout at the After Party for the event,” Schoenfeld said.  “The increased attention to production values at the show was definitely noticed and the producers deserve some immense kudos for their jobs well done. I gotta say that the sponsors threw a great party in the lobby outside of the ballroom as soon as the event ended. It gave everyone time to catch up with all their friends as well as pat the backs of the wide range of amazing people holding their much-deserved Parnelli Awards. This ‘sure to be’ annual party is just the icing on the cake for this salute to the leaders of our industry.”

The full list of 2015 Parnelli Awards Winners follows.

Chris Lamb at the 2015 Parnelli AwardsParnelli Lifetime Achievement Award

Chris Lamb. More details



Parnelli Visionary David Cunningham channeled his outer rock star. Parnelli Visionary Award

David Cunningham. More details



Audio Innovator Pat Quilter had a pharoah/buckskin thing going.Parnelli Audio Innovator Award

Pat Quilter. More details



Bandit Lites' Dizzy Gosnell accepted the Lighting Company of the Year award.Lighting Company of the Year

Bandit Lites. Dizzy Gosnell accepts the award.



Eric Todd from BML Blackbird with the Hometown Hero Lighting Company of the Year Award. Hometown Hero Lighting Company of the Year

BML-Blackbird. Pictured here, Eric Todd.



Sooner Routhier, 2015 Lighting Designer of the Year, also served as a presenter at this year's awards program alongside former Parnelli winner and current PLSN editor Nook Schoenfeld.Lighting Designer of the Year

Sooner Routhier, LD for Imagine Dragons.



Cosmo Wilson, 2015's Parnelli winning Lighting Director, is touring with AC/DC this year. Next stop: Australia and New Zealand.Lighting Director of the Year

Cosmo Wilson, lighting director for AC/DC.



LeRoy Bennett accepts the 2015 Parnelli Award for Set/Scenic Designer of the Year.Set/Scenic Designer of the Year

LeRoy Bennett, for Maroon 5.



Sound Image co-founder Dave Shadoan with the 2015 Parnelli Award for Sound Company of the Year.Sound Company of the Year

Sound Image. Pictured here, Dave Shadoan




FOH and PLSN voters chose Clearwing Productions as the 2015 Hometown Hero Sound Company of the Year. Clearwing's Gregg Brunclik accepts the honor.Hometown Hero Sound Company of the Year

Clearwing Productions. Accepting the award is Gregg Brunclik.



Laurie Quigley was honored for his FOH mix for Lenny Kravitz.FOH Mixer of the Year

Laurie Quigley, FOH engineer for Lenny Kravitz.



Rance Caldwell with the 2015 Parnelli for his monitor mix for Crosby Stills and Nash.Monitor Mixer of the Year

Rance Caldwell, monitor mixer for Crosby, Stills and Nash.



A colleague accepted for Jim 'Fish' Miller, 2015 Parnelli Audio System Tech of the Year.Audio System Tech of the Year

Jim "Fish" Miller. A colleague accepts the award for Miller, honored for his work with Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull.




PRG/Nocturne's Nick Jackson accepted the plaque, but not the credit, on behalf of PRG/Nocturne colleagues supporting the video needs of U2's most recent tour.Video Production Company of the Year

PRG Nocturne. Nick Jackson accepts on behalf of colleagues honored for the U2 tour.



Video Director Mike Drew was recognized for his work on Rascal Flatts.Video Director of the Year

Mike Drew was honored for his work with Rascall Flatts.



Mountain Productions' Jim Evans with the 2015 Parnelli Award for Staging Company of the Year.Staging Company of the Year

Mountain Productions. Jim Evans accepts the honor.



Atlanta Rigging's David Piccola with the 2015 Parnelli for Rigging Company of the Year.Rigging Company of the Year

Atlanta Rigging Systems. David Piccola accepts the award.



All Access Staging & Productions won for Set Construction Company of the Year. Erik Eastland accepted the honor. 

Set Construction Company of the Year

All Access Staging & Productions. Erik Eastland accepts the award.



Mark Grega from Strictly FX with the 2015 Parnelli for Pyro Company of the Year.Pyro Company of the Year

Strictly FX. Mark Grega accepts.



Joey Hemphill arrived to serve as a presenter for the 2015 Parnelli Awards and went home with the award honoring Hemphill Brothers as Coach Company of the Year.Coach Company of the Year

Hemphill Brothers. Joey Hemphill, pictured here, also served as a presenter at the awards ceremony.



Loren Haas from StageCall with the 2015 Parnelli Award for Trucking Company of the Year.Trucking Company of the Year

Stage Call. Loren Haas accepts.



Rock-It Cargo's David Bernstein thanked Chris Lamb for giving his young freight forwarding company a chance with a Queen tour back in 1981. The company was honored as the 2015 Parnelli Freight Forwarding Company of the Year.Freight Forwarding Company of the Year

Rock-It Cargo. David Bernstein accepts.



Earl Neal was honored with the 2015 Patrick Stansfield Production Manager of the Year Award.The Patrick Stansfield Production Manager of the Year

Earl Neal with the award, named this year in Patrick Stansfield's honor.

For his work with Lady Antebellum, Curt Jenkins was honored with the Patrick Stansfield Tour Manager of the Year Award at the 2015 Parnelli Awards.The Patrick Stansfield Tour Manager of the Year

Curt Jenkins with the award, which was also named this year in Patrick Stansfield's honor.




