The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 12, 2011

Hometown Hootenanny

Hennessey establishes the place to go when it comes to local entertainment

By Kasey Fowler, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

HENNESSEY — The strains of country, bluegrass, gospel and folk music stream from inside Hennessey Public Library each month from January through April as a part of Hennessey Hometown Hootenanny.

In 2004, Hennessey began hosting the monthly musical event on the second Saturday of the month. The purpose was to provide a venue of entertainment for the Hennessey community.

Helen Cline came up with the idea for the Hootenanny.

“In 2000, they had a townwide meeting looking toward the future. One thing the people wanted was more cultural things to do. The Hootenanny is one of the cultural events,” said Cathy Howard, organizer.

The average age of the audience for Hennessey Hometown Hootenanny is about 55 years old. The event generally draws a crowd of 150 to 200 people.

Despite the lack of monetarily compensation for performers, organizers have been able to attract quality entertainers. Mostly the performers are from Hennessey and surrounding towns but not always.

“One year, one of our Hennessey residents heard a girl sing at an event, but she was from Laverne. She was a yodeling champion. She had a young man come with her that was from over in eastern Oklahoma. We had a girl from Taloga,” Howard said.

There are two regulars entertainers for Hennessey Hometown Hootenanny: Michael Haden and Buck Goucher. Haden always opens the show. He plays guitar and sings. He often has family members perform with him.

Goucher is a local favorite. He has played the honkytonks and bars for years and sings all the old favorites of Johnny Cash, Hank Thompson, Ernest Tubb and many other oldies.

Performers in 2011 have included Shae Brinson, Emily Northcutt, Those Guys, Vanessa Moore, Sherri Wall, Dillon Matthews, Cottonwood Creek Cloggers, Dorinda Stitt, Ezrah Cheek, Haley Gauley and, of course, Haden and Goucher.

But despite a regular pool to pull from, entertainers are not always easy to find every month.

“Sometime people contact me, but sometimes we have to beat the bushes for people,” Howard said.

Hennessey Hometown Hootenanny does not have a house band, so organizers try to get musicians who play an instrument, although they have had several entertainers who sing with CD music. The genres usually include country, new and old; bluegrass; gospel; and folk.

The next Hootenanny will be 7 p.m. April 9 at Hennessey Public Library Auditorium, 525 S. Main.  Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children ages 6 to 12. Refreshments are available at intermission.

“I don’t think there are many places you can go for $3. Our intention isn’t to make money; our objective to have place for people to go,” Howard said.

For information, go to hennesseyhometownhootenanny.com.