Tahlequah Daily Press

April 21, 2014

Dream Theatre spotlights songwriters

By RENEE FITE
Special Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Dreams can come true for local aspiring songwriters who seek to gain performance experience.

For one young musician, Thursday night was an unexpected dream of discovery, as well.

Two opportunities are available to musicians at the Dream Theatre each month, the new Songwriters’ Showcase which opened Thursday night and Premier Night for musicians who have a few songs or a set, but not a whole show.

In search of the groove that works for The Dream, Manager Larry Clark is partnering with Blake Turner, Lakes Country operation manager.

The Songwriters’ Showcase, which will continue the third Thursday of the month in conjunction with Tahlequah Main Street Association’s Third Thursday Art Walk downtown, features seasoned performers who can share some of their personal insights into the how, when and why of their songwriting experiences.

Blake Turner, Matt Farinelli and Jarred Rhodes, of the Joe’s Red Barn Band, were first up on stage Thursday night. Other performers included Jimmy Blythe and guitarist Glen Hash. Acoustic guitar is Turner’s instrument of choice.

“My musical influences range from Merle Haggard to Otis Redding,” said Turner, who got into radio to help promote local musicians.

“Being a musician myself I struggled to find a platform to promote my music here in Tahlequah,” he said.

He wants to provide those opportunities for the other artists in the community.

“With Larry’s help we’ll do that,” said Turner.

Clark said the Songwriters Showcase is pre-arranged. Musicians can call Turner if they’d like to be in on it.

The first Thursday of every month, the Dream will host Premier Night, which is open to musicians who have enough music for a set but not an entire show.

All musical styles are welcomed, Clark said.

“We’re looking for people who can do anything, gospel and jazz, straight-up country, and the old stuff,” said Clark. “I’d love to have some bluegrass and even classical. We’re just trying to find local musicians who would like to have an opportunity to be on stage, maybe even some churches who may have kids who haven’t been on a stage before.”

To Clark’s surprise, Kenley Weston, a young performer he said he’d been looking for since he heard her sing and play guitar at Snowflake Follies, was in the audience. A friend facilitated the introduction.

“I looked at the college and I couldn’t find you anywhere,” Clark told Kenley, THS sophomore. “You’re amazing. You were so good I figured you were in college. Will you perform at Premier Night?”

A surprised and blushing Weston agreed to the gig.

Kenley enjoyed the commentary by performers Thursday night

“I pretty much liked the whole thing; I like the stories behind the songs, the reason behind why they were writing,” she said

Kenley’s mom, Diane, who is also a city council member, brought her daughter, who rights her own songs.

‘It’s an aspect of the community people need to take advantage of,” said Diane Weston. “If the community supports it, the North End can become a vibrant arts district.”

According to Clark, music and old movies seem to work best at the venue.

“It’s taken a while to find our groove, but I think that’s going to be our groove, music and old movies,” Clark said. “We’re trying real hard to be supportive of the local musicians.”

Anyone interested in performing in the Songwriter’s Showcase can contact Turner at (918) 530-2205.