Kristin Chenoweth joins Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame

Along with the Tony- and Emmy-winning singer/actor, the hall's 2011 class includes the late Wayman Tisdale, members of surf-rock pioneers The Ventures and The Oklahoman's Gene Triplett.
BY BRANDY MCDONNELL bmcdonnell@opubco.com Modified: November 11, 2011 at 6:43 am •  Published: November 11, 2011
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Kelly Davis, Davis' widow, said that friends laughed and asked “Do they surf in Oklahoma?” when they heard that The Ventures were part of the same hall of fame class as her husband.

“I'm from California, and we met in California ... but he was a proud Oklahoman, and this is a tremendous honor,” Davis said.

Along with Toppah, Davis, who was full-blooded Kiowa Comanche, and Edwards, who is Cherokee, represent Oklahoma's American Indian roots.

Edwards, 76, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 as a member of The Ventures.

“This is my third hall of fame I'm in, but I'm very happy to be inducted into the hall of fame here in my home state,” Edwards said, adding he was sorry that his bandmate and fellow inductee Bogle, who died in 2009, was not there to be honored with him.

Regina Tisdale, Tisdale's widow, accepted the honor for her husband, who died in 2009 at the age of 44 after a long battle with bone cancer.

“Although he was an athlete, if you asked him what his first love was, he'd tell you music. So he'd be all smiles if he was here and he'd be honored to be among these musicians,” she said.

The hall of fame also posthumously inducted Blane, a prolific composer who co-wrote the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and the Oscar-nominated standard “The Trolley Song” for the 1944 movie musical “Meet Me in St. Louis.”

“I'm probably the luckiest one here because my most famous mentor, Ralph Blane, and my most famous former student, Kristin Chenoweth, are both going to be inducted into the hall of fame tonight,” said Billie Sue Thompson, who accepted on his behalf.

As a teacher at Broken Arrow High School, she cast Chenoweth in the title role of “Cinderella” and always knew the tiny blonde with the huge voice would be a superstar.

“Singing has been the greatest love of my life, and it is definitely an extension of my soul and something that God saw fit to give me. I can't balance my checkbook and I'm not a very good driver, but I do enjoy singing,” Chenoweth said.

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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.

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