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The Legacy of Gene

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Firsts are, to put it mildly, tricky things. It’s like the old saw about being the fastest gun in the West: There’s always somebody faster. And take it from me, when you’re a historian and/or writer who spends a lot of time doing research on the true origins of such speculative stuff as musical styles and literary movements, you can...

A Trip to Paradise

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The trouble with studying something that’s still alive is that it can keep eluding you. This applies to my own particular quest to pin down that musical amalgam known as the Tulsa Sound. I’ve been at it now for nearly 40 years, beginning early in my entertainment writer days at the Tulsa World, and as I’ve tried to analyze and...

A Tribute to Blackwell

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Tulsa drummer and songwriter Chuck Blackwell began etching his name into pop culture history some 60 years ago, as one of the original guys who headed west from T-Town to enrich the southern California music scene with his locally honed talents. Over the next couple of decades, Blackwell would show up in a variety of key places, from the...

A Hunger to Heal

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The 2014 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, Peter Markes, is shifting directions and using music to expand frontiers on a broader scale. With Markes at the helm for 15 years, the Edmond North High School Orchestra performed twice in the National Youth Concert in Carnegie Hall. The orchestra earned 15 consecutive top State Sweepstakes Awards, received annual invitations to perform...

Behind-The-Scenes Magic

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What does the engaging new autobiography of top rock music record producer Ted Templeman, famed for his work with the likes of Van Halen, the Doobie Brothers, and Little Feat, have to do with Oklahoma?  As it turns out, quite a lot.  First of all, Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music (ECW Press) is an as-told-to tome written by...

A Notable Legacy

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FiveMoments that Changed Musical History There’s a fundamental question about whether Oklahoma is musically different from any other state. Maybe people in Springfield, Missouri, or Little Rock, Arkansas, or, say, Bangor, Maine, also feel that their homegrown artists deserve more respect than they’ve received. Regardless, one assertion has been made hundreds or thousands of times, especially by people familiar with Tulsa’s...

Who’s the Bossa?

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I first met Ana Berry a little more than two decades ago, when my filmmaking partner Leo Evans and I cast our feature Café Purgatory. She came to our attention by her father, Milton Berry, who had a leading role in the picture – and she turned out to be absolutely perfect as the young teenager who takes up with...

From Broadway to Ballet

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September is kickoff time – not only for football but for myriad performing arts companies around Oklahoma. In Tulsa, Signature Symphony’s shows include The Wonderful Music of Oz on Sept. 6 and Classics - Tchaikovsky 5 on Sept. 28 at the TCC Van Trease PACE. The world-renowned Tulsa Ballet presents Creations in Studio K from Sept. 12 to 22, with...

A City of Sensations

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“Chicagoans love their city” is a pervasive impression one gets when visiting America’s third-largest burg. Throngs of people enjoy, celebrate and participate in their energetic metropolis. Walkable highlights include downtown amid the skyscrapers, the streets beside and over the Chicago River, and nearby Lake Michigan, which creates a massive backdrop for the city. Chicagoans create a “happy hour” that lasts...

‘Nice People for Friends’

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For some years, at precisely 8:30 a.m., Claremore’s Ray Bingham has gotten a phone call from veteran country-music star Leroy Van Dyke, known for classic hits like “The Auctioneer” and “Walk on By.” With few exceptions, this happens every morning of Bingham’s life. “I’ll get that call from Leroy no matter where he is,” Bingham says. “Now, if he’s out...