The Eric Larson Music Endowment

Eric Larson at Telluride

Music awards show honors memory of founder

By Ollie Reed Jr.
Tribune Reporter
June 24, 2005

Music producer and sound engineer Eric Larson was one of the founders of the New Mexico Music Industry Association and its Grammy-style annual MIC Awards show.

But Larson, who died in April at age 50, was more than that. He was the juice that moved the association and the awards show forward and the binding that held them together.

"Eric was sort of the glue for everything," says Thomas Mitchell, who, with Larson and Jose Ponce, founded the NMMIA in 1987. "He wrote all the scripts for the awards show and did the day-of-show sound checks.

"This year he took over the judging responsibilities from Jose and then it had to go back to Jose. Eric was the overall presence, the spark."

But the MIC Awards show goes on, even though it's going on a month later than usual this year.

"Eric's passing put us behind a month," Mitchell says. "Usually it is held the week before Memorial Day and not in June."

Sunday night's MIC show will present awards in 30 music categories from Best Musical Production Adult Contemporary to Best Musical Production World Beat.

"We had more than 450 entries this year," Mitchell says. "The last three years have been the best for entries. When we started out we used to have up and down years, but we have been averaging more than 400 entries the past three years."

What varies from year to year, Mitchell says, is the number of entries in specific categories.

"Sometimes it's a big metal year and sometimes it's a big jazz year," he says. "This year, we had no entries in blues. Categories that remain constant are Best Song, which is for original songs, and Best Remake."

Tom Rutherford, former New Mexico state senator and former Bernalillo County commissioner, will serve as host of this year's awards show.

Performers are the Michael Anthony Trio, Doreen Martinez, Russell "Doc" Metzger and the Hollis Wake.

Mitchell says this year's show also will include the introduction of the Eric Larson Music Endowment, established by the Larson family and the NMMIA.

The endowment will be used to assist University of New Mexico juniors and seniors who have declared majors in music or a related field, and who maintain a 3.0 grade point average. It will be presented annually at the MIC awards show.

Visit the Eric Larson Music Endowment Online