The ALTA Award, which stands for Achievement in Living Traditions and Arts, was created in 2007 to honor the work of folklorist and community leader Dr. Alta Schrock, who died in 2001.
Each year, three awards are designated – for a Maryland person, place, and tradition that best epitomizes Maryland’s cultural heritage. Individuals are selected based on their demonstration of the highest standards of excellence in such areas as research, documentation, presentation, entrepreneurship, artistry, stewardship and community impact; places honored are those that specially serve to keep traditions alive and that are meaningful and effective gathering places or sites for carrying on living or endangered traditions; and traditions recognized are those that connect communities to cultural heritage in authentic and appropriate ways that exemplify the unique spirit of our state and may include events, occupations, knowledge, cultural scenes, and organizations.
I’m fortunate to work with Maryland Traditions, the folklife program of the Maryland Arts Council, and the National Council for the Traditional Arts, two wonderful organizations that help to keep folk and traditional artforms alive and recognized in my home state. The program last night featured the outstanding inspirational praise music of The Singing & Praying Bands of Maryland, a salute to one of my favorite, but vanishing sports, Duckpin Bowling, an award to Rich Smoker, an exceptional carver of duck decoys, a performance by National Heritage Fellowship winner Warner Williams, and a special pairing of harmonica wizard Phil Wiggins with the Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown playing some soulful blues.\
Jay Summerour & Warner Williams
Cliff Murphy, Director, Maryland Traditions
The raucous world of Duckpin Bowling at Patterson Bowling Center
Somerset County Decoy Carver, Rich Smoker
Harmonica Phil Wiggins and The Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown
The Singing & Praying Bands of Maryland
No Bugs in Warner Williams’ beer tonight!


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