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MAMAs rock State Theatre to honor Modesto area's best entertainment

Johnny Valdez, shown here performing in the lobby at the Gallo Center for the Arts in 2007, took home a MAMA at the Modesto Area Music Awards on Oct. 16, 2008. (Adrian Mendoza / The Modesto Bee)
Johnny Valdez, shown here performing in the lobby at the Gallo Center for the Arts in 2007, took home a MAMA at the Modesto Area Music Awards on Oct. 16, 2008. (Adrian Mendoza / The Modesto Bee)

MAMA handed out the love to the area music community Thursday night.

The ninth annual Modesto Area Music Association Awards show saw 15 trophies and a Lifetime Achievement Award doled out in front of a packed house at the State Theatre.

The winners were decided by the public through online voting. Some 5,700 votes were cast this year for 120 nominees in 15 categories.

Event co-founder Chris Murphy said the continued popularity of the event is a testament to its inclusiveness.

"MAMA has really become a community thing," he said. "This is the only thing that really has every media, every radio station, every artist involved somehow. I think that's wonderful. It's really something for everybody."

Before a crowd of fellow nominees, music promoters and city dignitaries, nominated bands performed in between award presentations. The event also debuted music videos from area musicians.

Hipster rockers in sunglasses and overall-wearing Americana artists mingled with women in evening dresses and businessmen in ties.

"This is an award party, that's what this is," said Alan Sanchez, the evening's master of ceremonies and a correspondent with the TV show "Good Day Sacramento."

The night's biggest honor went to Lifetime Achievement Award winner Marie Gallo, board president of the Gallo Center for the Arts.

"This is what this is all about, making music and that makes me happy," she said. "I'm so happy to see all of you make this great music up here."

Bee entertainment writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at 578-2284 or mrowland@modbee.com.

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