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Candyman Strings & Things

The Candyman Strings & Things ~ Santa Fe & Los Alamos

The NM Music Commission Foundation is pleased to present the 2019 Lee Berk Foundation Award to Rand and Cindy Cook, owners of the Candyman Strings and Things, celebrating 50 years of serving New Mexico’s musicians and music students.

The Candyman Strings & Things is New Mexico’s premier full-line music store that serves families to professional musicians, and everyone in between. Winning the prestigious NAMM Dealer of the Year Award in 2014, The Candyman also offers an instrument rental program as well as repair and commercial sound installation services in their Santa Fe and Los Alamos stores.

In 1969 the store’s founder Matthew Schwartzman opened a small acoustic guitar shop in downtown Santa Fe. The store expanded to include large home theater equipment, electronics, recorded music and musical instruments. The original store had a major fire in the 1990’s, which then led to the store’s current location on St. Michael’s Drive.

Beyond selling musical instruments, Candyman has several innovative programs that promote the benefits of playing music. Their annual “Wanna Play” initiative invites non-musicians to the store to have hands-on experiences with musical instruments, to unlock their inner talents. Their “Summer Rock Camp” puts kids age 8-18 into real-life band situations. During this 2-week program, the participants learn to play in a band, record at a studio, visit radio stations and perform in a live concert. It is a truly life-changing experience for many of these kids.

above: video biopic short about Candyman and owners Cindy and Rand Cook – premiered August 23, 2019 at the Platinum Music Awards show – created by Bunee Tomlinson of Windswept Media.

No copyright is claimed in the above creative examples and to the extent that material may appear to be infringed, the New Mexico Music Commission asserts that such alleged infringement is permissible under fair use principles in U.S. copyright laws. If you believe these materials have been used in an unauthorized manner, please contact us.

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Fresquez, Noberta

Noberta Fresquez ~ Arabela | Deming | Albuquerque

Noberta Fresquez is a 2019 Platinum Music Awards honoree. Originally from Deming and currently living in Albuquerque, Noberta is well known in the world of Mariachi throughout the United States and Mexico. She is the producer and developer of Mariachi Spectacular, now in its 29th year in Albuquerque. She produces the Mariachi Christmas show held annually at Popejoy Hall, a family tradition now in its 19th year. She has brought international talent to the NM Market and showcased some of New Mexico’s finest entertainers.

Noberta’s passion for show production began in the late 70’s with her first event for the local LULAC agency, (League of United Latin American Citizens). This led to her taking on the production for the National LULAC conference in 1981. She then produced and promoted shows across the US for Mexican Music Legend Antonio Aguilar where she perfected her art of stage production.

For 20 years, Noberta produced the Hispanic Heritage Shows at Tingley Coliseum for the New Mexico State Fair, featuring nationally known Mexican acts as well as local entertainment. During the 20+ days of the Fair, Norberta showcased acts from all over the state and from multiple genres including Mariachi, Dance, New Mexico Style music, Country, Latin Pop, Norteño, TexMex as well as artisan styles.

In 1991 Noberta created the Mariachi Spectacular where her favorite music, Mariachi, would be highlighted and classes could be offered to the local community. She had great assistance from Dr. Rupert Trujillo, The University of New Mexico Department of Continuing Education and other Community Leaders. The Mariachi Spectacular has grown from approximately 40 students to over 600 that attend annually.

above: video biopic short about Noberta Fresquez – premiered August 23, 2019 at the Platinum Music Awards show – created by Bunee Tomlinson of Windswept Media.
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Dalton, Bert

Bert Dalton ~ Santa Fe

Bert Dalton is a 2019 Platinum Music Awards honoree. Originally from Chicago and living in Santa Fe for over 20 years, Bert is a renowned and versatile jazz pianist, arranger, educator, and producer, who has lived, performed and taught in Santa Fe for 20 years. Bert is a recipient of the 2013 Santa Fe Mayor’s Award for Excellence, A Chicago native, Bert received his music education at Northern Illinois University, studying with Dr. J. B. Floyd and performing with Ron Modell’s award-winning NIU Jazz Ensemble.

Bert’s versatility shines in his performance history. He has led a number of groups such as the Chicago Jazz Exchange, Yoboso, the Bert Dalton Trio, the Dalton Brothers Trio, and most recently the Brazil Project. In addition to leading these groups, Bert has performed internationally and recorded with Herbie Mann, Anita O’Day, Bud Shank, Butch Miles, Howard Alden, Frank Morgan, Bobby Shew, Eddie Daniels and many others. In addition, he has opened for Tito Puente, Pete Escovedo, Grover Washington Jr. Pancho Sanchez, and the Count Basie Orchestra.

