Mabee Center Celebrates 40 Years, Hall of Fame

Managing Editor

INSPIRING STAFF: Crispin Ngenda, operations director at the Mabee Center, sixth from left, stands next to Oral Roberts President Billy Wilson and with the Mabee Center staff.

The Mabee Center has a lot to show for its past 40 years.

Since its very first act, Johnny Cash in 1972, the event venue has gone on to welcome some of the most well-known performers, most recently including Justin Bieber and Pavarotti.

The Mabee Center plans to continue to bring in family-friendly acts, says Crispin Ngenda, operations director. It has also, however, expanded into other event areas, such as business conferences and even weddings held on the 60th floor of the CityPlex Towers on the south side of 81st Street.

The Mabee Center will hold a grand farewell to its 40th year with its Oct. 15th induction into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. The evening of festivities will be held at the Mabee Center and will feature a concert by Muskogee’s Swon Brothers.

“It’s an honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Ngenda says. “I think it’s a testament to the caliber of work we’ve done.” The venue’s list of performers goes on for a long while, and every name can be found at the Mabee Center’s eMuseum at Past performers include Elvis Presley, Barry Manilow, Sonny and Cher, The Beach Boys, Lionel Richie, Garth Brooks, B.B. King, and Jay Leno. “We were the biggest arena before the Center; everyone came here,” Ngenda says.

Ngenda is quick to praise the Mabee Center’s team of employees. He feels that the team’s experience and eagerness to consistently put on the best show possible are why performers repeatedly come back to the Mabee Center, such as Bill Gaither who has played the Mabee Center more than 30 times.

“Pavarotti said it was acoustically one of the best places he’s ever played,” Ngenda recounts—another big plus for performers.

Ngenda and his staff plan to complete a museum to be housed in the Mabee Center that will document its historic memories, with artist memorabilia, pictures and autographs. In the meantime, its eMuseum allows individuals to scroll through the names of all the performers who have visited the Mabee Center and even read about the trends and listen to the music from that time period. Visitors of the site can also submit their favorite memory from a show they attended and read those shared by others.

See everything the eMuseum offers by visiting and following the eMusuem link.

Updated 10-01-2013

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