FAMILY AFFAIR: Drummer Billy Estes, father of Toni Estes, right, made a surprise visit at the Renaissance New Year’s Eve party when he temporarily sat in for Jonathan Watkins. Toni sang several minutes before she realized her father was on stage. On the saxophone is Tulsa’s own Grady Nichols.
GTR Newspapers photo
The Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center was the place to be New Year’s Eve as two of Tulsa’s brightest young stars welcomed everyone with a tribute to Motown. Toni Estes and her singers joined Grady Nichols and his band on stage in the Grand Ballroom for a night of great music and celebration.
An enthusiastic and huge audience enjoyed the show and the evening, which also included a delicious dinner. Renaissance Assistant General Manager of Food and Beverage Operations Jon Patterson planned the night to remember with decorations that transformed the Grand Ballroom into a swank nightclub atmosphere with lit tables and raised, balcony-style seating.
“The Renaissance show concept was an excellent setting for New Years,” says Nichols, who has been playing nationally since signing with Compendia Records last May. “Toni Estes is a major talent and I enjoyed performing those great Motown songs with her.”
Estes, a Priority Records recording artist and a former Tulsan, made a name for herself when she was nominated for a Grammy for co-writing “It’s Not Right But It’s OK,” a song that was recorded by Whitney Houston while Toni sang backup.