IBMA Foundation executive director Nancy Cardwell Webster is one of five individuals named as 2021 recipients of the IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award for significant contributions to bluegrass music. Plaques will be presented to recipients on Thursday, September 30, during a luncheon at the IBMA Business Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Nancy has devoted much of her life to bluegrass as a leader, writer, educator, musician, mentor, and executive director of both IBMA and the IBMA Foundation. Cardwell grew up in a family bluegrass band in the Missouri Ozarks and has written about music since her college days.

Before joining the IBMA staff, Nancy was a foreign language teacher and a Girl Scout field executive. She brought her passion for education and leadership development to IBMA in 1994 and was instrumental in developing such programs as Bluegrass in the Schools, Leadership Bluegrass, the International Committee, the IBMA Youth Council, and the Songwriter Committee. During Nancy’s tenure as IBMA’s executive director, the organization successfully moved its annual conference from Nashville to Raleigh.

Since Cardwell took the IBMA Foundation executive director position in 2016, that organization has also flourished. Four new bluegrass music college scholarship funds have been initiated and the Foundation’s project grants have been enhanced. Nancy continues to freelance as a journalist, write songs, and until her move from Tennessee to North Carolina was the bass player with Jesse McReynolds and his Virginia Boys. Nancy is known for her calm and positive professionalism, tireless work ethic, and dedication to making the world a better place by sharing bluegrass music with the next generation.

RETURN to the August issue of The Cornerstone.