, Muskogee, OK

Local News

September 5, 2013

OMHOF names 2013 inductees

Barbara McAlister one of the honorees

TULSA — Barbara McAlister fondly recalls going “from a shy girl from Muskogee” to opera houses around the world.

“I didn’t know that learning to sing well involved going on stage,” McAlister said. “I would have been happy going into radio broadcasting.”

McAlister used her bold mezzo-soprano voice to sing at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall and with opera companies in Germany and the United States. She also has performed and recorded music in her native Cherokee language.

On Wednesday, the Muskogee native joined another distinguished group as an inductee in the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

McAlister and other 2013 OMHOF inductees will be honored at a concert featuring the Swon Brothers at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Mabee Center. A reception and induction ceremony will be held Oct. 14 at the OMHOF museum, 401 S. Third St. The Oct. 15 concert also will feature a V.I.P. reception.

The OMHOF inductees are:

• The late Bob Dunn, a Braggs native who invented the electric steel guitar in 1935.

• Elk City songwriter Jimmy Webb, who wrote such hits as “Up, Up and Away,” “Wichita Lineman” and “Galveston.”

• Oklahoma City’s Mason Williams, best known for his guitar hit “Classical Gas.”

• Gospel star Sandi Patty of Oklahoma City, considered the most awarded female vocalist in contemporary Christian music.

• Wellston native Norma Jean, who sang with the Porter Wagoner Show and received two Grammy nominations the late 1960s.

• The Mabee Center, located on the Oral Roberts University campus, has hosted such major musical acts as Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Luciano Pavarotti over the past 41 years.

• Neal Schon, born at Tinker Air Force Base, was a founding member and lead guitarist for the rock group Journey. Schon was inducted Aug. 23 during a Journey concert in Tulsa.

The late Roger Davis, a Muskogee artist, will be honored posthumously with the Governor’s Award. Davis, who died in April, painted portraits of OMHOF inductees.

OMHOF Executive Director Jim Blair said five of the inductees have committed to perform at the October induction concert: McAlister, Webb, Williams, Patty and Jean.

The inductees will perform small sets, then the Swon Brothers — Muskogee natives who made the final three on the NBC reality television show “The Voice” — will perform, Blair said.

The Swons received the OMHOF Rising Star award in June, while they were rising up the ranks in the televised singing competition.

McAlister, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, said she is honored to be inducted and to join the ranks of opera star Leona Mitchell, an Enid native inducted into OMHOF in 2001.

“I’m very excited and still a little bit shocked,” McAlister said Wednesday during the announcement. “I’m honored to represent the Cherokee Nation and my parents.”

She said she’s working on music she plans to perform at the concert.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or

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