2017 SERFA Awards
A committee consisting of Kari Estrin, who created the awards 2014, Clint Bernard, and Art Menius selected three esteemed recipients for the 2017 SERFA Awards: Kathy Mattea, John McCutcheon, and Sundilla, which the board then ratified. The SERFA Awards recognize those people and entities that made extraordinary contributions to folk music and its community in the Southeast Region of Folk Alliance.
The SouthEast Regional Folk Alliance, or SERFA, has announced the recipients of the 2017 SERFA Awards, and one of the three recipients calls Auburn home. The Sundilla Acoustic Concert Series and Radio Hour will be recognized in a ceremony at the 2017 SERFA Conference on May 19, along with Kathy Mattea and John McCutcheon.
Sundilla was started in 1993 by Katie Smith Jackson, Jay Lamar, and Mary Littleton, and immediately set a goal of bringing the best acoustic musicians from around the country to Auburn. The series got a tremendous boost when the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship invited them to use its facilities; as it turned out, the fellowship hall makes for one of the finest acoustic venues anywhere.
“The SERFA Award is the result of a lot of work from volunteers past and present” says current Sundilla President Bailey Jones. “It wouldn’t exist at all if not for Katie, Jay and Mary, and much of what we do now is just a continuation of what they did – and how they did it – in those early years. And the contributions of the AUUF can’t be overlooked; the performers rave about that building, and the fact that we are allowed to call it our venue is something we’re thankful for every day.”
“And Kelly Walker has been indispensable, because he IS the Sundilla Radio Hour, which has become as much a part of what we are as the concert series itself. But,” Jones went on, “there have dozens of volunteers over the years who were indispensable, some of whom still give their time and energy to keep Sundilla going. The award might say Sundilla, but it belongs to of all of the volunteers. And,” he added, “to the people who come to the concerts, even though they might not have heard of the performer. And to those performers as well, for taking a chance on Sundilla.”
The other recipients, Kathy Mattea and John McCutcheon, have been successful recording artists for decades. Mattea has had multiple songs reach #1 on the country charts, and her 18 albums have garnered multiple CMA, ACM and Grammy awards. McCutcheon has 37 albums and six Grammy nominations to his credit.
“When I saw who the other award winners were, I realized that this recognition is a very big deal,” says Jones. “And I believe that Sundilla is the first venue that SERFA has ever given an award to, which just makes it that much bigger.”
The Sundilla Concert Series is a non-profit concert series that relies on volunteers and donations; no one receives a salary, and all of the ticket money goes to that night’s performer. The Sundilla Radio Hour recently celebrated four years of being on the air; it airs locally on WTSU 89.9 FM out of Troy, and can be heard on various stations around the country. For more information, go to www.sundillamusic.com
The SouthEast Regional Folk Alliance is an affiliate of Folk Alliance International, and covers Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Additional information can be found at www.serfa.org.