A Grammy-style show of performances and recognition is coming to Duncan’s Simmons Center in late January.

This year’s Duncan Area Arts Hall of Fame Spectacular and Reception is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. It’s jammed packed with performances, entertainment and awards and at the end of the evening, the second class will receive induction into the Duncan Area Arts Hall of Fame.

A line up of “accomplished” performers from around the Duncan area will headline the Spectacular.

Performers include Two Belles, Chance Anderson, Chelsea Shores, Duane Paul and Steelwind.

Between performances of the five entertainment spotlights, Chisholm Trail Arts Council, Duncan Little Theatre and Heartbeat Dance House will honor individuals who have positively impacted their organizations.

A grand finale will include the induction of the second class to the Duncan Area Arts Hall of Fame, which will include Bobby Richardson III, (the late) Dr. Bill and Melinda Corporon, Joe Diffie and the Diane Garis Davenport Family. The Corporons and the Diane Garis Davenport Family will be inducted as Pathfinders. 

This year Cindy Parks and Nicole Punneo are co-chairs and wanted to explain that HOF has a two-part mission.

“It’s mission I think is two-fold,” Parks previously told The Banner. “I feel like it’s to celebrate local artists and all of their achievements as well as improve this facility (Simmons Center Theatre) with the money that comes from ticket sales, because this facility has got to be maintained, and it takes a lot of money to do that.”

Punneo said last year the group focused on replacing the lights in the theatre.

“This year we are hoping for a sound system,” she said.

One of the quotes for a new sound system came in around $12,000 earlier this year.

Tickets may be purchased at the Simmons Center at 580-252-2900 x 240 with two price point options. VIP tickets, which are $75 each, include front of house seating, early admission, VIP entrance and coat check. General Admission tickets include basic entry into the event at $35 each. The VIP and GA tickets will each include admission into the reception and art gallery following directly after the spectacular.

For more information, visit Duncan Area Arts Hall of Fame on Facebook.


Entertainment Spotlight: Two Belles

The Two Belles are sisters, Merribelle and Annabelle Wharton from Duncan, OK.  At age 14 and 15, they formed their musical group, acquired an agent, and began booking events over the DFW metroplex playing different genres of music. Today they stay busy as full-time Cameron University students and as musicians.  

They trained as classical violinists at Oklahoma City University from 2009-2018 in the Performing Arts Academy. In addition to the violin, the girls play multiple instruments mainly booking events using the violins or violin and harp.  

The highlight of 2019 was the opportunity to play at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. In the past, they have performed on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Grand Ole Opry and Cowboy Hall of Fame in Nashville. Their favorite place though is home in the country with their parents and pets.


Entertainment Spotlight: Chance Anderson

If home is where the heart is, you’ll have to catch Chance Anderson out on the highways. A true road warrior and native of Oklahoma, he has carved out his career with a unique blend of true country music and American rock ‘n roll. Raised on the legends - Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and The Eagles; and finding an early love for legendary songwriters such as Guy Clark, Steve Earle, and Robert Earl Keen, Chance found a passion at a young age for a life of song on the road. 

Chance Anderson and his namesake band have successfully released multiple singles that have hit the Texas radio airwaves. His dedicated fan base is unrivaled in the TX/OK region and has to no surprise, been gaining steam from coast to coast. A mix of strong small town roots and a working man’s attitude, Chance has shot far into the world of music. Though always on the move, it won’t be long before you catch his ‘American music from Oklahoma’ in your hometown.


Entertainment Spotlight: Chelsea Shores

Born and raised in Duncan, Chelsea grew up dancing from the small age of three. She studied at Heartbeat Dance Studio through her school ages, and from there was chosen to be a part of the dance program at Oklahoma City University where she majored in Dance Management and was a member of the performance company, American Spirit Dance Company, all four years. 

Following college, she performed in various shows in Texas, Alabama, and Georgia where she was a featured dancer. She has over 13 years of teaching experience spanning dance studios, elementary schools, pageants, high school and University dance teams. 

