The Sammons Center for the Arts recognized seven local performing artists and supporters at its annual awards reception held Thursday, October 25, 2018. Among the honorees who were acknowledged for their outstanding contributions to the nonprofit Sammons Center and its mission to “Grow the Arts” were:
- Roger Boykin, Sammons Center Hall of Fame. Boykin served from 1996 to 1999 as the second artistic director of Sammons Jazz, bolstering the series’ status among jazz artists and fans alike. Named Sammons Jazz Artist of the Year in 1999, Boykin’s versatility as a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, author and publisher matched his dedication to the arts as a longtime educator and mentor to young musicians. The “Sammons Center Hall of Fame” award is the highest honor given by the Sammons Center for the Arts.
- Astrid Merriman, Benefactor of the Year. Since her introduction to the Sammons Center by Linda and Larry Petty, Merriman’s lifelong love of music and generosity led to her title sponsorship of the Sammons Center’s semi-annual Cabaret & Cabernet. Merriman also underwrote the new holiday concert to be held December 18 at the Sammons Center. Her support extends to many other local groups, including the Dallas Zoo and Meals on Wheels.
- Tony Hakim, Sammons Jazz Benefactor of the Year. Whether performing, providing a venue for local jazz artists at his popular spot, The Kitchen Café, or dishing up tasty food at Sammons Jazz concerts, Hakim continues his decades-long impact on the DFW jazz scene. His catering at Sammons Jazz has contributed to the quality and affordable experience that guarantees each concert is sold-out months in advance.
- Kelly Durbin, Sammons Jazz Artist of the Year. Over the past 30 years, Durbin has played piano with the Woody Herman Orchestra, David “Fathead” Newman, James Clay, and the Marchel Ivery Quintet, to name a few. He created and directs the University of Texas at Dallas Jazz Ensemble. Personable and talented, Durbin is a popular UTD faculty member who teaches, manages the annual jazz series and performs in the annual faculty concert.
- Aubree-Anna, Sammons Cabaret Artist of the Year. The Sammons Center launched its cabaret series in February 2012 with a sold-out performance by Aubree-Anna. Along with a repertoire of more than 300 songs from several genres, her charm and voice, sometimes soulful and sometimes smooth, have earned widespread applause at Sammons Cabaret, WinStar World Casino & Resort and the Warwick Melrose Library.
- Jim and Marilou Maxwell, Volunteers of the Year. Soon after Jim and Marilou Maxwell moved to Dallas, Jim discovered Sammons Jazz during an online search. An impromptu tour of the center convinced them to volunteer. Jim, a real estate professional, and Marilou, a flight attendant, regularly demonstrate their friendliness and love of people and jazz to everyone who comes to the center.