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“And then there’s George Clooney…”: The APRS Sound Fellowship

Abbey Road's Colette Barber confesses to starstruck moment at annual producer bash

Stalwarts of the recording industry gathered at the Kensington Roof Gardens on Tuesday for the annual APRS Sound Fellowship lunch. The event, hosted by Sir George and Lady Martin, welcomed six new recipients into the Fellowship: six individuals who had made a significant contribution to the art, science or business of sound recording”. Among the inductees this year were Abbey Road’s Colette Barber (main pic), Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters and US recording engineer Al Schmitt.

6Music presenter and recording artist Tom Robinson (right) kicked off proceedings with the Harewood Toast, the lunch’s ‘keynote’ address. Robinson reminded the audience of producers, studio managers and friends about the “good old days”– before, in a clever twist, coming to the conclusion that “there has never been a better time to be in the industry: all you need is an amazing record.”

Joining APRS executive director Peter Filleul as co-host for the first time this year was Soundcraft design guru Graham Blyth. “Fairly on at Soundcraft it was decided there should be a safe distance between myself and the client,” Blyth warned the guests.

Filleul and Blyth read citations for reclusive producer Mutt Lange – who sent a heartfelt, simplistic video message of acceptance to the Fellowship – and Roger Waters, who sent a heavily edited and stylised monochrome video ‘thank you’ instead. (Introducing the absent Waters, Filleul, to great comic effect, announced: “Roger Waters: wish you were here.”)

Terry Marshall received a posthumous Fellowship on behalf of his late father Jim, the ‘Master of Loud’. Terry regaled guests with tales from Marshall Amplification’s history, and amused everyone by announcing that his father had the foresight to pass away at the “end of the fiscal year, April 5th”. (Pictured is Terry receiving the award from Sir George, while Peter Filleul looks on.)

Al Schmitt’s acceptance was read aloud by Peter Filleul. MPG chairman Steve Levine accepted the award on behalf of Lamont Dozier, and read out a message penned by the Tamla Motown champion.

The highlight of the lunch was undoubtedly the induction of Colette Barber into the Fellowship – only the second woman so far to achieve that status.

“I’ve had the best job ever,” said the Abbey Road studio manager. “Thanks to Ken Townshend who employed me 35 years ago. But it’s not about me, it’s about Abbey Road: the producers, the engineers, the artists… and then there’s George Clooney…”

The afternoon’s events were brought to a close by former Dire Straits manager Ed Bicknell (right), again sharing anecdotes from a life of rock’n’roll.

(All pictures: (c) Gilead Limor 2014,