Dr. Elizabeth Graham was recently awarded the National Music Education Award by the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM), a historic organization that supports and promotes all styles of music, but especially music that has been composed or performed by those of African descent.
Graham was recognized on July 20 at the NANM National Convention at the Hilton West Palm Beach.
“Last year, it was Martina Arroyo, a famous opera singer and teacher,” she said. “I thought, ‘wow, to be selected, and in the company of that kind of persona, was an honor for me.’”
At the convention, she taught a master class for collegiate singers about vowel placement and vocal techniques.
Graham also judged the National Association of Negro Musicians Scholarship Competition, which awarded the 1st prize winner with a $3,000 scholarship.
Graham is a Professor Emeritus of music at the University of Florida and heads the School of Music voice area.
A selection committee, comprised of colleagues and forerunners in music, nominated Graham for the music education award based on her musical accomplishments in her career in performance and teaching.
The people involved in this organization are performers, choir directors, composers, jazz musicians classical singers and hip hop musicians, who give back to the community through teaching, performance and service, she said.
Some of the members from the Washington, D.C. area were in the chorus of “Porgy and Bess” when Graham was featured in the role of Bess at the Spoleto Festival of Three Worlds in Melbourne, Australia. They told Graham that they remembered her from the performance and were happy to congratulate her.
“This was one of the greatest nights in my career because it was an award given by my colleagues and fellow musicians,” she said. “It was humbling and emotional.”