LifeNotes: Industry Leader Kitty Moon Emery Passes

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• February 8, 2017

Kitty Moon Emery

Kitty Moon Emery, one of the most influential figures in Nashville entertainment, has died at age 70.

During her five-decade career, she left her mark on the worlds of music, sports, politics, philanthropy, tourism and more. Kitty Moon Emery was a dynamo who took seats on boards overseeing professional sports, the symphony, film and video production, banks, country music and dozens of charitable organizations. She was one of the most effective civic leaders — male or female — in Music City.

Born Catherine Sue Moon, she was a Nashville native who began her career in public television. She became the press secretary to U.S. Senator Bill Brock in Washington D.C. Next, she served as the assistant national director of advertising for the presidential campaign of Ronald Reagan. Henry Kissinger appointed her to a United Nations advisory committee.

Back in Nashville, she founded Scene Three Inc. in 1974. The company initially specialized in creating political campaign ads, but rapidly diversified. When music videos became popular in the early 1980s, Scene Three was at the forefront of the trend.

The company created video clips for such stars of the 1980s and 1990s as Kathy Mattea, The Statler Brothers, Ricky Skaggs, Sylvia, The Oak Ridge Boys, Ray Charles, Amy Grant, Crystal Gayle, Michael W. Smith, Janie Fricke, Alabama, K.T. Oslin, Reba McEntire, Chet Atkins, George Strait, Tanya Tucker, Patty Loveless, John Michael Montgomery and Sawyer Brown. Among Scene Three’s videos were the career launching “If Tomorrow Never Comes” (1989) and “The Dance” (1990) for Garth Brooks.

Scene Three’s directors included company president Marc Ball, as well as John Lloyd Miller, Larry Boothby, Robert Gabrielsen, Trip Payne and Rob Lindsay. Other key figures at Scene Three at one time or another included Nick Palladino, Dale Franklin, Eric George, Patrice McPeak, Mark Sedgwick and Terry Dull. At its peak, the multi-million-dollar company was the largest video firm in Tennessee and employed more than 50 people.

Under Moon Emery’s leadership, the firm also continued to make waves in the advertising world. In addition to music videos, Scene Three created spots for Toyota, United Cerebral Palsy, Health/Trust, South Central Bell, Northern Telecom, Saturn Corporation, Johnston & Murphy Shoes,

Drexel Heritage Furniture and Bridgestone Tires, among others.

She produced such television specials as A Day in the Life of Country Music (1994), Influences: George Jones & Randy Travis (1991), Jerry Clower Live (1990) and The Gift of Song (1984).

She also founded Scene Three Construction. This firm won a 1995 award from the Metro Historical Commission for its redesign and renovation of the Fitzgerald Hartley Management office on Wedgewood Avenue. Scene Three also began the redevelopment of the Melrose Shopping Center, The firm relocated into the old Melrose Theater there. That building is now the restaurant Sinema on Franklin Pike.

Moon Emery left Scene Three Construction in 2004. Scene Three’s video business was liquidated the following year. She went into the interior-design business at Moll Anderson Home, then became involved in the Global Action Summit Steering Committee and founded Kitty Moon Enterprises. In 2010, she was among the first business figures to back Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam’s gubernatorial candidacy.

Frank Bumstead, Kitty Moon Emery and CMA CEO Sarah Trahern. Photo: Christian Bottorff / CMA

In 1995, Kitty Moon Emery served as the president of the CMA board of directors. She then became president of the CMA Foundation board, overseeing the organization’s charitable donations. These included funds to help build the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame exhibits in the Music City Center.

She was a key figure on the Metro Sports Authority board for more than a decade, and was its chairwoman during the era that lured professional hockey and football franchises to Nashville. As such, she was also part of the team that named the latter the Tennessee Titans.

Her other boards included the Rotary Club, Leadership Nashville, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and Leadership Music, among many others. She was co-chair of the T.J. Martel Honors Gala of 2013.

Kitty Moon Emery’s honors included the CMA President’s Award and the Easter Seals Nashvillian of the Year award. In 2014, she was given a SOURCE Award as well as Leadership Music’s Bridge Award. She was also an inductee into the YWCA’s Academy for Women of Achievement.

Kitty Moon Emery is survived by her husband of 18 years, Patrick Emery, her sister Lady Bird, sister-in-law Jacque Moon and by nieces, nephews and cousins.

Visitations will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 4 p.m.-6pm and on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 10-11 a.m. at Woodmont Christian Church on the corner of Woodmont and Hillsboro Road. The funeral service, which was planned by Kitty, will be held at the church on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 11 a.m. following the second visitation. Following the funeral service, there will be a graveside service for only family and close friends.

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About the Author

Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow . He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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