Stephen Wade, author of The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience, has been awarded the 2016 Judith McCulloh Public Sector Award from the Society for Ethnomusicology. The citation from the award committee said in part, “Great leaders instill in others a shared sense of responsibility for making the world a better place. They lead by example to promote openness and sensitive cultural awareness among the diverse communities that they and their colleagues work with each day. . . . Over thirty years Stephen has woven an extended career of thoughtful scholarship and the performing arts which continually analyzes and documents the diverse musical, social, cultural, and historical narratives that surround us each day and frequently go unrecognized by everyday America.”
To have Stephen’s work connecting music with its publics recognized with an award named for Judith McCulloh is especially meaningful, since Judy gave so much of her own life’s work to UIP and especially to the series Music in American Life. Stephen shared these thoughts on the award, and his appreciation for Judy:
Back in November 2005 the Society for Ethnomusicology saluted Judy McCulloh, conferring an honorary membership for her contributions to ethnomusicology, to SEM, and to ‘the broader world of American folklife as an editor, a scholar, and arts advocate.’ Indeed, Judy filled all these roles, and did so in lasting ways, from the books she brought into being to the organizations she championed (and often saved), and the scholarship that she pursued. Judy fulfilled the promise of ethno-musicology: she valued the world as others might see it and hear it. Then she found voices, both from within communities and beyond, to artfully share that knowledge with others.
“While Judy might have turned to university teaching as her life’s work, she quietly moved through these other channels instead, each uniquely reaching outward to the broader public. By this means she, in fact, became a teacher. She certainly was mine, and to Judy, my dearest friend and preceptor, I am so stirred to have this connection to her as expressed by this award. SEM did right to honor her during her lifetime, and I’m honored to share in this bond now, imperishably given in her name.