In 2016, Chelsea took over ownership of the Heartbeat Dance Studio. Chelsea has her B.S. in Dance Management from Oklahoma City University, and her M.B.A. from the University of Central Oklahoma. She and her husband, Dr. Coty Shores, D.D.S. reside in Duncan with their two children, Cason (7) and Cambry (3).


Entertainment spotlight: Duane Paul

After listening to an R. Carlos Nakai CD of flute music, Duane Paul, of Duncan, has been hooked on flute music ever since. He received a flute from his wife at the dedication of the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center’s On the Trail Monument in 1998 and a few years later began making them himself.

Paul not only makes the instruments, but also plays Native American style flutes. He makes flutes in the style of Shakuhachi, Quena, Penny Whistle and Cherokee Whistle and wind chimes which are “tuned” to different keys. Except for ripping and cross-cutting the lumber or limbs with powered saws, he uses strictly ”hand-tools” to carve, gouge, shape and finish his flutes. It takes a lot longer doing things by hand, but it ensures his offerings will be unique and individual. 


Entertainment Spotlight: Steelwind

The unique Steelwind sound originates from co-songwriters Blake Parks (DHS Graduate 2006) and Michael Henneberry. Fall of 2019 marked their 10-year anniversary of writing songs and playing music together. Over the years their band lineup has grown and their music has progressed into a recognizable blend of tight harmonies and bluegrass instrumentation that appeals to all ages. Originating as a duo with Blake on fiddle and Michael on guitar, the full band now performs live with Joel Parks (DHS Graduate 2011) on banjo, Becca Herrod on mandolin, Adam Davis on dobro, and Kenny Parks on bass.  

In addition to their impressive instrumentation, get ready to fall in love with their outstanding vocals, special fusion of harmonies, and heartfelt lyrics. Steelwind has played with the likes of Darrel Scott, Byron Berline, The SteelDrivers, and Asleep at the Wheel to name a few. From playing intimate listening rooms to major festivals, these young and talented musicians bring a fresh new sound to the bluegrass world.


Inductee Spotlight: Bobby Richardson III

Robert W. (Bobby) Richardson III was a Duncan Native and a pillar of the community. He loved playing golf and dedicated his life to making Duncan the best place to live. Bobby graduated from Oklahoma University with a degree in pharmacy. He owned R&S Drug stores and was passionate about the Main Street revitalization initiative. He established the Duncan Barbershop chapter in 1973 and sang in a multi-award winning quartet, The Vocal Orchestration Corporation. He was a devoted member of the First United Methodist Church choir. He participated in every Civic Capers performance starting in 1961. Playing the piano was another of his musical talents and he was the Duncan Rotary song leader for years. It was his mission to promote Duncan; serving on countless committees and boards, Duncan School Board member and president, Duncan Regional Hospital board member and of course singing and performing throughout his life. 

Music was always in Bobby’s heart and we are proud to honor his many accomplishments and vast contributions to the community of Duncan.


Inductee Spotlight: Bill and Melinda Corporon

The Corporons rejuvenated the spirit of theater arts in Duncan.

According to a small bio, in 1981 they re-incorporated Duncan Little Theater and were active until they left the area in 2003.

“Over the years, Bill directed and Melinda produced over 25 shows,” it read. “They also acted and worked behind the scenes of many other productions.”

They were nominated for their love of the arts.

“Most of all, the Corporons’ creativity and persistence inspired the community of Duncan and kept theatre arts alive in our city,” the bio said. “They influenced everyone in our community with their love of the arts.”


