Honoring Tucson Musicians

September 23, 2013 |

Tucson Musicians Museum Hosts Its Annual Induction Ceremony & Fundraiser Sept. 29

Gabriel Ayala (left) and George Hawke (right) are two of this year’s inductees.
photo: George Howard

“All of our inductees are uniquely special and it’s our goal to educate the Tucson community on the amazing talent that we have in this town,” explains Tucson Musicians Museum co-founder and president George Howard.

“Our mantra is to cultivate, preserve and perpetuate Tucson’s rich musical heritage. Everybody that plays folk or rock or jazz or classical is contributing to this scene that provides such a diversity of music. Where else can you go that in one night you’ll hear classical music and mariachi music from some of the best people doing it in the world.”

Sunday, Sept. 29 marks the Tucson Musicians Museum’s 2013 inductee ceremony – the Celebration of Music & Culture –  taking place at the Tucson Convention Center’s Leo Rich Theatre, 260 S. Church Ave. Now in its seventh year, the ceremony will honor Tucson’s most talented local musicians from all genres that have impacted their community as well as the music industry with their skill and dedication to their craft.

This year’s diverse range of musical talent covers every genre from rock to mariachi to country. Among those being honored are Rich Hopkins, JD Daniel, George Hawke, Ann Iverson, Bob Meighan, Duan Suarez, Peter McLaughlin, Robert Thames, Gabriel Ayala, John Coinman and posthumous honors will be given to Tombstone Slim and Bobby Smith. Each inductee will be given their award at the ceremony and will get a chance to play two songs for the attendees.

“It’s a big celebration of the artists, so it’s such a great thing to have them perform their music for the audience and the shows have always been just spectacular,” says Howard. “Bud Foster from KOLD 13 is our emcee and we have some comedians who will be performing throughout the show and overall it is just such a wonderful musical environment. Our mariachi kids will be performing at the event as well. Really it is a very special evening for the arts scene of Tucson.”

Howard and co-founder Susan French created the Tucson Musicians Museum in 2006 as a way to honor the tremendous musical talent of Tucson by creating an online presence that would shine light on the artists of this town. Howard and French’s efforts have since made a big impact on the community with their music education programs that provide instruments and lessons for kids who can’t afford an opportunity to explore music. Now TMM offers various programs including classical musical training for children, and a heralded mariachi program run by Ruben Moreno.

“The Tucson Musicians Museum is so diverse and that’s what makes it so special. It’s great that they don’t highlight just one genre and it’s a very multicultural organization,” says 2013 TMM inductee Gabriel Ayala. “The programs they have for kids are really inspiring because not every child has the opportunity to study music even if they have the desire to. Music education is such a huge part of what I do and it’s so important that we pass the torch to the next generation.”

No stranger to awards or accolades, Ayala’s career as a guitarist and songwriter has taken him to heights few musicians experience including world tours, playing for the Pope and even playing for the President of the United States. The guitar virtuoso has even created his own genre of music mixing jazz and flamingo fusion that he calls “JazzMenco.” While Ayala is honored frequently for his work with Native Americans and educating youth, the TMM is a big honor that he is grateful to receive.

“As a musician, it seems like you’re never really respected by your own community. It’s the old story that you have to travel all over the world to be acknowledged for what you do,” says Ayala. “So the fact that my home community loves what I’m doing and accepts me for it is an incredible thing. I’ve won awards all across North America, I’ve traveled all over the world, but it’s so meaningful to me to get this award from my home town.”

Tickets for the event are $20 and the proceeds go to the TMM Youth Mentorship Program. For more information about the event and TMM, visit TucsonMusiciansMuseum.org.


2013 Inductees

Gabriel Ayala (guitar) – Jazz/Flamingo Fusion
John Coinman (guitar) Rock
JD Daniel (keyboard) – Jazz
George Hawke (bass, acoustic guitar) – Country Swing
Rich Hopkins (guitar) – Rock
Ann Iverson – Classical
Peter McLaughlin (guitar)  – Bluegrass
Bob Meighan (guitar) Rock

Daun Suarez (steel guitar) – Country
Robert Thames – Pop

Bobby Smith
Tombstone Slim

Category: Arts, Community, DOWNTOWN / UNIVERSITY / 4TH AVE, Entertainment, MUSIC