International Bluegrass Music Association’s
2012 Distinguished Achievement Awards
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Recipients of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 2012 Distinguished Achievement Awards have been announced, and this year’s group includes a “Pee Wee,” a fiddler, a “Queen,” a pair of Cornetts, and a man with a golden voice.
Orin Friesen: The warm, resonant voice of Orin Friesen has been heard on bluegrass radio for almost 50 years, when he first began playing traditional acoustic music on the air. In 1973, he launched the very first syndicated bluegrass radio show. It has now been running continuously for 38 years, and has aired on 35 stations around the country. Mr. Friesen also helped develop the IBMA Awards Show, which he co-produced for a decade.
“Many IBMA members may not realize [that] Orin’s career was ‘at risk,’ being so deeply involved doing what he did for so many years,” said entertainer John McEuen in his recommendation letter. “He was in the very commercial side of country music at a major station. Yet he went out to help build a bluegrass entity, to build its exposure and credibility.”
Over the course of his long career, Mr. Friesen has written newsletters, columns, and articles on various aspects of bluegrass, and produced and emceed numerous shows and festivals; he has emceed the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS for more than 30 years. He is a lifetime member of the Kansas Bluegrass Association. He is also a working musician and founder of the Prairie Rose Rangers. In 1994, Mr. Friesen established The Brian Friesen Award, in memory of his son who died at age seven, with Deering Banjos. Each year the award – a Golden Era Deering Banjo – is presented to a promising young banjo player.