Clay Paky's Mythos was honored with the 2015 Indispensable Technology 'IT' Award at the Parnelli Awards in Las Vegas. Pictured here are presenters Nook Schoenfeld and Sooner Routhier.Indispensable Technology - Lighting

Clay Paky Mythos won the category.



Brendon Grimes picks up the 2015 Indispensable Technology 'IT' Award for JBL's VTX V25-II sound system on JBL and Harman's behalf.Indispensable Technology - Audio

JBL's VTX V25-II got top honors. Brendan Grimes accepts on JBL/Harman's behalf.



PixelFLEX's Jeremy Byrd returned to the Parnelli Awards podium this year for the Indispensable Technology 'IT' Award-winning FLEXCurtain HD.Indispensable Technology - Video

PixelFLEX FLEXCurtain HD won this year. Jeremy Byrd accepted the award.



Yvan Miron with the 2015 Indispensable Technology 'IT' Award for Stageline's SAM575 mobile stage.Indispensable Technology - Staging

Stageline SAM 575 won. Yvan Miron accepted the honor.



Congratulations to all the winners and thanks once again to the 2015 Parnelli Awards Sponsors and Presenters!



John Andrews welcomed Pat Quilter to the stage.The 2015 Parnelli Awards Presenters

John Andrews was a high school kid when he started showing up to hammer speaker cabinets together in Pat Quilter’s shop in the 1970s along side his older brother, Barry. He would get a finance degree from USC in 1977, and work for the struggling company full time. Both Andrews became partners and would see QSC grow into an international company serving concert touring, houses of worship and movie theaters.

Benny Collins, a.k.a. 'Little Hat,' won the Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. He presented the 2015 honor to Chris 'Big Hat' Lamb.Benny Collins, production/tour manager for Michael Jackson, Journey, David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Madonna and U2, among others, received the Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.



Bob Goldstein, 2014's Parnelli Audio Innovator, presented some of the 2015 Audio Awards and gave a quick tutorial on the advantages of the need to speak directly into the mic.Bob Goldstein was a kid playing bass in local Baltimore bands before he started Maryland Sound in 1966. From an early gig at Madison Square Garden, he immediately developed a reputation for taking on the truly big gigs (he regularly handles New York City’s Time’s Square New Year’s Celebration, and allowed over two million to hear President Obama’s historic swearing in ceremony in 2009).  He received the Parnelli Audio Innovator Award in 2014.


FOH editor George Petersen teamed up with Parnelli presenter (and Coach Company award recipient) Joey Hemphill.Joey Hemphill and his brother Trent grew up playing, singing, and traveling together with their family in the gospel music group, The Hemphills. In 1980s they bought a couple of tour buses from their father and formed Hemphill Brothers in 1980 when they were in their early 20s. Today they have a fleet of more than 90 coaches.



Parnelli-winning lighting designer Peter Morse worked with Lifetime Achievement Parnelli Award winner Chris Lamb on some of Madonna's tours.Peter Morse started out as a singer/songwriter who cut his first folk album when he was 16. After spending time in L.A. recording and working as a session singer, he convinced Mac Davis he could run his lights for him even though he had barely changed a light bulb at that point. Today he is an Emmy- and Parnelli-winning lighting designer who for nearly 40 years been one of the most dominant and influential creative designers in the live event industry. He’s collaborated with Michael Jackson, Madonna, Barbara Streisand, Prince, Usher, Bette Midler, Shania Twain, Jennifer Lopez, and many others.

George Petersen has been editor of FRONT of HOUSE since 2012. Prior to that he served as editor for Mix magazine for nearly 30 years. He’s also an author, lecturer, musician (drums and guitar among other instruments), audio installer and of course, FOH engineer. A true historian of the audio industry, buy him a drink and he’ll dazzle you about under-appreciated pioneers.

Presenters Nook Schoenfeld and Sooner Routhier can both claim Parnelli Lighting Designer bragging rights, among their many other career achievements.Sooner Routhier hails from Vermont and is a production designer and co-owner of SRae Productions. She’s worked as a lighting designer and director for modern dance, theatre, and concert touring. Currently working with Imagine Dragons, she’s also worked with Rage Against the Machine, The All American Rejects, Motley Crue, KISS, Jay Z, and Bon Jovi, among others. She holds a BFA in Technical Theater from Emerson College.

Nook Schoenfeld is the editor of PLSN magazine. Prior to that position he was the monthly contributor to the LD-at-Large column. Still an active Production Designer/LD, clients include Kid Rock, Ben Harper, Lionel Richie, Talking Heads and Imagine Dragons, among many others. His given first name is Richard, and how he got his nickname apparently requires a bit of time and a couple of drinks.

Production manager Mark 'Springo' Spring brought his dry wit from Phoenix to Las Vegas.Mark “Springo” Spring is an award-winning tour and production manager who graduated with a degree in technical theater before getting a job at Showlites in Los Angeles. He moved on from lighting into stage managing and eventually was Production manager for the likes of Simon & Garfunkel, Alicia Keys and Paul McCartney, among others. Based in Phoenix, he’s a proud member of the Phoenix Mafia.


ETC's Steve Terry welcomed David Cunningham to the Parnelli stage.Steve Terry began his live event career with the Dance Theater of Harlem touring as their production electrician. He was along side David Cunningham installing the first computerized lighting-control system on Broadway for A Chorus Line. He would become a consultant of ETC for many years until he became vice president of professional services in 2001. He is a founding member of the Entertainment Services and Technology Association, now PLASA.




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