And the Winner is…

And the Winner is…

The Lehigh Valley has long had a burgeoning music scene – from Lillian Briggs to Dooley Invention to Magnum to Taylor Swift – but, until 1999, there were only the usual ways of recognizing the players’ and singers’ accomplishments. Regular paying gigs are rewarding, and you can’t beat a devoted fan base… but there’s nothing quite like being called on-stage to receive a tangible symbol of your success.

All of that changed with the Lehigh Valley Music Awards (LVMA) program, an annual event that’s co-sponsored by the Greater Lehigh Valley Music Association (GLVMA) and ArtsQuest. In just 16 years, LVMA has become the 17th largest regional awards program in the U. S., and the largest in Pennsylvania. It’s all coordinated by LVMA president Ricardo Flores and board member/Grammy winner Gloria Domina.


The first few programs were on the small side, Domina recalls. “There were only 10 awards presented, with about 100 people in the crowd. And we had no real formula for selecting honorees,” she said.

About five years ago, ArtsQuest’s Senior Vice President of Programming, Patrick Brogan, volunteered to be the show’s stage manager. That helped kick the event to a higher level, and it moved to Symphony Hall, the Scottish Rite Cathedral and, most recently the
Musikfest Café.

This year, the LVMA honored musicians in nearly 70 categories, and again was recorded for broadcast by Service Electric cable TV.


Everyone casts their votes online, or with a write-in ballot. And while fans of all stripes are welcome to pick favorites in that division, industry voting is restricted to those in that end of the business.

“We did that because we think they’ll have a better understanding of those aspects of the music business itself,” Flores said. Those voters are identified by occupation and work location; and if there are any questions, the LVMA committee will follow up.

“Ultimately, our goal is to have an independent third-party handle all the qualifying and vote tallying,” he adds. “We want to be there to present the awards, and be completely separate from the selection process.”

The winners’ names are withheld (except for special award recipients, such as Jay Proctor, this year’s “lifetime achievement” winner, marking his 50 years in showbiz) until the ceremony itself.

In addition to plenty of public adulation, the winners receive a handsome certificate enclosed in a custom-made portfolio. “Special category” winners also take home a hand-crafted art glass “music note” statuette created by the skilled artisans of ArtsQuest’s Banana Factory.

This year, special awards were also bestowed on the legendary Chubby Checker, and J. T. Carter, founder of doo-wop group the Crests. Fittingly, Carter sang “Sixteen Candles,” the group’s biggest hit, during the presentation of a 16th-anniversary cake to the GLVMA.

But there are offstage winners, too. For the second year, LVMA awarded scholarships to about a half-dozen budding high school musicians.

“We do this because there’s a thriving music community that needs more exposure,” Domina said. “Our mission is not to fabricate things, but to help uncover and support what’s already out there. There’s music in your backyard that’s as good as what’s on the radio.”


“May I have the envelope, please…”

A packed Musikfest Café raved as 70 awards were handed out.
Among the major winners were:

Scott Marshall
Best album, Best song, Outstanding country band/soloist, Outstanding Americana band/soloist, and Recognition as a 20-year veteran

Sarah Ayers
Outstanding singer/songwriter, Female artist, All-around performer, and Female vocalist

James Supra
Best harmonica player… for the 16th time!

Chelsea Lynn Meyer
Outstanding industry volunteer

Liberty High School Band
Outstanding high school marching band

For a complete list of winners, visit

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