Feb-04-2015 ~ St. Albert and Sturgeon residents win ACMA awards

St. Albert and Sturgeon residents win ACMA awards

 

Wednesday, Feb 04, 2015 06:00 am

  • St. Albert's Hailey Benedict takes home the Fan Choice Award from the Association of Country Music in Alberta for her song My Sweet Alberta Home. The award ceremony took place in Red Deer at Westerner Park on January 27.
    St. Albert's Hailey Benedict takes home the Fan Choice Award from the Association of Country Music in Alberta for her song My Sweet Alberta Home. The award ceremony took place in Red Deer at Westerner Park on January 27.
    Supplied photo
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When the Association of Country Music in Alberta announced winners of the 2014 awards, two names from St. Albert and area popped up.

Newcomer Hailey Benedict, 12, received the nod for Fan Choice Award while Bill Borgwardt scooped up the Industry Person of the Year Award.

“I’m so honoured to have gotten it and I want to thank all the people who voted for me,” said Benedict, in a telephone interview with the Gazette.

However, at the Jan. 27 awards ceremony held at Westerner Park in Red Deer, Benedict was stunned when her name was called. Competing against more established voices such as Olivia Wik, The Orchard, and Tenille, Benedict believed she was a long shot.

Despite being initially flustered, the Innovations music student kept her poise, accepted the black-pyramid shaped statuette and delivered an articulate off-the-cuff speech.

“It was one of the best days of my life. I was so honoured to be with such talented performers and I was so excited.”

Radio personality and classic country promoter Jimmy Hughes later tweeted “The energy and sincerity of her acceptance was totally priceless …Winner Hailey Benedict stopped the show with the sweetest, most sincere speech ever.”

The Grade 7 Lorne Akins Junior High student initially came to prominence performing as one of the Cratchit children in the Citadel Theatre’s 2012 production of A Christmas Carol.

She continued honing her singing chops at several prestigious events such as Big Valley Jamboree and K-Days Talent Search. When ATB Financial sponsored the 2013 All Alberta Song Contest, it gave Benedict a platform to test her originals.

She entered My Sweet Alberta Home, a song layered with beautiful lyrics and heartfelt sincerity. Although it didn’t win, the song morphed into an anthem for fans and was forwarded to the ACMA Awards.

Although there is no official confirmation, it is believed Benedict may be the youngest recipient of the ACMA Awards.

At the other end of the age spectrum is Bill Borgwardt, a Sturgeon County resident who has made promoting country music his life’s passion, and was a shoe-in for Industry Person of the Year.

A NAIT photography graduate, Borgwardt has been involved and employed in the photographic industry since 1966 working in the motion picture and television industry as well as the print medium.

He is heavily involved with Global Country, the Canadian Country Music Association and is a feature contributor to Canadian Cowboy Country. And each year, he covers more than 100 different music events.

One of his biggest accolades was having two of his photographs of Tommy Hunter used by Canada Post on the First Day Cover and booklet package of the singer’s commemorative postage stamp.

As with Benedict, Borgwardt’s ACMA acknowledgement was a surprise.

“I was in front of the podium taking pictures of all the winners when all of a sudden they called me. I was shocked. I didn’t expect it,” said Borgwardt.

This is Borgwardt’s first win with ACMA, however he is the recipient of two other awards. They are the Canadian Platinum Album Award by Charlie Pride for his photography on the 2006 DVD Charley Pride – Live in Canada, and the 2011 Bev Munro Award for his support of country music across Canada.

So where will the ebony statuette be displayed?

“Oh, probably the study. I haven’t decided yet.”

Brett Kissel took home the hardware for Male Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Started with a Song, and Single of the Year 3-2-1.

For the second consecutive year, Alee was awarded the Female Artist of the Year and the SOCAN Song of the Year went to co-nominees Hey Romeo and Deric Ruttan.

For more information visit www.abcountrymusic.ca

http://www.stalbertgazette.com/article/20150204/SAG0302/302049979

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