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KCTM instructor Ruth McLain Smith nominated for IBMA Mentor of the Year 

embedded-news-ruth-mclain.webpKentucky Center for Traditional Music instructor Ruth McLain Smith has already influenced bluegrass through her musicianship and artistry. Now, she is getting recognition for her work of passing on her knowledge to generations of students.  

The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) nominated Smith for 2023 Mentor of the Year at the Industry and Momentum Awards. The annual awards presentation is at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, from Sept. 26-30.  

The Industry and Momentum Awards recognize bluegrass musicians and industry professionals for contributing to bluegrass music. The Mentor of the Year award honors a bluegrass professional who has impacted the lives and careers of newcomers to the bluegrass industry. Nominee selection occurs by committees of respected bluegrass musicians and industry leaders.  

Smith performed around the world and on national television with The McLain Family Band, which included former KCTM director Raymond McLain. While serving as a KCTM instructor, she has also spent decades teaching private lessons and 28 years contributing lessons to PaperPie, an educational book company.  

“This prestigious nomination speaks to the quality and effectiveness of the traditional music program and the positive impact our uniquely qualified faculty have on the lives and careers of our students,” said KCTM director Daxson Lewis.  

The IBMA Industry Awards and Momentum Awards will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27.  

Ruth McLain Smith can be reached at  

To learn more about KCTM and its programs, contact or 606-783-9001. 

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