Themed “Make It Count,” the 2012 NAMM show kicked off on day one with its traditional Breakfast of Champions session, welcoming droves of attendees from all over the world to gain valuable insight about the music products industry and the innovation that is being used by successful businesses. The session started with musical performances from orchestral trio Sharon Hurvitz (piano), Avi Nagin (violin) and Natalie Helm (cello), and the cultural rhythms of Indian musician Prakash Sontakke on the slide guitar and Afghanistani musician Salar Nader on the Tabla. NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond conducted one-on-one interviews with industry professionals, focusing on the innovative technologies, techniques and business practices that have given these professionals a competitive edge in today’s economy. Guests included product manufacturer Marcus Ryle of LINE 6, Rick Camino and Will Urban of the online retailer Hello Music, and George Hines of retail store George's Music. “The session was awesome—it was really informative and provided lots of great information we’ll take back and utilize,” said Angus Marshall of Big Music in Sydney, Australia. Lamond then presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Ray Kurzweil, an American author, scientist, inventor and futurist in fields such as optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments. Next, Lamond presented NAMM’s Music for Life Award to Stevie Wonder, honoring him for his brilliant musical contributions and talent that is cherished by people all over the world.