Inductee Spotlight: Diane Garis Davenport and Family

Members of the Diane Garis Davenport Family are descendants of early area pioneers dating from before Oklahoma statehood. Giving back to the community is a guiding tenant which the members of this family adhere to. Diane’s appreciation of the arts was fostered primarily by her mother who exposed her to and shared her love of the visual arts, music, and dance during her childhood. This family’s lives have been greatly enriched by the many events held at the Simmons Center Theater over the years, which include attending The American Music Festival and many concerts, including Leon Russell, and performing in The Nutcracker ballet, the musical Annie, and annual Heartbeat dance recitals. Diane’s involvement in the local arts scene has been as patron and volunteer. Her daughters, Mary Garis and Caroline Garis Brown, have made their careers in the arts, as art gallery owner and drama teacher.

The family tenant of giving back to the community lead Diane’s uncle, Tom McCasland, Jr., to envision and commission the On The Chisholm Trail statue, which lead to the building of the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center. Diane’s late husband, Jim Garis, developed a passion for the Statue and Heritage Center. He also was a visionary with many good ideas. He was involved in local economic development and believed the Statue and Center would bring tourism to the community. He wanted to enhance the Heritage Center with a collection of Western art which would “tell the story of the American West”. He set about doing this with Diane’s help. Much of his appreciation for the arts came from his upbringing and schooling in Enid, Oklahoma. His interest in preserving the heritage of the Chisholm Trail rested in being raised in a community on the trail, Enid, and also living his adult life on the trail in Duncan.

The Garis Gallery of the American West collection, housed in the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, contains more than 250 visual works of art by local, state, national and internationally renowned artists. It opened in 2005. More than 218,000 people have experienced a visit to the Gallery. Diane and her family hope the Statue, Heritage Center, and Garis Gallery continue to positively impact the local community, through both educational enrichment and the economic benefits of increased tourism.  

The family would like to acknowledge and express their sincere appreciation for the contribution of Ed Foreman, who worked alongside Jim assembling the collection, designing the gallery space and installing the art works. The family is also appreciative of the efforts made by the Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum staff, especially Toni Hopper, who have worked to maintain, further research, and update the collection.


Inductee Spotlight: Joe Diffie

The beauty of country music is its ability to reflect the lives of its listeners, and few artists have celebrated life’s challenges and triumphs with more heartfelt eloquence than Joe Diffie, whose songs have continually painted a portrait of real life with all its joy and angst. 

“I’ve always loved well-written songs,” says the Grammy winner, who is just as skilled at writing hits as he is singing them. “There’s really no magic formula. I’ve just always drawn on my own experience, whether it’s falling in love or hanging out in a bar. I feel like if I relate to it, other people will too.” 

That simple barometer has served Diffie well throughout his career and continues to do so today. Part mechanic and all romantic, Diffie exudes the good-natured charm that has made him one of country music’s most revered statesmen. A native of Oklahoma, Diffie is a member of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 25 years. He originally set his sights on a medical career, but his love for music won out and he began performing in a gospel group and a bluegrass band before deciding to give Nashville a try. He was on the verge of moving home when a conversation with his dad changed his destiny. 

“Dad said, ‘If you don’t have a goal, you don’t have anything to shoot at. Do something every day towards your music. Write a song or play your guitar.’ I took that to heart and made sure I did something every day whether it was big or little. I think it would apply in anything.”

 That passion and dedication to his dream paid off. His first break came when Holly Dunn recorded “There Goes My Heart Again” and asked him to sing harmony. 

“I remember going to the mailbox and getting the first check from that song! I hadn’t seen that much money in my whole life,” he laughs. 

By 1990, Diffie had signed with Epic Records and released his debut album A Thousand Winding Roads. His first single, “Home,” hit No. 1. He continued to dominate the charts throughout the 90s with such hits as “New Way (To Light Up an Old Flame),” “If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets),” “Is It Cold in Here,” “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die),” “So Help Me Girl,” “Bigger than the Beatles” and “Third Rock from the Sun.”

With nearly 30 years in the spotlight, Diffie has no plans to slow down. “I love music. It’s just a part of me,” he says. “Retiring would be like cutting off my arm or something. I enjoy everything about it. I love the fans and it beats working any day.”

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