Bert has been Music Director of the National Dance Institute (NDI) of New Mexico since 1998, currently serving over 6,000 elementary school children throughout NM. He has authored a pianist’s manual and organized the first Music Director’s Conference for the national Association of NDIs. His many years of service at NDI-NM as Music Director have brought his piano music, delightful personality, and presence as a mentor into countless schools and to thousands of children.

above: video biopic short about Bert Dalton – premiered August 23, 2019 at the Platinum Music Awards show – created by Bunee Tomlinson of Windswept Media.
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Bonnell, Jim

Jim Bonnell ~ Alamogordo | Artesia | Albuquerque

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Jim Bonnell is a 2019 Platinum Music Awards honoree. Jim has spent his entire life selflessly serving as a music educator, professional violist, and promoter of high-quality new music. Jim taught extensively in the Albuquerque Public Schools, retiring after almost thirty years in public music education. His service included both instruction and music administration.

As a professional musician, he performed as a violist in many Southwestern organizations including the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Opera Southwest, the El Paso Symphony, the Roswell Symphony, the Albuquerque Civic Symphony, the New Mexico Chamber Orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque.  He conducted various orchestras in the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program:  Valley Junior Orchestra, Heights Junior Orchestra, Albuquerque Junior Symphony, and Albuquerque Youth Symphony.

Throughout his career Jim held leadership positions in many community and professional organizations. One notable example is his involvement with the University of New Mexico’s John Donald Robb Musical Trust. The Robb Trust was established in the late 80’s “to support the music and musical legacy of John Donald Robb, to further his inspiring commitment to education and to advance the understanding of music of the Southwest.”

He began his teaching career in Artesia, NM, where he met his lifelong collaborator in music and life, Paula Diane Thompson, from Truman, Arkansas.  They were married in 1964 and recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. 

above: video biopic about Jim Bonnell’s prolific career – premiered August 23, 2019 at the Platinum Music Awards show – created by Bunee Tomlinson of Windswept Media.
Platnum Achievement

Guralnick, Thomas

Thomas Guralnick ~ Albuquerque

photo: Marla Brose, Albuquerque Journal

Tom Guralnick has been an arts presenter and performing musician for more than 40 years. He has been a force of nature bringing more than 100 jazz concert events annually to New Mexico for nearly 30 years as the Founder and Executive Director of the Outpost. Outpost offers a uniquely eclectic mix of jazz, experimental, folk & roots, and international music in its own intimate and elegant performance space as well as in larger venues in the community. Outpost also hosts extensive educational programs and youth performance opportunities.

The former director of New Mexico Jazz Workshop, Tom is also current board president for the Western Jazz Presenters Network. He is also the Artistic Director of the New Mexico Jazz Festival (Albuquerque & Santa Fe) since 1996.

Guralnick toured nationally and internationally as a solo saxophonist as well as with his own innovative trio, the TG3. Guralnick serves on the boards of several other arts organizations including: the New Mexico Presenters Alliance; the African American Performing Arts Center; the Santa Fe Music Collective; Tricklock Theatre Company; and is a member of the Advisory Board of 516 ARTS. In April of 2016, the Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) named Guralnick a “Jazz Hero.”

Learn more about Tom

above: Tom’s tribute video from the 2018 Platinum Music Awards show at the Lensic. Filmed and edited by Bunee Tomlinson of Windswept Media. Produced by the New Mexico Music Commission Foundation, David Schwartz Executive Producer.

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Mendez, Nacha

Nacha Mendez ~ La Union | Santa Fe

Nacha Mendez is pioneering the genre of World Latin music, drawing from the influences of her youth combined with the formal training she received during her world travels. Nacha grew up as Marghreta Cordero in the tiny border town of La Union, in southern New Mexico, where she began singing and playing the guitar at an early age. She learned traditional Ranchera Cancion from her grandmother and performed in border towns near El Paso with her cousins the Black Brothers. Nacha is recipient of the New Mexico Music Commission’s 2018 Platinum Music Award.

She went on to study classical voice and electronic music at New Mexico State University before moving to New York City, where she studied flamenco guitar with Manuel Granados of the Music Conservatory of Barcelona, Spain. In the early 90’s she toured Europe as a principal singer in Robert Ashley’s opera company.

Nacha is a nationally recognized artist who received a National Endowment for the Arts Award and a fellowship from Mutable Music in New York. In February 2011, she was honored by the New Mexico Committee of the National Museum of Women Artists. She was voted Best Female vocalist in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2009, 2010 and 2015. She was awarded Best Family Entertainer in 2012 by the Human Rights Alliance. She received the New Mexico Music industry award for best production in the Latin music category 2013 for her song Bella Isabel.

Learn more about Nacha

above: Nacha’s tribute video from the 2018 Platinum Music Awards show at the Lensic. Filmed and edited by Bunee Tomlinson of Windswept Media. Produced by the New Mexico Music Commission Foundation, David Schwartz Executive Producer.