Oct. 16--The musicians who performed Tuesday night may come from different backgrounds and styles, but they all had at least one thing in common: They're all new members of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
The evening was a showcase of some of Oklahoma's most influential musicians and even the building in which the performance took place.
Seven Oklahomans and the Oral Roberts University Mabee Center in Tulsa were formally inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame earlier this week. On Tuesday, four of them took the stage to display their talent and honor their home.
"How great it is to be home," said inductee Mason Williams before his performance. "To see old friends and make some new ones."
Williams gained fame as a folk and country singer and songwriter, as well as for his work as a comedy writer on "The Smothers Brothers" show and "Saturday Night Live."
Other performers include opera mezzo soprano Barbara McAlister, singer and composer Jimmy Webb, and Norma Jean, who appeared on "The Porter Wagoner Show" in the 1960s.
Other inductees in the 2013 class of the Hall of Fame who could not perform Tuesday include Journey guitarist and founder Neal Schon, who was inducted in August, gospel singer Sandi Patty and Western swing steel guitarist Bob Dunn, who died in 1971 and is being honored posthumously.
The show Tuesday also featured a performance by The Swon Brothers, recipients of this year's Rising Star award and finalists on the last season of the talent-search show "The Voice."
First to take the stage was McAlister, who grew up in Muskogee and is a member of the Cherokee Nation.
McAlister has toured the world, performing in many operas throughout Europe. But she has always remembered and honored her Cherokee roots.
Her first song featured the Cherokee National Youth Choir singing "Tsa-La-Gi We Are Many," written by fellow Cherokee Becky Hobbs.
Other well-known arias displayed her powerful and commanding voice, and she closed her four-song set with "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," earning standing ovations after each piece.
Williams followed with a set of classic country western and folk songs, such as "Oh Shenandoah" and "Sunflower."
"I thought I would pick songs with an Oklahoma connection," said Williams, who grew up in Oklahoma City.
Norma Jean Beasler sang next. Referred to affectionately as Pretty Miss Norma Jean, as she often was on "The Porter Wagoner Show," she said she was thrilled to have made it to this stage.
"Being on this stage is a long ways from the country girl from Wellston," she said.
Beasler got her start on Oklahoma City radio at age 12 and eventually made it to the network TV show, where she scored several Billboard hits and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
"You all sent me off to see the world, and I've never forgotten you for it," she said.
Among the songs she sang were "Let's Go All The Way," her first hit, and "I Wouldn't Buy A Used Car From Him."
The last of the inductees to perform was Webb, who wrote and composed hit songs for several artists, including "Up, Up and Away," "Wichita Lineman" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," and himself earned two Grammy Awards.
"I never wanted to be anything but a songwriter," Webb said.
Each of the performers received warm receptions from the audience, and each said he or she was appreciative of the honor of being among the 75 other Oklahomans in the Hall of Fame.
(c)2013 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.)
Visit Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.) at www.tulsaworld.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.
Most Popular Stories
- Bipartisan Budget Deal Gets Key Support in House
- Bitcoin Clones Lurch Onto Financial Scene
- Clinton to Keynote Annual Simmons Leadership Conference
- Selena Gomez, Shakira Among Top Hispanic Searches
- GM to Stop Making Autos in Australia
- PhD Project Grooms Business Profs
- How Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Work
- It's Primary Time in Texas
- How to Survive a Subzero Stranding
- Pacific Trade Pact Delay Hinders U.S. Pivot to Asia