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Music awards a ‘sampler plate’ of state’s best

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico has its own style – this includes music.

For the second year the New Mexico Music Foundation is honoring six New Mexicans at the Platinum Music Awards.

bright spot

“It’s always a new ballgame,” says David Schwartz, foundation president and show producer.”We’re honoring new players in making the New Mexico music scene that much greater.”

The Platinum Music Awards celebrate the lifetime achievement of New Mexico’s music heroes and icons.

The awards are an evolution of the New Mexico Music Commission’s Platinum Achievement Awards – given to musicians, music supporters, and music organizations or businesses that have demonstrated the highest level of achievement and have contributed significantly to the musical culture of New Mexico.

Anyone in New Mexico can nominate musicians, composers, music-related businesses (music stores, studios, production facilities, record labels etc.), and organizations (performance venues, groups and troupes).

The awards are also a benefit for the New Mexico Music Commission and its ongoing educational projects, Schwartz says.

The process for nominations started in February and ran for six weeks.

Hummingbird Music Camp

Then a selection committee deliberated and named the following honorees: Antonia Apodaca, Dr. William Clark, Tom Guralnick, Nacha Mendez and Malcom Yepa. The Hummingbird Music Camp, founded in 1959 by Kenneth Lloyd and Wanda Higgins, is being honored with the Lee Berk Award.

The camp gives children ages 8 through 14 an opportunity to experience band, guitar, orchestra, piano and voice, with musical direction provided for all levels of players.

Antonia Apodaca

Apodaca, now in her 80th year of performing, has become an icon in the history of New Mexican folk music. She is a musician and songwriter known for her performances of traditional New Mexico music. Her instruments are accordion and guitar, along with her passionate voice and treasure chest of traditional music.

Clark was director of bands at New Mexico State University from 1985 to 1994 and then became chair of the NMSU Music Depart-ment where he is credited with doubling the number of music majors to more than 200 during his 11 years.

Guralnick has been an arts presenter and performing musician for more than 40 years and is founder and executive director of the Outpost Performance Space.

Mendez is pioneering the genre of world Latin music, drawing from the influences of her youth and the formal training she received during her world travels.

Malcom Yepa

Yepa’s contribution to New Mexico’s music industry is prodigious and unique. He is an accomplished musician as a singer, drummer and composer both in Native American Pueblo and

Nacha Mendez

powwow styles.

“The idea for the awards is to be diverse and not reflect any genre,” Schwartz says. “It’s designed to be representative of New Mexico’s music culture. There’s a rich history to the state’s music, and we want the honorees to reflect that.”

Schwartz says that this year there were six very clear representatives that deserve the honor.

“Each one is a musical hero,” he says. “They’ve influenced lots of people around the state.”

Schwartz says that during the ceremony, other musicians will pay homage to the honorees.

“We have 11 musical performances and a number of tribute speeches by amazing people,” he says. “It’s a lot to get into two hours. The way I look at it is that this event is a sampler plate of the best music in New Mexico.”

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