Country Swing Legends Raise the Roof And Scholarships on Dec. 18

Musician-educator Joe Settlemires must have been a good boy this year.  His “perfect Christmas wish” is coming together on Dec. 18 – when he brings to Chickasha The Former Texas Playboys to make the music he loves and raise money to help students get an education.

“What could be more fun at Christmas?” Settlemires asks friends. “All proceeds go to scholarships for deserving students at USAO, and we’ll hear some of the greatest western swing artists collaborate for an evening of fun and entertainment. I can’t wait.”

Seating is limited for the first-ever Black Tie & Boots Ball, scheduled in the USAO Student Center Ballroom. Tickets are $75 and may be purchased online at or by phone with a credit card at 405-574-1213. The fun begins at 6 p.m. with a country brisket buffet dinner.

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For this charity event, seven accomplished musicians have joined as The Former Texas Playboys. Together they will perform for the sole purpose of raising scholarship money for students. The ball is staged by the USAO Foundation.

Because of the unique nature of this event, no tickets will be sold at the door. Tickets may be purchased in advance until Dec. 14 only.

Featured are country music legends Bobby Koefer, Louise Rowe, Chuck Hays and Joe Settlemires, along with Monte Gaylord, Wayne Gasson and Chad Maines.

"What a way to give during the holiday season," said Settlemires, who also leads the USAO ShowBand. "Because of the economy, there are many young adults looking for resources to pay for their education. Here’s the most fun opportunity to support scholarships we could imagine.

“We hope to stage a spectacular and fun musical event,” Settlemires said. “Guests will be invited to take the dance floor and enjoy the music with their feet.”

Settlemires praises those who open doors for students.

"All of us have been given opportunities in life. This is a way to give back. Knowing that you helped someone achieve his or her life goal of a college education is extremely gratifying. And you have a chance to hear a few country legends do what they do best."

Settlemires began playing professionally at 14. He toured for years with Bob Wills, Willie Nelson, Red Foley, Tex Ritter, and many others. His students are associated with some of the biggest names in music. He has taught at Oklahoma Christian University and has been teaching since 2001 at USAO. In 2006, the Oklahoma Legislature recognized him for 50 years of leadership and service in the Oklahoma music industry and education. He has two recent jazz albums out, “Canadian Sunset” and “Sugarfoot Rag,” which features Vince Gill and Harold Bradley.

He is the youngest surviving member of the original Texas Playboys. Settlemires leads the popular USAO Showband. He has been inducted into four musical halls of fame, including three western swing organizations. He arranges all the music and directs the Showband with the assistance of his wife, Donna.

Settlemires’ newest album, Joe Settlemires and Northfield Swing, will be released soon. It features Chickasha vocalist Kristen Killion and singer Hank Adam Locklin. Settlemires plays every year with The Former Texas Playboys at Bob Wills Days in Turkey, Texas.

Bobby Koefer is called one of America’s most unique steel guitarists.  He plays a 1953 stand-up Fender, triple neck steel guitar.  Being self-taught has resulted in a very versatile singular sound and an unorthodox technique.

Bass player Louise Rowe, whose experience with country and western swing spans six decades and intersects with top artists, will be featured. The only female musician Bob Wills ever hired also is the youngest and only female sibling of the famous Seven Rowe Brothers. At 18, she was hired as a singer, but has built her long and illustrious career playing bass and writing songs. Her most recent album was the 2008 release, I Still Cry.

Performer Chuck Hays, who now is a leader in the western swing movement, is a former member of the Texas Playboys. Hays played for years with the Pee Wee Whitewing Gold Coast Playboy Band and later for the legendary Tommy Duncan Band. Eventually he was honored to join the Bob Wills Band in 1969.

Fiddle player Monte Gaylord is no stranger to Chickasha. A star performer with Alan Jackson, Brooks and Dunn and others celebrities, Gaylord performed with the USAO Showband during its 2006 spring concert. Video of the concert is available at in USAO TV under "Showband Spring Concert."

Pianist Wayne Glasson played the Longhorn Ballroom for Dewey Groom in the 1970s and became friends with many of the great western swing musicians. Next he played for 20 years with the Texas Rhythm Band. In 1996, he joined a group of former Texas Playboys called the Texas Playboy Reunion Band. Glass has played for audiences from the Cains Ballroom in Tulsa to the Lincoln Center in New York to the 2008 Presidential Ball in Washington DC.

The youngest member performer at the big Chickasha event is 26-year-old drummer Chad Maines from Lubbock. He also plays guitar, bass, mandolin and sings. He tours with three different groups -- the Texas Country band, Brian Milson and the Short Road Band, and a blues band, 108 E Broadway.

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