I don’t know about you, but we haven’t left the house much since March. Before that, we were out on the town most nights of the week, attending live concerts and arts-related events, whether that included a show at the PAC or the BOK Center, a gig at one of the casinos, a transcendent night of jazz at a local club, or simply hanging with friends over dinner and drinks. Don’t we all long for the “good old days” — last February?
The arts have experienced setbacks on various levels. I can’t imagine a December without “The Nutcracker” and “A Christmas Carol,” for instance. Ticket revenue actually is only a fraction of what it takes to keep an arts organization thriving, but those annual holiday shows are a crucial part of the funding for Tulsa Ballet and American Theatre Company, respectively. During my years working at the PAC, I grew close to both organizations and have much respect for what it takes to keep an arts group soluble. 2020 is Marcello Angelini’s 25th year at the helm of Tulsa Ballet. I hope the company can come back full-force soon and Marcello can continue to work his magic. ATC recently lost three people who were key players in that troupe. The company, including the departed Kitty Roberts, Ed Durnal and Jim Runyan, has helped to shape the theatre landscape of Tulsa. I know ATC will come roaring back.
Many musicians lost a primary source of income with the closing of restaurants, bars and other venues. As people have figured out how to safely stage music performances, there is work again for them, and more options now for people who are comfortable with a socially distanced setting. You can support Tulsa businesses and musicians while feeding your appetite for live music at several restaurants and sites around town. Also, kudos to the many enterprises that have been supporters of live music all along.
On Monday nights at Hodges Bend, you can revel in the music and camaraderie of the Mike Cameron Collective, now in its seventh year at Hodges. The group plays outside on the patio. Mike reports, “It’s a tight fit, but fun.”
Continuing their Friday nights at The Bistro at Seville, guitarist Sean Al-Jibouri and bassist Dean Demerritt perform soothing acoustic music that is the perfect accompaniment to happy hour and dinner at the close of every week. Dean is a revered teacher and leader on the Tulsa jazz scene. He was on road with Asleep at the Wheel for four years. The Dean Demerritt Jazz Tribe performs on Nov. 13 in an outdoor series hosted by the Williams Companies and the Tulsa PAC on the Williams Green. This “Arts in the Air” programming takes place on Friday and Saturday nights through the fall, and is free. Seating is provided, but you might want to bring along folding chairs just in case. Check out the full roster of events at tulsapac.com. Upcoming shows include showstopper Branjae, Oct. 23, Halloween-themed entertainment on Oct. 30-31, and Tulsa Youth Opera and Tulsa Cabaret Performers, Nov. 6.
Bull In The Alley, located down an alley in the Tulsa Arts District, features Jon Glazer on piano every Thursday through Saturday nights. Jon can play anything you request. I always ask for a Beatles medley! Also in the Tulsa Arts District is the Duet restaurant. The Duet jazz club is closed for now, but there is music on the covered patio. Enjoy “Live Music Sundays” at The Chalkboard for Sunday brunch and dinner. Check the Polo Grill website for a listing of its events. They serve dinner on their patio, special dinners with music, and more. Additionally, Center One in Brookside hosts live music in its courtyard for diners at its restaurants. Every Sunday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. you can dine with live music at Doc’s Wine and Food.
Live music appearances at restaurants aren’t booked months in advance. If you have a favorite local musician, follow them on their Facebook page for notice of when and where they are playing. You can also find listings of live-streamed concerts.
The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is a great way to keep in touch with live music in the Tulsa area. At the Hall itself, you can spend Wednesday evenings with the incredibly talented Eichers. “Eicher Wednesday” features the father and son duo of fiddler Shelby Eicher and bassist Nathan Eicher. Shelby was inducted into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame in 2019 and was a member of Roy Clark’s band for 15 years. Shelby and Nathan play in a wide range of music genres. The Jazz Hall has made thoughtful accommodations for social distancing.
Enjoy art with music. On Thursdays in the fall, cellist Erica Parker will perform at various locations at Gilcrease Museum, beginning at 6 p.m.
Don’t forget Tulsa Symphony’s Brahms concert at ONEOK Field, Oct. 18, and a live concert of Bavarian, Polish, German and Austrian music performed by the Signature Symphony’s Brass Quintet at Tulsa Botanic Gardens on Oct. 24. A limited number of tickets are available for Signature Symphony and Tulsa Botanic Garden members.
Our fall weather is well-suited for music on the patio, in the garden, park or ballfield. Stay safe and savor every moment.