What are the MAMAs?

MAMA, Inc. is a non-profit organization. MAMA is an acronym for Madison Area Music Association. Each spring we hold an award show that honors the efforts of local musicians. This award show, along with the many other initiatives of MAMA, Inc. throughout the year, raises money to foster the next generation of musicians by helping fund youth music programs and by putting instruments in the hands of kids who might not otherwise have them. We work with many school districts and also community groups in the Madison area. Our objective is to keep the fundamentals of music available for our youth and to promote that cause.

MAMAs Mission Statement

The Madison Area Music Association (MAMA) supports youth music in the greater Madison area, and strengthens and engages the music community as a whole.

MAMAs Vision Statement

The Madison Area Music Association recognizes the importance of music in the growth and development of youth, and its enduring community impact. To that end, we strive to:

  • •  Provide financial support and resources to youth music programs;
  • •  Raise public awareness of the need to preserve and support the existence of music education;
  • •  Recognize the achievements of outstanding music students and music educators, and greater Madison area musicians; and
  • •  Provide promotional support for the greater Madison music community as a whole.

A Brief History of the MAMAs

The Madison Area Music Awards were founded in 2003 by Rick Tvedt with encouragement from his friends Stephen Ellestad and Mark Adkins. As the publisher of the former Rick’s Café, a Madison-based newspaper dedicated to local musicians, Tvedt felt a pull to acknowledge the large and talented pool of musicians he encountered on the scene. The first awards show was held on March 28, 2004 at the historic Orpheum Theater, in a highly heralded Grammy-style gala.

Broadjam’s Roy Elkins got involved the second year to help oversee the voting of the awards show and move to an online voting model. Tvedt and Elkins collaborated with many volunteers over the following years to expand the MAMAs into an active nonprofit organization with the mission of supporting the local scene and putting instruments in kids’ hands. In 2009, the name of the organization changed from the Madison Area Music Awards to the Madison Area Music Association to reflect this broader mission. The awards show spent two years in the Wisconsin Union Theater, followed by three years at the Barrymore Theater. The annual event moved to the Capitol Theater at the Overture Center in 2010 and remained there through 2019. Beth Kille took over the role of Awards Show Executive Producer in 2013.

In 2014, after years of unrelenting dedication to the MAMAs, Tvedt handed off the MAMA Executive Director reigns to Curt Davies, a local business executive and music fan. Ty Christian took over that role in 2020. Tvedt is still involved in the organization as Treasurer and advisor for the awards show. Roy Elkins continues to serve as Board Chair and President.

To date, the MAMAs have donated over $110,000 of funds and gear to area schools, community centers, private instruction facilities, and other facilities as the need arose. The organization continues to work to raise funds and secure equipment for area music programs as well as recognizing the accomplishments of the Madison music community.

When noted Madison drummer and former member of James Brown’s band Clyde Stubblefield passed away in 2017, an effort was made to establish a scholarship fund in memory of him. The MAMA Scholarship Fund has awarded four students with funds and continues to hone its process. Joey Banks currently leads the scholarship program.

In 2016, after a near-tragedy in his family, local musician Robert J. Conaway approached the organization about establishing a fund that could respond to musicians’ needs. Tvedt had worked with Chris Wagoner, Mary Gaines and others to hold a very successful fundraiser for Conaway’s family. Conaway agreed to head up the new MAMA Cares program, a fund that helps musicians and their families in times of crisis, particularly with health needs. As of 2022 this fund has given over $100,000 to area musicians and their families. During the COVID-19 pandemic, MAMA Cares raised and distributed over $60,000 to local musicians who were financially impacted.

COVID-19 also had a major impact on the awards show. For three years the event was broadcast live over the internet. Where the awards show goes in 2023 and how it will be produced is still under consideration.

Currently, the organization is seeking Board members to form a high-powered group to bring financial stability the MAMAs and the ensure that this valuable organization can carry on for many years to come. A new membership structure is planned to offer MAMA members considerably more benefits and to bring the music community even closer together.