The WFMA Kate Wolf Memorial Award

Picture of Kate Wolf

Kate Wolf was never a pop star, never had a hit, and more than nineteen years following her death from leukemia, her music has spead mostly by word of mouth. But as her many fans have known, since they first heard her voice, her heartfelt, seemingly simple songs have the power to change lives.

Kate was a performer at the first WFMA Benefit Concert, January 25, 1986. It was one of her few apearances in the Washington, DC area. Shortly afterwards she discovered she had leukemia and on December 10th of that year, she passed away. The second annual WFMA Benefit Concert was held on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1987, and was dedicated to Kate's memory. It was at that concert that the Kate Wolf Award was established. It is now awarded annually to the performer who best epitomizes the music and spirit of the late California singer-songwriter.

Because Kate and her music made a significant difference in people's lives, and because of her influence on other performers, WFMA is proud to be a vehicle through which her presence will always be with us. The singer or singer-songwriter chosen for this award receives a grant, a plaque, and an invitiation to perform at the annual benefit concert. Selection of the honoree is made by a committee consisting of Kate's fellow performers and friends.

Photo of the Shaw Brothers

On January 28, 2006, at the 21th Annual WFMA Benefit Concert, WFMA presented the 2005 Kate Wolf Memorial Award to

Rick and Ron Shaw, have been performing together for more than 40 years. In that time, the identical twins have brought folk music and the folk spirit to thousands of people worldwide, in live concerts, on television and on radio. They were members of such successful musical acts as The Brandywine Singers, The Hillside Singers (who recorded the smash hit, "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing"- also known as "the Coca-Cola song"), and The Pozo-Seco Singers. Both are singer-songwriters. Rick's composition, "The Day the Tall Ships Came", was used as they theme song for Operation Sail '80 in Boston during the city's 350th Birthday Celebration, and a more recent composition, "New Hampshire Naturally", has been officially designated as a state song. The late Governor of New Hampshire, Hugh J. Gallen, presented the brothers with an official proclamation in which he referred to them as "...New Hampshire's musical ambassadors to the world," and former Governor John H. Sununu honored them with a personal commendation for their many contributions to the arts and for maintaining "...the true spirit of New Hampshire throughout their impressive careers," and for being "...positive examples of the classic character and values which are New Hampshire."

The Shaw Brothers are quiet supporters of many causes in the small towns of New Hampshire and northern New England where they still live and perform regularly, keeping the spirit of folk music burning brightly there. Some of their original songs are used to teach state history in New Hampshire schools, bringing folk music to yet another generation of listeners. They also have lent their names and talents to other worthy groups and causes: Save our Groundwater; agricultural fairs in New Hampshire, Vermont, COnnecticut, Massachutsetts and Maine; Lions and Rotary clubs; and the Cochecho Arts Festival, Harbor Arts Musieum and the Prescott Park Arts Festival, all in Portsmouth, NH.

Past Recipients of the Kate Wolf Award Memorial Award:

  • 2004 -
  • 2003 -
  • 2002 -
  • 2001 -
  • 2000 -
  • 1999 -
  • 1998 -
  • 1997 -
  • 1996 -
  • 1995 -
  • 1994 - Crow Johnson
  • 1993 -
  • 1992 - Wavy Gravy (Hugh Romney)
  • 1991 -
  • 1990 - Rosalie Sorrels
  • 1989 -
  • 1988 - Utah Phillips