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Platinum Music Awards

2019 Honorees


2019 Honorees
Jim Bonnell
Bert Dalton
Noberta Fresquez
Robert Mirabal
Cipriano Vigil
Lee Berk Foundation Award
The Candyman Strings & Things
Click Here to Find Out More About  the 2017 and 2018 PMA Honorees
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Jim BonnellTrue to all of our hearts here at the PMAs, Jim Bonnell 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. 

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Bert Dalton  Jazz pianist, arranger, educator, and producer Bert Dalton has been living and performing in Santa Fe for more than 25 years. He has led a number of groups including the Chicago Jazz Exchange, Yoboso, the Bert Dalton Trio, the Dalton Brothers Trio, and most recently the Brazil Project. 

Originally from Chicago, Bert received his music education at Northern Illinois University, and has performed in concerts, clubs, and jazz festivals throughout the continental US, Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia. 

Bert has been Music Director of the National Dance Institute of New Mexico since 1998, currently serving over 8,000 elementary school children throughout the state. He has arranged and conducted hundreds of shows, trained dozens of accompanists, and worked with artists such as Shirley MacLaine, Ann Reinking, Jacques D’Amboise, and Bill Evans.

Along with John Trentacosta, Bert co-founded the New Mexico School for the Arts jazz program. The program has grown from a before-school activity to a major arts track, and the ensemble has recently performed in New York City and Chendu, China.

As a musician, Bert has performed with many renowned artists such as Frank Morgan, Bud Shank, Herbie Mann, Gene Lees, Anita O’Day, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Ali Ryerson, Bobby Shew, Pete Barbutti, Victor Mendoza, Greg Abate, Doug Lawrence, and the Smothers Brothers. He has been presented by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and has performed with Santa Fe Pro Musica, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and the Allen (TX) Philharmonic Symphony in a concert featuring his works for jazz trio and orchestra as well his original orchestral suite for “The Shamrock and The Feather,” a novel by Dori Dalton. 

Bert has recorded and produced over two dozen recordings, won 12 New Mexico Music Awards including the Eric Larson Lifetime Achievement Award, and was recipient of the 2013 Santa Fe Mayors Arts Award.

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Noberta Fresquez  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, Noberta 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.

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Robert Mirabal  Robert is an internationally respected Pueblo musician and Native American flute player and maker from Taos Pueblo, New Mexico. His flutes are world-renowned and have been displayed at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of the American Indian. An award-winning musician and leading proponent of world music, Robert performs worldwide, sharing flute songs, tribal rock, dance, and storytelling.


Raised traditionally by his mother and grandparents on the pueblo, Robert began making flutes at the age of 19. In school, he had learned how to play clarinet, saxophone, piano, and drums, but found his true musical voice in the traditional Native American flute. He met the renowned Native American flute player R. Carlos Nakai as a young man and was greatly inspired by him.


Robert has twice received Native American Music Awards' Artist of the Year, and the Songwriter of the Year award three times. He was featured in a Grammy Award winning album, Sacred Ground: A Tribute to Mother Earth in 2006 for Best Native American Music Album.


Robert came to national prominence during his performance in PBS' 1998 musical dance production, Spirit: A Journey in Dance, Drum, and Song, for which he composed the soundtrack with traditional flute and percussion. A follow up 2002 program Music from a Painted Cave and its corresponding became a benchmark world music album. He also collaborated with John Tesh for the acclaimed PBS One World TV special for the millennium in 2000, which showcased music from around the world.


Robert is a father and a farmer, living in Taos Pueblo and participating in the traditional ways and rituals of his people.

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Cipriano Vigil Cipriano has devoted his life to the collecting and performing of Hispano folk music and the education of this music through his instrument building. His love of New Mexico and its culture is what drives him. Cipriano is dedicated to preserving the music of the culture that he grew up with.


Since 1960 Cipriano has recorded the old musicians to create a collection of 21 CDs. There are decimas, cuandos, trovos, inditas, corridos valonas, basically the whole long list of styles of this region. He loves the entregas, of birth, marriage, and death, which he often performs for those who request it.


Cipriano’s book, New Mexican Folk Music/Cancionero del Folklor Nuevomexicano was published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2014. This book documents the beautiful music of this region.


Cipriano also makes instruments. Working with the schools, he has made over 3000 cigar box guitars for the state’s students. After building the necks and preparing the boxes, he takes them to the schools where the children assemble them, and he teaches them a few very basic chords and strums. The children then take their guitars home to keep.


Scott Andrews, PhD of the Wisdom Archive, has produced a short film about Cipriano called “Cipriano Vigil – Musico de la Gente”. 



The Candyman Strings & Things  The NM Music Commission Foundation is pleased to present the 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.

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