The Greater Lehigh Valley Music Association

The Greater Lehigh Valley Music Association

By Liz Reph

The Greater Lehigh Valley Music Association, or GLVMA, is a non-profit community based arts organization dedicated to supporting local musicians and helping develop the Valley’s music scene. “Our mission is to create and deliver positive experiences through music, with a focus on honoring and developing our youth,” said Ricardo Flores, GLVMA President. “We believe that artistic expression and the creative process are positive contributions to the community, and we exist to help create and deliver these experiences.”

Comprised of passionate, like-minded volunteers, GLVMA produces the annual Lehigh Valley Music Awards – a ceremony that honors and celebrates the Valley’s top musical talent. Now entering its sixteenth year, the Music Awards grew from a small event honoring just ten artists to a major celebration that recognizes both local musicians and industry-related businesses. Last year’s ceremony, which marked the first time the event was co-produced with ArtsQuest and held in the Musikfest Café at SteelStacks, featured 75 awards and was televised on Service Electric cable television.

“GLVMA is really an outgrowth of the Lehigh Valley Music Awards,” explained Flores. “The people who were producing the Music Awards wanted to do more to help promote and develop the Valley music scene on a year-round basis. So, about three years ago, we founded GLVMA with that vision in mind.”

Since taking over as GLVMA President last year, Flores has helped establish several new programs aimed at providing this ongoing support. “The Legitimacy Roadmap is a program we recently started to help connect local musicians with Valley businesses. Because the success of the music scene is dependent upon our ability to showcase the talent we have as an attractive option for Valley venues, we want to create relationships that are mutually beneficial. So, for example, we will help an artist understand how to book a show at a venue, and then educate them on how to best promote the event to help raise the overall attendance. This benefits both the artist and the venue, so it’s a real synergy that helps elevate the entire Lehigh Valley arts scene,” explained Flores.

Another newly established initiative, called the ECHOES Mentorship Program, is designed to pair young budding artists with more seasoned veterans. By creating mentor relationships, the hope is that ECHOES will help young artists stay on a positive path towards achieving their own goals and future plans. “Right now, we are only in the pilot phase of ECHOES, but we believe this program will be a real asset in helping young artists stay motivated,” said Flores. “The music industry can be very difficult, so these young people will have the opportunity to learn from those who have already been through it. And that, we believe, will be crucial in helping them achieve their own success.”

Thanks to a blossoming relationship with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the organization that puts on the GRAMMY Awards), GLVMA is also in talks to begin seminars and other educational events aimed at helping musicians navigate the commercial side of the business.

“Because an artist’s mind can be very different from that of a businessperson, they often need assistance in the structured corporate side of the industry,” said Flores. “Of course we can’t guarantee that people are going to make a lot of money, but we can at least help them have the best chance possible at being successful.”

Our hope is to continue to help elevate the industry as a whole and help the local community see what wonderful talent we have here in the Valley.

In addition to these new programs, GLVMA is also working to expand the Lehigh Valley Music Awards Scholarship Fund, which is awarded annually to five high school students who plan on pursuing a musical higher education. “Our scholarship program has existed for years, however, with the rising cost of higher education, we are hoping to expand the monetary awards. Right now our goal is to raise a total of $2,500, with $500 going to each child.”

“Even though we are still in the grassroots stage, we have a lot of momentum going for us,” said Flores. “Last year we received a commendation from the State Senate, and we have the growing support of the Philadelphia Chapter of the GRAMMYs. Our hope is to continue to help elevate the industry as a whole and help the local community see what wonderful talent we have here in the Valley.”

This year’s Lehigh Valley Music Awards will be held March 8, 2015, in the Musikfest Café.

For more information, to purchase tickets to the Music Awards, or to help support any of the Greater Lehigh Valley Music Association’s other events, please visit, or

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