MUSKOGEE — Wearing a short, silvery dress and a wide smile befitting Cinderella, Kristin Chenoweth stooped to sign an oversized guitar with the message “I'm just an OKLAHOMA GIRL!”
So far this year, the Emmy- and Tony-winning actress/vocalist has sung for Oprah Winfrey, President Barack Obama and the Queen Elizabeth II of England. She added another highlight Thursday night when she was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
“All those other things are amazing. I'd be a liar if I didn't say singing for the queen and Oprah and presidents and all that is amazing. But when you come back home and you sing for your family and you sing for people who said, ‘You done good,' that's where the loyalty and the love is,” Chenoweth said.
“This is who I am. This is who I am, and I can't forget it.”
The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame ushered in its 15th class during Thursday's Annual Induction Ceremony and Concert. Along with Chenoweth, the class of 2011 includes basketball great and popular jazz bassist, the late Wayman Tisdale; Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Nokie Edwards and the late Bob Bogle, both members of surf-rock pioneers The Ventures; and Gene Triplett, longtime entertainment editor of The Oklahoman.
The class of 2011 also features the late guitarist/keyboard player Jesse Ed Davis, who performed with Leon Russell, George Harrison and John Lennon; the late composer, lyricist and performer Ralph Blane, who was twice nominated for the best original song Oscar; and Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame Rising Star Award recipient Cheevers Toppah, a Kiowa/Navajo singer and Grammy nominee.
“This is a great place if you're gonna write about music and entertainment. This is the place to be. (As you can see) from the fantastic panel up here, Oklahoma is just a really rich breeding ground for great talent ... something in the water. Or the dirt, I don't know,” said Triplett, who has been at The Oklahoman for 30 years and spent the last decade as entertainment editor, at the news conference before the ceremony.
“It's the dirt,” Chenoweth said with a laugh.
Judging from the class of 2011, the Oklahoma dirt provides a fertile breeding ground for musical diversity.
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Look for Brandy McDonnell's review, along with photos and video, of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame 2011 Induction Ceremony and Concert on NewsOK.