OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — For decades, Oklahoma City has liked to kick off the year right with the annual “Opening Night” event. 2021 saw the party’s first appearance at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, opting to go all-virtual as the pandemic raged on, but this year the in-person fun returns, seeing out the old year and ringing in the new with performances and activities designed as a perfect compromise option for families and partiers alike.
In addition to the drinks, food, and clowns (that’s right, the Bricktown Clowns will be making the rounds) the real draw of the night’s festivities, curated and overseen by the Oklahoma City Arts Council, will be the musical performances.
As 2022 approaches, partygoers will be treated to everything from country, hip-hop, jazz, and soul, all culminating with an act that truly defies easy description.
Music and Film
with Brett Fieldcamp
The Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma is arguably the state’s most respected and renowned school of music, consistently turning out brilliant musicians of all stripes and styles. The school is perhaps best known, however, for the young jazz players that come through their doors, and part of the Opening Night setup will be an area dedicated to hosting and showcasing the remarkable, jazzy talents of many of the young players currently rising through the school’s ranks.
Opera on Tap OKC
Opera on Tap is a worldwide project bringing together operatic vocalists and performers from all over for creative, often experimental takes on classical opera, frequently turning tired opera conventions on their heads and making the art form both compelling and relevant to modern audiences. The OKC chapter will be performing as part of the night’s lineup.
Holding down the smooth and soulful side of the evening will be Rod Porter, best known locally as vocalist for the stalwart, longstanding OKC R&B outfit Shortt Dogg. He’ll be backed by a band of personal friends and collaborators for the night, and you should be pretty well guaranteed that his set is going to be among the very best for dancing real close.
Absolutely no celebration of Oklahoma music in 2021 could be complete without Original Flow. Billed persistently (and accurately) as “a wordsmith with a message,” the rapper dropped his debut LP “Blackmankidboy” late last year and watched his star and his respect continue rising all throughout 2021, aided at least in part by his participation in the groundbreaking, monumental “Fire in Little Africa” project. Flow is easily one of OKC’s top artists to watch, and his Opening Night set is bound to be a big one.
Speaking of rising stars, Carter Sampson is poised to rule Oklahoma City’s singer/songwriter scene. Falling gracefully somewhere between country and the modern rumblings of Southern Indie-Folk, Sampson’s honest and straightforward songwriting is matched only by the sheer power of her voice. She can belt and croon right alongside any of the cowboy and cowgirl greats, and might just be the next to take a well-deserved seat among them.
Adam & Kizzie
Perhaps the night’s biggest draw is also the most difficult to define. Are they hip-hop? Are they soul? Are they jazz? Are they some kind of experimental gospel? The answer to every one of these questions is “yes.” Adam & Kizzie are all of these sounds simultaneously in a way that you can be guaranteed to have never heard before. Even the husband-and-wife artists themselves can’t define their sound with any existing terminology, turning instead to a descriptor of their own creation: EEDO.
The Opening Night event will be a much-anticipated homecoming for the couple after they departed Oklahoma for Cali in 2019 before welcoming a daughter and then being blindsided by the COVID pandemic. Bet that this incomparable, indescribable duo is going to tear the roof off the party, even if it’s all outdoors. If any act can rip the sky itself apart in OKC, it’s Adam & Kizzie.
For more information, and to purchase a wristband for entry to OKC Arts Council’s Opening Night 2022, visit artscouncilokc.com. Wristbands can also be purchased at any local 7-11 store.
Last Updated December 28, 2021, 8:04 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor