Monday, July 13, 2020
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office
Ada, OKLAHOMA -- Ada artist Chandler Elliott will represent the next generation of entertainers as he takes the stage during the McSwain Theatre’s 100th Anniversary Virtual Celebration, set for 7 p.m., Saturday, July 18.
As part of a centennial celebration, the McSwain Theatre will stream the virtual show on the McSwain Theatre's Facebook page and McSwain Theatre.com.
A vocalist and guitarist, Elliott will perform Doc Watson’s “Deep River Blues” during the virtual event.
Entertainment will also include a message from Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, songs from Jae L. & Crossover and special guests, as well as greetings from notable past performers.
Although Elliott has only been entertaining audiences on the McSwain stage for the past few years; the 24-year-old’s connection to the theatre began when he was a high school volunteer. His volunteer service led to a position at the theatre, where he learned several aspects of the entertainment industry -- from ticket sales, to lighting and sound, to popcorn production.
Working at the theatre during breaks from classes at the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma offered Elliott real-world lessons about the entertainment industry while he was working on a degree in commercial music.
“I wanted to learn every aspect of show business as I was going to college, including the business side of the music industry,” he said.
His perspective broadened after his first McSwain performance at age 20 to include the artist’s perspective.
“My favorite memory at the McSwain is when I got to play on the Jae L & Crossover show for the first time. That was also the first time I played with a professional band,” he said.
Since that first appearance, Elliott has returned to the McSwain stage several times. He said he is grateful for the helpful performance tips he has received from both Jae L. and the rest of the McSwain staff.
“They gave me a lot of great advice that made me more comfortable, and made me a better show person when performing. There’s a difference between performing a song, and actually performing it in front of an audience,” he said.
He lists his parents, Jeff and April Elliott, of Ada, as being his biggest supporters who consistently give him feedback and advice.
He is also thankful for his grandmother, Nova Gray, who sings and plays guitar, for being his biggest fan. “No matter what I do, if it is good or bad, she is going to love it and she’s very supportive to me.”
Since earning a Bachelor of Applied Technology degree in Commercial Music last year, Elliott strives to keep expanding his musical repertoire and experience in the industry.
“When I first started working at the McSwain, I had no idea what I was going to do. I was very inexperienced, but working at the theatre has definitely morphed me and pointed me in the right direction that I want to go in my career,” he said.
“As an artist, I want to entertain in the best way I can and grow more in my skill set. A large part of my influence comes from Chuck Berry and Chet Atkins.”
His musical range includes gospel, country, rock and the 50s and 60s era.
“However, I'll pretty much play any kind of music as long it's something I feel is consistent with my character and who I am as a person.”
About the McSwain Theatre
Opened in 1920, the McSwain Theatre, 130 W. Main St., is one of Oklahoma’s premier live entertainment venues. Its concerts, shows, movies, plays and special events are all planned to offer a family-friendly experience to the community.
The McSwain Theatre is owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation.