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Spotlight of D.C. Region Shines Here

The crème-de-la-crème of the Washington, D.C., Metro area’s musical talent, their producers, supporters and admirers will bring a gigantic regional spotlight to the City of Falls Church this Sunday night. The 22nd Annual Wammies award ceremony of the Washington Area Music Association will be held Sunday night at the historic State Theatre, and more than 700 at the top of the industry in the region will pack the venue to the rafters.

Pre- and after-parties, formal and informal, will also pack area restaurants as Falls Church will enjoy the attention that comes with hosting one of the premiere annual galas in and around Washington. The official after-party will be held at the Ireland’s Four Provinces, a half-block away from the State Theatre, featuring live music by the Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band.

Awards will be handed out in 97 different categories for music and musical production ranging from classical to hip-hop, jazz, gospel, Latin, cabaret, bluegrass, big band, folk, country, go-go, choral, blues, reggae, rock, urban contemporary and more.

Among the hundreds of nominees, most of whom will be present Sunday, are a select number from Falls Church itself. Randy Barrett is nominated for best bluegrass vocalist, Andrew Acosta is nominated for best bluegrass instrumentalist, Cue Recording is nominated for recording studio of the year and City resident Mary Cliff is nominated for “most supportive of Washington music.” Also, City resident Michael Thornton is a member of the Capital Steps, nominated for best cabaret-musical theatre artist.

Eight nominees have been profiled in the Falls Church News-Press original music interview column Press Pass, including Luke Brindley, Shane Hines and the Trance, Middle Distance Runner, No Second Troy, Welbilt, Billy Hancock, The Grandsons and Justin Trawick.

Tom Carter, owner of the State Theatre, is credited with bringing Falls Church its most prestigious regional event for four straight years now. He and his original partner, since deceased, acquired the decade-long abandoned State Theatre in the mid-1990s, and undertook a major renovation turning the former 1930s movie theatre into one of the region’s foremost live music venues.

As a private sector initiative, the State Theatre stands as the living, breathing cornerstone of Falls Church’s fledgling efforts to emerge as a vital arts-based community, a strongly desired component of its aggressive economic revitalization.

 Efforts of the Falls Church Arts, Inc., and the non-profit Creative Cauldron arts education program have led to the proffer by the developer of an arts space on the ground floor of the new Pearson Square mixed use project on S. Maple St., and the City is working to accommodate the wishes of the Levine School of Music to move to a new space in the City.

In March, the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce is devoting its monthly luncheon program to a panel to discuss the relationship between promotion of the arts and economic development.

In addition to the awards presentations Sunday night, 10 bands and groups will perform live. They include the Billy Coulter Band, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, David Kitchen Band, Eleanor Ellis, Frederic Yonnet, Honky Tonk Confidential with Bob Schieffer, Mambo Sauce, The Speaks and the WAMA Ukulele Orchestra. The pit band will be the Tommy Lepson Band.

In addition to the Board of Directors of the Washington Area Music Association, the event is co-sponsored by Strathmore and BMI. Balloting to determine the winners in the 97 categories was limited to current WAMA members.