Oklahoma Opry Vocalists

A road trip to Nashville or Branson isn’t necessary to hear live country or gospel music. The Oklahoma Opry features a regular line-up of talented performers and one of the singers just might be your neighbor.

Recently renovated, the Opry, located at 404 W. Commerce in Oklahoma City, seats an audience of 750 and offers several shows each month. Four Edmond residents perform there on a regular basis.

Natalie Reed has been singing at the Opry since 2002. After singing along during several visits, a staff member suggested she audition. Natalie was already working with a voice coach, so she decided to try out and was selected to appear in the show.

Natalie loves “power ballads” and according to Fran Waggoner, administrative manager at the Opry, the audience loves Natalie’s ballads.

“The audience gets involved with her singing and she is very well liked,” Waggoner said.

One of Natalie’s favorite performance numbers is “Where Your Road Leads,” a song made famous as a duet by Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks. Natalie has adapted it to be a solo. She performed the song at the annual awards show when she was named the Opry’s Best Female Vocalist of the Year.

Natalie performs every chance she gets and is currently working on writing and recording new material.

During the week, she works as a teacher’s assistant for special education classes in first through third grade at Northern Hills Elementary. She is also a student at Oklahoma City Community College. The Edmond North graduate is taking time to craft her song writing before she moves to Nashville.

“I’ll see where God takes me,” she said. “I feel like God has given me a gift to share and if it is His will, He’ll open the doors.”

Another Edmond resident honored by the Opry this year is Cameron Newby. The Edmond Memorial freshman is the Opry’s Youth Entertainer of the Year.

Cameron first auditioned for the Opry at age ten and has been singing there ever since.

“I always wanted to sing, since I was three or four years old,” he said. Cameron would sing around the house, at family parties and everywhere else. His mom heard about the Opry auditions and Cameron wanted to try. He sang, “My Kind of Girl,” by Colin Ray and was chosen by the judges.

Cameron sings mostly country songs, but also mixes in some Christian songs and every once in a while performs in the Opry’s Fifties shows. His favorite number is a Toby Keith medley he developed.

Cameron really likes the people at the Opry. “Everyone is so friendly," he said. "It’s a very cool atmosphere.”

Cameron’s musical goals have a humanitarian quality. “I want to be famous someday so I can be a positive influence on people." He says he would like to set a good example by being a nice guy.

He’s already on his way – performing at charity concerts, maintaining an A average in school and playing wide receiver and cornerback on Memorial’s 9th grade varsity football team, as well as guard for the 9th grade varsity basketball team.

Paige Norman also began performing at a young age. She was twelve when she first took the stage at the Opry and appeared regularly through her teen years.

Paige was shy growing up so her parents started entering her in pageants to build her confidence.

“I saw someone sing during a competition and I wanted to do that,” she said. The family lived in Tulsa at the time and her parents found a local voice teacher in Broken Arrow. When Paige was eleven, they moved to Edmond. But her singing dream remained a priority.

“We drove back to Broken Arrow every two weeks for my voice lesson,” Paige said.

After Paige started performing at the Opry, she met Roni Goss, member of the Goss Brothers’ gospel group.

“He really influenced me,” she said. Goss worked with Paige on her voice and also inspired her.

“That’s when I decided I wanted to sing gospel music, however God would let me do it,” Paige said. She became a member of a young people’s performing group and they sang and ministered at a number of venues, including the national Mary Kay convention. When Paige was in junior high, her Dad was diagnosed with cancer so the road performances came to an end.

Paige is a member of First Baptist Church in Edmond and sings at various churches around the state. She currently works as a medical transcriptionist, but it is not unusual for her to work two jobs so she can set money aside for her gospel music ministry.

“I still have to support my ministry myself,” she said. As a solo artist, it is sometimes difficult for her to get bookings. But she is a fixture on the Opry’s stage.

“I’ve sung in every gospel show they’ve had,” she said.

Davis Cole is another Edmond resident who performs at the Opry. He’s sung in a number of shows over the past fifteen years. Davis has been a part of several groups: the Joyful Noise quartet and First Priority. The latter produced three Christian CDs. He also occasionally performs as Elvis at the Opry’s Fifties show.

Davis and his wife, along with another couple recently formed a new group called downpour. They classify themselves as contemporary Christian in the vein of Casting Crowns.

Davis said his dream is to sing full time, but for now, he works as an account manager at Gallager Benefit Services.

If it is your dream to sing on stage, the Opry’s next audition will be Jan. 13, 2007. For more information visit www.okopry.homestead.com or call 632-8322.

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