Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame inducting Kristin Chenoweth, Wayman Tisdale, Gene Triplett and more tonight
MUSKOGEE – The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame 2011 class of inductees will be inducted tonight and include Emmy and Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth; the late Jesse Ed Davis, who played with Leon Russell, Jackson Browne, George Harrison and John Lennon; the late jazz musician Wayman Tisdale; The Oklahoman entertainment writer Gene Triplett; the late composer, lyricist and performer Ralph Blane; Nokie Edwards and the late Bob Bogle, both of The Ventures; and multiple Grammy nominee and past Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame Rising Star Award winner Cheevers Toppah.
The induction ceremony and concert will be at at the Muskogee Civic Center, 425 Boston Street.
“We are thrilled to have such a prestigious group of inductees this year,” said Andrea Chancellor, Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame Board president, in a news release. “This slate of nominees serves as a tribute to Oklahomans who are contributing and have enhanced our lives with music, leaving their legacy on the world stage.”
The 2011 class of inductees will join a growing list of prominent musicians, composers and performers who have entertained generations, including past inductees Carrie Underwood, Toby Keith, Jean Shepard, Claude “Fiddler” Williams, Ronnie Dunn, David Gates, The All American Rejects, Leona Mitchell and dozens of others. The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame inducted its first members in 1997.
Read more about the 2011 Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame inductees after the break.
2011 Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame inductees
Kristin Chenoweth, adopted at birth in Broken Arrow, is a singer and actress. She attended college at the Oklahoma City University where she earned a BFA in musical theatre and a master’s in opera performance. After moving from Oklahoma City to New York City her career took off in theater, television, film, and recordings. Many remember her show-stealing, Tony-winning performance in “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” and her triumphant star turn when she originated the role of Glinda the Good Witch in “Wicked,” which earned her a leading actress Tony Award nomination. In 2003, her career carried over to television where she won an Emmy for role in the comedy, “Pushing Daises,” and was nominated for an Emmy for her guest starring role in a comedy for “Glee.” This fall, Chenoweth will star in the new ABC show, “Good Christian Belles” as Darlene as she continues to stay involved with Broadway. After being featured in the in numerous Disney movies such as “Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure,” and “You Again,” Chenoweth recently wrapped up a Matt K. Turner film, “Ed Zwick’s Family Weekend.” Chenoweth’s interest in music stays strong as she has released three CDs, with her fourth debuting Sept. 13. In addition to music, movies, and theater, in April of 2009, Chenoweth released her comedic chronicle of her life, “A Little Bit Wicked.” Released by Simon & Schuster, it debuted at No. 12 on the New York Times Hardcover Non Fiction Best Seller List.
Gene Triplett was raised in Oklahoma City and is a highly respected writer for the The Oklahoman. Triplett has written thousands of music articles and reviews as the Entertainment Editor (and he covers movies, too). His unique and engaging writing style has been used to describe the alternative flavor of music. A graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma’s journalism program, Triplett is professional, yet truthful about the critiques he gives to local and national music groups. His writing is one that The Oklahoman is proud of and many people value. The name Gene Triplett doesn’t just mean a journalist, but an established, esteemed, and knowledge writer; any music group would be lucky to have their worked reviewed by him, regardless of the outcome.
Nole “Nokie” Edwards is undoubtedly best known as lead guitarist for The Ventures, but Nokie Edwards’ early history also included being guitarist for country greats Buck Owens, Lefty Frizzell and Ferlyn Husky. Nokie’s recent continuing accomplishments include: 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, GPA 2009 Guitar Legends Award, 2006 Grammy Hall of Fame, 2008 Ambassador to Arkansas, 2010 Native American Music Award – Best Instrumental Recording, “Hitchin’ A Ride” and 2010 The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette “Emporor of Japan Award.” Edwards is an American Indian born in Lahoma.
Cheevers Toppah is native Oklahoman from Weatherford. As a Kiowa/Navajo, Toppah embraced his culture as one of the best powwow singers. From a young age, Toppah was involved in and enjoyed his American Indian roots around the powwow drum. As he grew up he became involved in his high school choir, which led to his strong pursuit powwow singing. His first album, “Intonation” was nominated for multiple awards and was a finalist at the 2005 Grammy Awards in the Best Native American Album category. His recording with Kevin Yazzie, “First Light,” was a finalist for the 2008 Indian Summer Music Awards and 2008 Native American Music Awards.
Jesse Ed Davis, a full-blooded Kiowa Comanche, was born in 1941 in Norman. At the age of 16 he fell in love with guitar and two years later dropped out of the University of Oklahoma, joining Conway Twitty on his tour. His two recordings with Twitty lead him become a prominent pianist, organist, and guitarist for the Taj Mahal band. In 1970, Davis recorded his first solo album with Native American art inspiration, not mention a wide array of talented musicians playing on his tracks. These connections led him to even more opportunities in the music world with musicians such as Leon Russell, Jackson Browne, George Harrison and John Lennon to name a few. On June 22, 1988, Davis died due to a drug overdose on heroin.
Wayman Tisdale was raised as a pastor’s kid in Tulsa. Tisdale had a love for music at an early age, but his love for basketball came later in life. Tisdale graduated from Booker T. Washington and went to play basketball at the University of Oklahoma. Many know Tisdale for his successful basketball career, but few know just how talented he was as a jazz musician. In 1995, Tisdale released his first jazz album. Eight albums and a No. 1 hit followed in the next years, but what set Tisdale apart was not his extreme talent in basketball or jazz, but his zest for life. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2007, Tisdale’s joy and optimism were so apparent that Governor Brad Henry appointed him to the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Commission. Tisdale died in Tulsa two years later and now has numerous memorials around the city and state honoring his talent and personality.
Ralph Blane was a composer, lyricist, and performer from Broken Arrow. After graduating Tulsa Central High School, Blane was hired as a radio singer for NBC. By the mid-1930s, Blane was introduced to the Broadway world, where he was featured in various shows and wrote lyrics for “Best Foot Forward” and “Lyrics for Jamie.” His knowledge came in great use as he collaborated with Harry Warren, Harold Arlen, and Kay Thompson. One collaboration in particular with Rodger Edens earned them an Oscar nomination for the well-known song, “Clang, clang, clang went the trolley,” Blane is also well known for his holiday hit “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Blane died in 1995 in his hometown of Broken Arrow.
Robert Lenard “Bob” Bogle was a founding member of the legendary instrumental combo group The Ventures. He began as the lead guitarist and later became the bassist of the group. In 2008, Bogle and other members of The Ventures were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the Performer category. Born near Wagoner, Bogle worked as a bricklayer in California from the age of 15. A self-taught guitar player, Bogle met Don Wilson in Seattle in 1958, where they worked together on construction sites. They went on to form a band, The Versatones, which evolved into The Ventures.