City musicians rewarded at MAMA

Modesto's musical movers and shakers came to MAMA Wednesday night.

The 10th annual Modesto Area Music Association Awards show gave 17 trophies and a lifetime achievement award to musicians, promoters, comedians, venues and festivals at the packed State Theatre.

Nearly 6,000 people cast online votes to choose the winners from a record 173 nominees.

Some performers lobbied their fans for votes on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. But others took a more passive approach.

"I didn't think I would win," said Rachel Renae, who won Best Acoustic/Unplugged. "I just had a baby three months ago and got married."

The most votes were cast for the large event category, won by X-Fest, said MAMA co-founder Chris Murphy. He said the closest categories were comedian, won by Marcella Arguello, and alternative/indie band, won by Medusas.

Audience members in glittery ball gowns and tuxedos rubbed shoulders with those in biker leather gear and sweat shirts. A man in a penguin suit wore a sign plugging a coming concert by Beatles tribute band Elementary Penguin at the Fat Music House & Lounge.

Jason Lytle, lead singer of famed Modesto band Grandaddy, appeared in a video tribute praising Lucky Lew, the lifetime achievement winner, for helping produce the band's albums.

Several musicians performed, some groups debuted music videos and government dignitaries made speeches.

"You make the city churn and burn, and in so doing, you make it come alive," Keith Boggs, Stanislaus County deputy chief executive officer, told the musicians.

Murphy and MAMA co-founder Chris Ricci reminisced about the first awards ceremony back in 2000 and praised the talent of Modesto's musicians. They urged city officials to make sure the city's entertainment scene remains vibrant.

"Our city government has to allow more music and more nightclubs," Murphy said.

Bee arts writer Lisa Millegan can be reached at or 578-2313.

For more on this event and other arts activities, go to

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