Meet YOUR New Mexico Music Commission

Michelle Laflamme-Childs - October 15, 2015

Don't you wanna know what they do...

Did you know that in the 1940s Clovis, NM was home to the famous Norman Petty Studios, where national artists such as Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, and Waylon Jennings recorded?

Did you know that New Mexico is home to musical traditions of the Ansazi, Navajo, and Apache people, some of which date back to the 12th century BCE?

Did you know that The Santa Fe Opera is internationally known for introducing brand new operas? Since its inception, The Santa Fe Opera has staged forty-four American premiers, eleven international premieres, and has commissioned ten new operas.

Lastly, did you know that New Mexico has an official, state-sanctioned Music Commission? Founded in 2005, and codified into state law in 2009--by unanimous vote in both the House and Senate--the New Mexico Music Commission (NMMC) was founded to protect, promote, and preserve the musical traditions of New Mexico, and to foster appreciation of the value of music, and encourage the educational, creative and professional musical activities of the residents of New Mexico. The NMMC is made up of a wide cross-section of New Mexico citizens who represent all facets of our musical community:  education, performance, presenting, recording, and support services. Appropriately for New Mexico, the Commission embraces and reflects all of the musical genres that grace our state’s multicultural tableau.

Flying J Wranglers at the Historic Sites concert. Photo Credit: William Riggles

Below are the eleven currently serving commissioners (there are four open positions at the moment).


  • Schwartz, David ~ chair
  • Huff, Rick ~ secretary
  • Estacio, Renato ~ vice chair


  • Adelo, George
  • Brown, Joe
  • Gutierrez, Joy
  • Hubbard, Barbara
  • Ponce, José
  • Sanchez, Melissa
  • Stephenson, Claude
  • Stoddard, Daniel

The NMMC sits administratively with New Mexico’s State Arts Agency, New Mexico Arts, and is in the capable hands of Thomas Goodrich, an experienced musician and educator, who serves as the official NMMC administrator. You can check out my recent interview with him on KBAC here. It’s good that the NMMC’s deck is stacked with such talent and experience, because they are charged with some heavy-duty stuff.

Jerry Lopez (far right) being awarded the New Mexico Music Commission's Platinum Achievement Award Also pictured: Fred Sandoval of the National Latino Behavioral Health Association (far left), and music commissioners (center left to right) George Adelo, David Schwartz, and Joy Gutierrez.

The NMMC describes their function as, “to work throughout the state and with other state agencies, like the Tourism and Film Departments, to promote the many New Mexico musical traditions spanning from the ancient melodies of New Mexico’s Native nations, tribes, and pueblos, to opera and symphony, to chart topping current hits of new Mexico residents.” In addition, as a body formed by state statute, there are specific duties and by-laws as laid out in the founding documents:

  • Advise New Mexico Arts, the Department of Cultural Affairs, other state agencies, and the Governor concerning the protection, promotion and preservation of music and the music industry in New Mexico;
  • Advise New Mexico Arts on music-related policies;
  • Advise and assist public agencies in elevating the role of music in New Mexico;
  • Foster appreciation of the value of music;
  • Make New Mexico a music destination for both visitors and music professionals;
  • Encourage the educational, creative and professional musical activities of the residents of New Mexico and attract outstanding musicians to New Mexico through appropriate programs of publicity, education and coordination and through direct activities, such as sponsorship of music;
  • Protect, promote and preserve the musical traditions of New Mexico; and
  • Accept on behalf of the state donations of money, property and other things of value as, in New Mexico Arts discretion, are suitable and will best further the aims of the Music Commission Act.

This is a big job, and the NMMC would like your input as to how they can best serve the people of New Mexico. They have a survey available online until November 10th, and hope that you will take the time to give them your thoughts and feedback, so they can begin their next phase of strategic planning with your input. Their charge is to serve our New Mexico music community, and thusly all of us in New Mexico. That is best done with as broad and diverse opinions as they can muster. You can take the survey here. Thank you, and please go out and support New Mexico Music!

Marlon Magdalena performing on a traditional Eagle bone flute