Robert H. Chambers Award
Excellence in the Traditional Arts

Common Ground on the Hill has presented the Robert H. Chambers Award for Excellence in the Traditional Arts every year since 2000.  The award is named in honor of Robert H. Chambers III, who, as President of Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) and as a Founding Director of Common Ground on the Hill, understood the innate power and potential of the traditional arts to help foster understanding among people of different cultures.  His unwavering support was essential in the early development of Common Ground on the Hill and is remembered gratefully in the naming of this annual award.  The award is presented at the Roots Music & Arts Festival held in early July. 


Doc Watson - 2000 

Pete & Toshi Seeger - 2001 

Odetta - 2002 

Etta Baker - 2002

Roger McGuinn - 2003 

Ramblin' Jack Elliott - 2004

Joe Hickerson - 2005

Richie Havens - 2006 

Jean Ritchie - 2007 

Guy and Candi Carawan - 2008 

Tom Paxton - 2008

Ralph Stanley - 2009

Hazel Dickens & Mike Seeger - 2010

Stanley Dural, Jr. "Buckwheat Zydeco" & Jesse McReynolds - 2011

John Hammond - 2012

Mike Baytop & the Archie Edwards & the Blues Heritage Foundation - 2013

Hot Tuna - 2014

Professor Louie - 2015

José Feliciano - 2016

Guy Davis - 2017

Guy Davis is a musician, storyteller, author, and actor considered to be “America’s greatest link to the blues right now.” He has been turning out chart-topping, award-winning blues since his debut in 1995. His album Kokomo Kid was named 2016 Acoustic Record of the Year by Blues Blast Magazine and received nominations for the Blues Music Association Acoustic Album of the Year and Acoustic Artist of the Year. These awards follow his 2014 Blues Music Association nominations for Acoustic Album of the Year (Juba Dance) and Acoustic Artist of the Year.  The son of famed actor/civil rights activists Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Guy celebrates and expands the music and stories he learned at the knees of his parents and grandparents. The Robert H. Chambers Award continues Guy’s history of honors, including awards from National Public Radio and the Blues Foundation, specifically the W.C. Handy Keeping the Blues Alive Award, nine Handy Award nominations, as well as acclaim on and off-Broadway.  Guy has been a revered instructor, supporter and friend to all at Common Ground on the Hill throughout its 23-year history.  One is just as likely to encounter Guy sharing a song with a campus worker as to hear him in full concert.  He embodies all that is good and true about traditional music.

Festival Information HERE.


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