Local music grows in Tahlequah

Brennan Marcotte, Inola senior, and Matt Menees, Wagoner sophomore, practice music together in their suite. Marcotte and Menees can be seen together at live performances by Hannah Renell and The Postmen.

Tahlequah has many interesting things to offer for its visitors. This includes the beautiful nature trails, staple restaurants and stores downtown, events offered on NSU’s campus and the music scene. Tahlequah has a rich history when it comes to jazz music, and NSU’s music department stays on top of its game, due to the passion that music students have and due to the precision and activism of the music professors here.

In Tahlequah’s current music scene, there is a lot of fusion between the members of many of the active bands. This is a reflection of the communal mentality that many musicians in this area have. People like Dr. Jack Myers, lead singer and songwriter for The Vox Squadron, pay close attention to the musicians in the area, as he is adamant about being an active member of the Tahlequah music community.

The biggest reflection of Dr. Myers status in the local music scene currently is his newest project in the works, referred to as the Tahlequahllective Recording Project. The idea for this project is still being developed, but it will bring many of the local musicians in Tahlequah together for an all-inclusive musical project.

“I'm not sure that we have a full grasp on what the Tahlequahllective Recording Project is yet, beyond an impulse of mine to try to capture a representative sample of just some of the musical talent that is all around us,” said Myers. “Just about everyone that is participating has collaborated previously in some fashion with my band The Vox Squadron. The idea I had was to record each act over a period of about three hours, with the aim of producing a couple of original songs per act. It's set for the first weekend in May, and it's going to be a technically challenging undertaking, but therein lies part of the fun. Hopefully the Oklahoma spring weather and beautiful Lake Tenkiller will be an idyllic setting for this project.”

Some of the local bands that are set to feature on this project includes DocFell & Co., The Vox Squadron, Hannah Renell and The Postmen, and Studio House Project. What will make this project interesting is the fact that these bands already feature a lot of the same musicians. One musician that likes to play around with different bands in Tahlequah is Matt Menees, Wagoner sophomore. 

Menees actively plays for the NSU Jazz Ensemble, Hannah Renell and The Postmen and The Mandophonics. Menees grew up listening to a lot of hard rock music, but his guitar playing style nowadays has more jazz-funk tendencies.

“Because I have a background in jazz music, I feel like I add interesting chord voicings that you might not get with guitarists that have only studied rock and blues,” said Menees.

While Menees loves to play his instrument most chances he gets, he said that he wishes that Tahlequah venues supported the musicians in town a little more.

“The Tahlequah music scene is interesting,” said Menees. “Venues here do not pay musicians very well compared to other cities, but the community is very accepting of different styles of music. It is a very fun community to play music in, but it does not pay the bills.”

The compensation offered by music venues to musicians may not be where local bands generally want it to be, but the support from the community that comes to shows is top-notch. Sarah Thompson, Tahlequah flutist, has a history playing with Larry Huitt, Quality Vibes, DocFell & Co., and The Vox Squadron. One thing that keeps Thompson invested in the scene around Tahlequah is the supportive people that follow these bands.

“Tahlequah is a good fit for musicians because everybody seems to be accepting and nurturing in your journey,” said Thompson. “There is always somebody to jam with.”

Needless to say, there a plenty of opportunities to see local bands do their thing in Tahlequah, including The Vox Squadron at Dewain’s Place on April 17. The recording process for the Tahlequahllective Recording Project is set to begin in early May, so Tahlequah will hopefully have a fun and new album to represent the growing music scene in town.

For more information on the Tahlequahllective Recording Project, email Dr. Myers at drjackmyers@gmail.com.

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