MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

June 17, 2013

Wagoner claims Swons, too

Connection exists from years of shows in town, dad’s occupation

— WAGONER — Most people have one hometown. Muskogee’s Swon Brothers have two.

Although the brothers’ have always lived in Muskogee, and Muskogee County recently declared a “Swon Brothers Week,” Wagoner declared a “Swon Brothers Day” for the duo several years ago.

There’s enough support for the Swons in Wagoner that the city is having its own watch party for the brothers’ appearance in “The Voice” finale Tuesday night.

“They’re from Wagoner, aren’t they?” City Superintendent Larry Morgan joked. “We think they should be. We’ve promoted them for many, many years as part of their career.”

Besides getting acquainted with the family because of their stage appearances at Wagoner’s Summerfest and Christmas shows over the years, many people in Wagoner feel a connection to the brothers because their father, Kelly Swon, was the well-liked UPS deliveryman in the town for many years.

The brothers first took the stage as part of the gospel group Exodus, which featured their parents, Kelly and Tammy Swon, and Duane Frost.

Zach and Colton were about 3 and 7 — about the same age as Frost’s children, Riley and Sarah. The four children soon had their own act, Frost remembers. They modified the lyrics to Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” to “Let Jesus Fill Your Achy Breaky Heart.”

“That was kind of their cute little signature song they did,” Frost said.

Even then, he thought the Swon Brothers would stay with their music career, he said.

“We knew one day they would take over,” he said. “We thought they would fill our shoes with Exodus.”

Eventually, Exodus turned into the Westwood Music Show and changed to the country music genre. That’s when the Swons started singing country.

The name Westwood came from the old Wagoner theater where the group produced its shows, which had a Branson-style format with a comedian and several more musicians. The Swon family all wore red sequined vests.

A short time later, the city of Wagoner purchased the old theater and turned it into a civic center. That’s when the city began its Christmas concert series, said Kenneth Peters, who was the mayor at the time.

”I went to a funeral, and I heard Kelly singing one time,” Peters said. “He did a pretty good job, and I talked with him a little bit and I said, ‘I want you to do some Christmas shows for us.’

“We gave him $300 a show. He had a comedian, him and Tammy and the Frosts, and Zach and Colton were little, but they were involved in the singing. We only had 35 or 40 people the first few shows. Now, the shows are sold out.”

Current Mayor James Jennings also is a Swon Brothers fan.

“I’m proud to have been a part of watching them develop from the time when they were 5- and 6-year-olds to where they are now,” he said. “They’ve done a lot to help Wagoner become publicized, and I think the citizens of Wagoner have been very supportive to help them. I’m very proud of what they’ve accomplished and looking forward to bigger things for them.”

Frost, who also is still involved in music, thinks the Swons will do well Tuesday night.

Asked whether he thought they could win, he replied:

“Oh, absolutely. I think their personalities along with their skills — their musical abilities — will set them ahead of the two girls. I think Danielle will be their greatest competition, but she doesn’t play instruments and she doesn’t have the two-part harmony.”

If you go

WHAT: Watch party for Swon Brothers in “The Voice” competition finals.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesday.

WHERE: Wagoner Civic Center.

ADMISSION: Free.

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