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Downtown Oklahoma City's Opening Night 2014 to ring in the New Year with plenty of new

by Brandy McDonnell Modified: December 27, 2013 at 7:55 am •  Published: December 27, 2013

Guitarist Edgar Cruz performs at Opening Night 2013. The longtime local favorite will return for Opening Night 2014. Photo provided by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City.
Guitarist Edgar Cruz performs at Opening Night 2013. The longtime local favorite will return for Opening Night 2014. Photo provided by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City.

A version of this story appears in Friday’s Weekend Life section of The Oklahoman.

Opening Night 2014 rings in the New Year with plenty of new
In its 28th year, downtown Oklahoma City’s alcohol-free, family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration will feature eight new musical acts, a new launching pad for its fireworks finale and a new way for festivalgoers to race into their New Year’s resolutions.

Opening Night 2014 will ring in the New Year with plenty of new.

Downtown Oklahoma City’s long-running, alcohol-free, family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration will feature several new musical acts, a new launching pad for its fireworks finale and a new way for festivalgoers to race into their New Year’s resolutions.

Organized by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, the festivities begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday and feature a wide array of homegrown entertainment, including nearly 40 musical acts on 16 stages in 10 venues across downtown.

“Our mission is to bring the arts and the community together, so what better way to do that than through New Year’s Eve,” said Miranda Wilson, communications director for the Arts Council of Oklahoma City.

The giant lighted ball rises at Opening Night 2013 in downtown Oklahoma City. Photo provided by Arts Council of Oklahoma City.
The giant lighted ball rises at Opening Night 2013 in downtown Oklahoma City. Photo provided by Arts Council of Oklahoma City.

Finale 5K

Before the performing arts extravaganza starts Tuesday night, the inaugural Finale 5K will dash through downtown on New Year’s Eve afternoon. The new Opening Night kick-off event will include a one-mile run starting at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and a 5K run beginning at 3 p.m.

The certified, chip-timed course will begin and end just north of the Myriad Botanical Gardens. The 5K route will feature live music from Honky Tonk Stepchild and Justin Young,performers who can be seen later Tuesday at Opening Night. Participants in the 5K will earn an Opening Night wristband that will let them attend all the festivities, in addition to the prizes – original works of art — handed out to the division winners.

The untimed one-mile run will trek around the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Those runners will receive a party favor.

“So many people set New Year’s resolutions to get into shape or hit the gym or just get healthy in the New Year. And so we thought, ‘What a fun way to kind of kick off your new New Year’s resolutions.’ Just start off on a fresh foot a day early,” Wilson said.

Race participants are encouraged to dress in tutus, crazy socks, feather boas, spangled accessories or other celebratory garb.

“We’re just really encouraging people to dress in their bright, festive New Year’s Eve attire or something glittery and to just have fun with it and run and celebrate New Year’s Eve,” she said.

Oklahoma City hip-hop artist Gregory Jerome is among the new performers to Opening Night 2014. Photo provided.
Oklahoma City hip-hop artist Gregory Jerome is among the new performers to Opening Night 2014. Photo provided.

New performers

The performance roster for Opening Night 2013 includes many longtime favorites, including the Al Good Orchestra, Ambassadors’ Concert Choir, OKC Roller Derby, David Thomas and the World of Magic, OKC Improv and guitarist Edgar Cruz. The children’s area inside the Cox Convention Center will feature fun and familiar activities like a scavenger hunt, face painting and live kindie rock from Spaghetti Eddie.

But the event also includes no less than eight new musical acts, including rapper Gregory Jerome, rock band Paperscissor, rock/reggae group Jeff Mims Band, shoegaze/dream-pop group Kefalonia, swing outfit Storyville Scoundrels, salsa band The Salsa Shakers and bluesmen The Younglings.

Opening Night newcomers Matt Stansberry & The Romance will bring their bright, soulful classic pop sound to the finale stage on the Myriad Gardens Great Lawn. The countdown to midnight starts there at 11:30 p.m., leading up to the traditional raising of the giant lighted ball and a festive fireworks display. This year, the fireworks will be launched from the Arts Council of OKC’s offices and festival plaza adjacent to the gardens to ensure attendees gathered at the finale stage get an unobstructed view.

For Jerome, Opening Night offers a new opportunity for him to bring his unorthodox hip-hop sound to a wide audience.

“I integrate some musical genres, but it’s hip-hop based. … I pull from everywhere; I have no boundaries,” he said, adding his performances often drawn from the likes of The Beatles, Elton John and The Mamas & the Papas. “I am breaking the stereotype about hip-hop because it’s not the typical hip-hop.”

The Oklahoma City musician, who formerly performed under the alias Reality, also tries to bring a different message to his music than most mainstream hip-hop.

“I try to deliver the message to inspire and to motivate, innovate, to provide hope, to also provide a sense of being able to relate to individuals in everyday life,” said Jerome, who has performed for and worked with students at several local schools. “I want to be able to connect with the individuals themselves. I believe we’re all related. Somewhere down the line in life we’ve experienced the same things, the same situations, the emotions.”

