Local music promoter honored

Music promotion is a ‘labor of love,’ McCormick says


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Mike McCormick delivers an acceptance speech after receiving the Governors Award for Arts and Humanities in Business Leadership.

PHOTO BY PATRICK McCORMICK (www.akpmphotos.com)

Having promoted more than 500 concerts involving more than 300 artists, Eagle River’s Mike McCormick is well known from Anchorage to Palmer.

Turns out the rest of the state knows him, too.

After receiving nominations from Fairbanks to Homer, McCormick was recently honored with a Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities.

McCormick, owner of Whistling Swan Productions, received the business leadership award Oct. 19. McCormick said he had no clue he had been nominated.

“It was a total surprise,” he said.

McCormick said he doesn’t know how many nominations he received, but that letters came in from Fairbanks, Valdez, Palmer, Anchorage, Eagle River and Homer.

“I was humbled and thrilled,” he said. “It made me feel wonderful.”

Through his production company, which was created in 1994, McCormick said he has formed relationships with promoters all over Alaska.

“We’ve worked with a lot of people outside of Anchorage to help make sure that they got music to their community,” he said.

McCormick put on his first blues concert as a University of Massachusetts student four decades ago. The lack of shows featuring blues pushed McCormick to host the concert, he said.

In 1983, McCormick moved to Eagle River and began promoting shows four years later. Today, he runs Whistling Swans Productions with his wife, Katy Spangler, and help from his two children and friends.

“We have a nice core group of people,” McCormick said. “We have a lot of fun.”

McCormick mainly promotes acoustic concerts, he said.

McCormick, a former Anchorage Daily News music reviewer, and his wife both have full-time jobs at the University of Alaska Anchorage. McCormick works as assistant director of student activities.

All of their work put in following their day jobs doesn’t go unappreciated, McCormick said. The duo is constantly receiving compliments and support for their efforts, he said.

“It’s very gratifying,” McCormick said.

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a promoter is being able to support music, McCormick said.

“This is kind of a labor of love for the community,” he said. “It’s an advocation. The reason we do this is we enjoy being part of a community of people who love music.”

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com

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