The 13th Annual Madison Area Music Awards are This Sunday, June 19th
If there is one best day of the year to choose to support local music it would have to be the date of the annual Madison Area Music Association Awards, more affectionately referred to as the MAMAs. No other program is as community-minded and well-rounded, honoring the achievements of local artists over the previous year while driving home its mission of nurturing the next generation of musical artists.
The thirteenth annual presentation of this event, which has been dubbed “the Grammys of Madison” promises to be another stellar celebration of what the greater Madison area has to offer. The date for the event is Sunday, June 19th and will take place in the Capitol Theater in the Overture Center. The Red Carpet Celebration is expanded this year, beginning at 5 pm and running for two hours. It’s such a festive part of the evening where musicians who rarely get to greet each other have a chance to mingle. Lots of introductions have been made over the years and numerous collaborations have arisen as a result. Film crews capture the proceedings for annals of Madison history. It’s a joyous occasion that is not to be missed.
First-time attendees at the MAMAs usually leave the theater a bit stunned. The most common comment heard is always, “I had no idea that this was such a spectacular event.” The organization hopes to remove the “I had no idea…” part of that most common retort. It’s a little lengthy, of course, but running from 7pm to 9:30 pm, there is never a dull moment in the program. The youth performers focus the MAMA mission. The second most-heard comment goes along the lines of, “The young performers were simply stunning!” They keep the professionals on their toes and that’s a fact.
One young performer you won’t want to miss is Raine Stern. Mixing the young with the…well, not-so-young-but-definitely-young-at-heart maestros the Jimmys, this is a strong case in point. Stern is a technically proficient guitarist at a mere seventeen years of age but is much more. She’s intelligent, well-versed in music and in life. It’s these qualities that bear the promise of not only a joyously prosperous music career but also one that is likely to be meaningful. We are likely to be saying, “I remember seeing her at the MAMAs,” about Stern.
The MAMAs have also frequently drawn from the pool of finalists in the Bolz Final Forte competition presented by the Madison Symphony each year. There have been jaw-dropping performances over the years on a diverse array of instruments. This year will feature the competition’s winner, Robert Rockman who will perform on marimba. Rockman also has the distinction of winning this year’s Student of the Year award. The Teacher of the Year award will go to Shauncey Ali, a long-time violin instructor who rose up through the Music Makers program founded by Bonnie Greene. Ali will also perform with his group Madfiddle who will appear along with Highway 151. Music Makers is a frequent recipient of MAMA funding and Ali is but one example of the work that our organizations do in tandem.
Ali will appear with the classically-inspired bluegrass of Graminy which includes the husband-and-wife team of Chris Wagoner and Mary Gaines. The couple, who are notable music educators, will receive the distinguished Musicnotes Musical Career Recognition Award.
And let’s not forget the hall-of-fame MAMA, the Broadjam Lifetime Achievement Award, which this year will be presented to Jonathan and Susan Lipp, the founders of Full Compass Systems and stalwart community supporters of the arts.
The audience will also be entertained by the pop-soul-funk groove of Trap Saturn, the ethnic virtuosity of Samba Novistas, hip-hop sensation Dogs of War and the glam-pop of Joey Broyles who will perform with a who’s who of Madison stars including Lyndsay Evans (Sexy Ester) Meghan Rose (Meghan Rose and the Bones and Damsel Trash among others), Shawndell Marks (Gin, Chocolate and Bottle Rockets and the Shawndell Marks Band), Gabe Burdulis (Gabe Burdulis Trio and Future Stuff) and others.
Music is not just entertainment, it’s a productive force that binds people together, reflecting back all that is beautiful in this world as well as all that needs fixing. Music education is so vitally important. Kids who are involved with music perform better in other subjects. It’s mostly about attitude. Science will tell us there are connections happening in the brain but let’s face it, music improves life and music education keeps kids in school. Bear in mind that frequently proposed cuts to music education are a threat to our society. If you can’t make it to the MAMA Awards this Sunday, please help support its mission by making a donation at the website. You can also earmark funds for MAMA Cares, a new program that is establishing the Jacy Ray Fund, money that will help uninsured and underinsured Madison area musicians in times of crisis.
See you at the MAMAs.