He thinks his musical message will be a powerful one for people to take in as they look to the New Year at Opening Night.

“I’m very excited, very enthusiastic about it,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for me to feed my city, to feed ‘em a good music, a good message, and give them something they’ve never had before, a different musical cuisine.”

Matt Stansberry & The Romance is among the new performers to Opening Night 2014. The local classic pop/soul band will be the finale performer at the New Year's Eve event. Photo provided.
Matt Stansberry & The Romance is among the new performers to Opening Night 2014. The local classic pop/soul band will be the finale performer at the New Year's Eve event. Photo provided.

GOING ON

Opening Night 2014

When: 7 p.m. to midnight Tuesday.

Where: 10 venues in downtown.

Admission: Wristbands are $8 in advance, $10 the day of the event. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Wristbands are available at metro 7-Eleven Stores of Oklahoma, metro Homeland stores, MidFirst Bank locations, Science Museum of Oklahoma, online www.artscouncilokc.com or at the event.

Information: 270-4848 or www.artscouncilokc.com.

Opening Night 2014 performers and attractions

(* indicates new performer or attraction)

Aaron Newman & the OK Caravan

Folk/Americana

Venue 2 – Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, Auditorium, 4th Floor

9 p.m., 10 p.m.

Adam & Kizzie

Indie Pop/Jazz

Venue 2 – Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, Auditorium, 4th Floor

7 p.m., 8 p.m.

Al Good Orchestra

Jazz/Big Band/Dance

Venue 4 – Leadership Square

8 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m.

The Ambassadors’ Concert Choir

Choral

Venue 4 – Leadership Square

7 p.m.

Children’s area

Live music, face painting, games and more

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 3

7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

David Thomas and the World of Magic

Magic

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 1

7 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m.

Direct Connect

Variety

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 2

9 p.m., 10 p.m.

Dustbowl Gypsies

Bluegrass

Venue 2 – Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, Lobby

7 p.m., 8 p.m.

Edgar Cruz

Virtuoso Guitar

Venue 10 – Oklahoma Tower

7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m.

*Finale 5K

5K run and one-mile fun run

Myriad Gardens

2:30 p.m. start for one-mile run

3 p.m. start for 5K

*Gregory Jerome

Soul/Hip Hop

Venue 8 – Chase Tower

9 p.m., 10 p.m.

Honky Tonk Stepchild

Strolling performer

Jamie Bramble

Acoustic Pop/Rock

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Lobby

7 p.m., 8 p.m.

*Jeff Mims Band

Soul/Rock/Reggae

Venue 3 – Oklahoma Museum of Art, Lobby

9 p.m., 10 p.m.

Josh Qualls

Instrumental

Venue 6 – Crystal Bridge

9 p.m.

Justin Joslin

Singer/Songwriter

Venue 6 – Crystal Bridge

7 p.m.

Justin Young

Strolling performer

*Kefalonia

Indie Pop

Venue 5 – Bank of Oklahoma

9 p.m., 10 p.m.

*Matt Stansberry & The Romance

50’s/60’s soul/pop

Finale stage – Myriad Gardens

9 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m.

Michael King’s One-Man Circus

Magic

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Lobby

8 p.m., 10 p.m.

OK Chorale

Venue 7 – First National Center

9 p.m.

OKC Improv

Improv Theatre

Venue 3 – Oklahoma Museum of Art, Theatre

7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m.

OKC Roller Derby

Roller Derby

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 2

7 p.m., 8 p.m.

Oklahoma Youth Winds

Instrumental

Venue 7 – First National Center

7 p.m.

*Paperscissor

Pop/Rock/Electronic

Venue 8 – Chase Tower

7 p.m., 8 p.m.

Rachel Brashear

Singer/Songwriter

Venue 6 – Crystal Bridge

8 p.m.

*The Salsa Shakers

Salsa/Latin America

Venue 9 – Devon Energy Center

7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m.

Science Museum Oklahoma

Science

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 3: Children’s Area

7 p.m.

Sky Smeed

Acoustic Pop/Rock

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Lobby

9 p.m., 10 p.m.

Society of Strings

Orchestra

Venue 7 – First National Center

8 p.m.

Spaghetti Eddie

Children’s Music

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 3: Children’s Area

9 p.m., 10 p.m.

Steve Crawford – “Magic of the Mind”

Hypnosis

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Meeting Rooms 9-10

9 p.m., 11 p.m.

*Storyville Scoundrels

Swing

Venue 2 – Ronald J Norick Downtown Library, Lobby

9 p.m., 10 p.m.

Susan Herndon

Singer/songwriter

Venue 6 – Crystal Bridge

10 p.m.

Tulsa Opera

Operatic performance

Venue 7 – First National Center

10 p.m.

Wayne McEvilly

Classical Piano

Venue 3 – Oklahoma Museum of Art, Lobby

7 p.m., 8 p.m.

*The Younglings

Blues

Venue 5 – Bank of Oklahoma

7 p.m., 8 p.m.

-BAM


by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more...
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