Submission Period for the Bernice Ash Memorial Award Now Open

June 15, 2021

The submission period to apply for the Bernice Ash Memorial Award is now open. The annual award, which recognizes and honors the remarkable life and legacy of Bernice Ash, a music retail visionary who spearheaded the expansion of the Sam Ash family-owned music stores, was announced earlier this year to continue her commitment to excellence in the industry.

The award will recognize one or two award winners each year with a one-time grant in the amount of $5,000 for use in continued college-level or trade-related studies and a travel stipend to attend The NAMM Show in Anaheim, California. Recipients will also receive a one-year mentorship through the NAMM Young Professionals organization.

To be considered, award applicants must be current employees of a NAMM Member company, nominated by that company's owner or manager, and identified as an up-and-coming industry leader seeking further professional development to enhance their career and service to the industry. Applicants must be enrolled or plan to enroll in professional development training that can include a college degree or another certificate program.

The inaugural award application opens today, June 15, and will close on September 30, 2021. Recipients will be notified by November 1, 2021, and make their plans to attend The NAMM Show, June 3-5, 2022, in Anaheim, California.

Interested participants can review the guidelines and apply here:

Earlier this year, industry leaders Fred and Dinah Gretsch, Jerry Ash, and members of the Ash Family and The NAMM Foundation announced the creation of the Bernice Ash Memorial Award. The idea for the award was led by Fred and Dinah Gretsch, who, to start the fund, offered a generous donation of $50,000, matched by Jerry Ash and donations from the Ash Family, Larry Morton of Hal Leonard, and other industry supporters. Fred Gretsch expressed that the long, shared history between the two families inspired the donation: "Dinah and I have worked in the music business for an amazing 98 years together. Bernice and Jerry Ash have that number beaten by a mile. What terrific mentors they are to the Gretsch family and to the music industry as a whole."

During the January announcement on Believe TV at Believe in Music week, Jerry Ash shared, "To Fred and Dinah, what you have done, touches my heart so deeply. My family and the Gretsch family have a long-long history together." Sammy Ash also expressed his gratitude: "From the Ash family to the Gretsch family and the whole industry in general, we thank you so much for this initiative; we will not let you down. My mom is probably looking down on us with a huge smile."

Bernice passed away on December 1, 2020, at the age of 90, leaving a loving family, staff and grateful industry that will carry on her legacy. She began working at the Sam Ash Music Store in New York City in 1947, one year before marrying the founder's eldest son, Jerry. Bernice and Jerry continued the tradition of keeping the retail store in the Ash family. Bernice is widely recognized as one of the pioneers of the development of the sheet music department, which included purchasing and inventory. As the head of sheet music for all of the Sam Ash locations, Bernice designed methods and procedures that resulted in great working relationships with the publishers as well as many satisfied customers.

Read the announcement of the award here:


About NAMM

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 104 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation's efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, please visit, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.