Oklahoma Centennial Celebration Spectacular

In 2007, Paul Christensen and his wife Donna Christensen were in Oklahoma City serving as Technical Producers for a live concert television broadcast of the Oklahoma Centennial Spectacular for the Oklahoma Network (OETA) (PBS). The live event, titled “Celebration of a Century,” was the grand finale to a year-long celebration of the state’s 100th year of statehood and took place in Oklahoma City’s Ford Center before a rousing, sold out crowd of 18,000. The two hour state wide broadcast featured an unprecedented gathering of Oklahoma’s most famous luminaries, including country legends Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and Toby Keith; rock groups The Flaming Lips and All-American Rejects; Multi Grammy winning songwriter Jimmy Webb; Broadway’s Kelli O’Hara; Blake Shelton, Patti Page and opera singer Leona Mitchell; the Oklahoma City Philharmonic; the Canterbury Choral Society and the American Spirit Dance Company, as well as many other famous sons and daughters.

A project of the Oklahoma Centennial Commission in conjunction with Oklahoma Events, the evening featured a dazzling display of the latest technology in lighting, multimedia and staging. “This concert is a fitting finale to what has been a magnificent statehood celebration,” said Lee Allan Smith, Executive Producer. “We are pleased that so many Oklahoma celebrities have returned for this very special concert.” The state’s celebrations included over 1,000 projects and events statewide and across the nation. The festivities stretched coast-to-coast from performing the opening show in Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade to appearing in New York’s Thanksgiving Day Macy’s Parade and exhibiting “The Oklahoma Experience,” the first state ever featured at Disney’s popular Epcot(R) International Food & Wine Festival in Orlando, Fla. Oklahoma was officially declared a state on Nov. 16, 1907, by President Theodore Roosevelt. Today, it has 39 sovereign nations, representing the 39 federally-recognized Native American tribes that operate as independent governments.

OETA’s Bill Thrash Produced the broadcast. Paul and Donna Christensen served as Technical Producers. Dallas based Corporate Magic produced the event. Stephen Dahlem was Creative Director. Melinda Lovelace produced for Corporate Magic. Alford Media, Coppell, Texas, provided Sound Reinforcement and Projection Services. Price Wooldridge was Production Manager for OETA. Curt Casassa was the Director for the broadcast, ably assisted by AD Robin Chessor and OETA’s Mickie Smith as TD. Rounding out the talented crew were John Perry and Mike King on Steadicam; Dirk Davenport and Mark Voyles on Hand Held Cameras; Brett Skelton on Jimmy Jib and John Lee, Mark Northcutt and Tony Emig on Fixed Cameras. Jessi Crino and Derek Watson assisted on camera as did Jeff Morava and Holly Emig. Larry Bearden shaded (video) the final pictures. Bill Turner was Stage Manager. John Johns , In-Sync, Inc., Dallas, served as Video Project Engineer.

The stage was transformed into a spectacular wash of color and sculpted set design by Lighting Director Ted Wells, Full Flood, Inc., Los Angeles, assisted by Programmer Mark Butts and Board Operator Michael Gooseman, assisted by James Beaghan, Jeffrey Anderson, Andy York and David Favorita. Cox Production Services, Tulsa provided their digital Unit 14 for Remote Television Facilities. Cox engineers Dave Schramm, Jeremy Paul and Terry Smith provided technical engineering support including fiber transmission to OETA’s studio location.

Omega brought in Kooster McAllister and the Record Plant Remote, New York, digital 96 track remote facility to originate and record the music for the concert. Christensen also enlisted the help of New York based Bob Aldridge to serve as Production On-Air Mixer. Assisting with remote audio recording duties were Record Plant crew Paul Special, Brian Flanzbaum and Greg Thompson. Tad Wimer served as A1, video with A2, John Sanders. Both assisted with audio duties and intercom. Alan Stiebing was the RF and Communications Technician. Other vendors assisting with the production were Bexel, Dallas, and Music City Jib, Nashville – camera lenses and fiber rental; CP Communications, New York – intercom and radio rental; Clifford Power Systems , Oklahoma city – Generator Rental and Toucan Lighting, Oklahoma City – lighting platforms.

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