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ShowBand Brings Motown, Country Show to USAO Dec. 1


ShowBand Brings Motown, Country Show to USAO Dec. 1

 

CHICKASHA – Opportunity keeps knocking for the ShowBand at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. The 16 student members, who have been showcasing their musical skills throughout the state, are coming home to USAO for a final fall concert Dec. 1.

In true ShowBand fashion, they’re bringing guests. Grammy-award winning country singer Jody Miller, pianist Ukie Hart and country trumpeter Mike Moore will join the ShowBand for the free concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Te Ata Memorial Auditorium.

Western swing and jazz guitarist Joe Settlemires, a music veteran of 50 years, has directed the band since 2001 alongside wife, Donna. Settlemires said the group continues improving.

“This is probably the best ShowBand we’ve had since we’ve been here,” he said. “They just keep getting better.” The youngest surviving member of the Texas Playboys, Settlemires has performed with some of country and pop music’s best known musicians, from Willie Nelson to Della Reese. His past students include famous musicians in bands backing Merle Haggard, the Judds, Neil Diamond and George Strait.

Known for its Motown feel and country, pop and jazz selections, the USAO ShowBand has had a busy fall semester. In August, the band kicked off its fall schedule with a performance for the Newcastle Education Foundation that featured University of Oklahoma President David Boren as the guest speaker.

“The kids came back a week early just to rehearse for that show,” Settlemires said. “I’m proud of the kids for doing that.”

Settlemires said that the fall concert features a variety of popular pieces, including “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Long Train Running,” “Old Time Rock N’ Roll” and “Why Haven’t I Heard From You?”

Donna Settlemires, assistant ShowBand director, said that the concert promises several surprises.

“I’m not going to give out our closing number,” she said. “You’ll have to come out to hear it yourself!”

The band’s busy fall schedule included a multi-performance gig in Bridgecreek, during which the ShowBand played three shows in five hours as a fundraiser for the senior prom. More than 1500 grade school, middle school and high school students attended the performances.

In November, the ShowBand made a new friend … with a Grammy Award winner.

At Blanchard’s centennial celebration in November, the ShowBand crossed paths with Jody Miller, 1966 Grammy Award winning country singer. Miller was so impressed after one rehearsal with the band, she said she’d love to join the band for the Dec. 1 concert at USAO. The Settlemires happily obliged.

“When you get professionals like Jody Miller, who are big in the industry and enjoy playing with the ShowBand, it’s a reflection of the quality of students we have at USAO,” said Donna Settlemires. “I’m very proud of them and what they’ve done.”

In the spirit of celebrity endorsements, the ShowBand has been asked to open for 50’s rockers The Platters at USAO on New Year’s Eve, a concert expecting to draw a large, public crowd.

Additionally, Harold Bradley, a personal friend and producer of Joe Settlemires’ solo guitar albums, is slated to share the stage with the ShowBand in spring, 2007. Bradley was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Nov. 6 alongside George Strait and Sonny James. He is known as “the most recorded session musician in history.”

Joe Settlemires said one of the reasons for the band’s success is original arrangements of familiar songs. “I write all the charts myself,” he said, “so I personally arrange the songs for the members of the band.”

Donna Settlemires agreed but said her husband’s arrangements have another benefit. “He saves us a lot of money because we don’t have to pay for expensive arrangements!” she said.

Following a special concert on Opening Night at the Festival of Light, Nov. 21, the ShowBand will prepare for the free concert at USAO on Dec. 1. The ShowBand also is planning for a special jazz concert in February as part of the USAO Staff Association’s “Hot Chocolate and Cool Jazz” fundraiser.

Members of the ShowBand include:

Tulsa drama senior DeeDee Beard; Duncan biology junior Laura Bogle; Fletcher English freshman Rhoda Burnsed; Newcastle music sophomore Meagan Eldridge; Ryan Essex; Rhenada Finch, spring, 2006 music graduate from Lindsay.

Gage music sophomore Houston Green; Chickasha freshman Amber Harrison; Chickasha English freshman Taylor Henderson; Chickasha music freshman Gordon Lewis; Chickasha music sophomore Cory Moon; Chickasha communication sophomore Bryan Nabors; Duncan biology sophomore Charlie Romero; Marlow art sophomore Josh Stearns; Chickasha music junior Nathan Taylor and Duncan freshman Christopher Shoemaker.

The Dec. 1 USAO ShowBand concert is free and open to the public.