Updated: May 31
Twenty-four diverse acts are scheduled to entertain inside and outside (weather permitting) for the 52nd Nescatunga Arts Festival June 2-4 on the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Alva campus, 709 Oklahoma Blvd. Outdoor entertainment will move inside Percefull Fieldhouse if raining.
The festival’s opening ceremony kicks off at 8:30 a.m. in Percefull Fieldhouse with the Alva Boy Scouts, who will present the colors and lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Kylee Winslow, the 10-year-old daughter of Kyle and Teddi Winslow of Alva, will be singing the National Anthem. In the fall, she’ll be in the fifth grade at Lincoln Elementary.
A prayer will be led by Katie Hill, pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Alva.
Alva City Council member Sadie Bier will welcome everyone to the festival on behalf of the City of Alva in place of Mayor Kelly Parker who is unable to attend.
Jerad Bradt and the crew with Boss Music will be providing the sound for the entertainment.
A full listing of the entertainment schedule is below along with brief bios of each act set to perform.
Friday, June 2 (outside on Intramural Field, south of Percefull Fieldhouse)
6 p.m. / Ethan Reyes, acoustic guitarist, Tulsa
Ethan Reyes has been a music lover since he was a child, absorbing the alternative music shown to him by his mother. She would buy him CDs from all of his favorites ranging from The Cranberries to Green Day. A young Ethan Reyes would transition from blasting the American Idiot CD on weekdays to listening to country music icons like George Jones and Merle Haggard on the weekends at his grandparents. These influences can be heard in his music today. Reyes was given an acoustic guitar when he was 14 years old, becoming a self-taught musician at a young age after practicing day in and day out. It didn’t take long for him to begin to write songs. What started as a hobby has grown into a passion and a focus for him.
7 p.m. / Emily Smith, Miss NWOSU
Emily Smith is a small-town girl from Holdenville, Oklahoma. She grew up being heavily involved in rodeo, athletics and music. She is currently a senior vocal music education major at NWOSU. She is active in the NWOSU choirs, is an NWOSU track and field athlete, and is the current Miss Northwestern. She will represent Northwestern June 6-10 at the Miss Oklahoma competition in Tulsa. Smith has had many opportunities to sing the National Anthem at the NLBRA Finals, OSSAA State Basketball Championships, the Miss Rodeo America Pageant and many more. She looks forward to becoming a music teacher and coach after she graduates.
7:30 p.m. / Cheyenne Tribal Dancers, Watonga/El Reno
The Cheyenne Tribal Dancers are led by Eugene Blackbear, Cheyenne elder, who will serve as the emcee during the group’s performance. This group of men and women dancers will showcase their talents through traditional tribal dancing. Some of their dances include the Fancy Shawl Dance, Cheyenne War Dance, Jingle Dress Dance and Cloth Dress Dance.
8:10 p.m. / Kaitlyn Kilian, NW Oklahoma & Nashville
Kaitlyn Killian, who attended Northwestern, grew up in the northwest Oklahoma area and brings a fresh approach to today’s country music. As a third-generation farmer, Kilian can be found on her tractor working ground on her family farm when she isn’t on the road for her music career. In just one year of performing in the Oklahoma and Texas region, she’s already received opportunities to open for several artists. She prides herself on sharing real-life stories in modern country music. Her family’s long history of farming and ranching has developed a unique perspective and connection to the music that has shaped her life. Her musical influences include Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Reba, Lee Ann Womack, The Wreckers, The Chicks and The Steeldrivers.
9 p.m. / Knipple, 2 multi-instrumentalists, Tulsa
Knipple is JordanK and Knicholas, two weirdo multi-instrumentalists who usually play as the rhythm section for multiple Tulsa bands, but as Knipple they’re done hiding in the back. Who says bass and drums can’t be a band by themselves? Their instrumental blend of folky jazzy punky hip-hoppy improv-heavy music is sure to engage audiences from all walks of life.
During Friday’s Breaks to Setup Next Acts
Members of the K101 Honor Band will be on campus the same week as the festival rehearsing for their performances in Woodward’s annual 101 Classic Bowl and have been welcomed to play selections they have been preparing. The students will be able to play on the intramural field lawn while the next acts to perform are setting up.
Saturday, June 3 (inside Percefull Fieldhouse)
9 a.m. / Alva Nazarene Worship Band
AlvaNaz Worship is a team of seven regular members that play together every Sunday at the Alva Nazarene Church with a mix of contemporary worship, gospel music and hymns. All members are multi-talented musically, playing a variety of instruments, as well as supporting the team vocally.
The longest-running member of the team is Barbara Hiett, who started playing saxophone in the sixth grade, the organ in the 70’s and is a whiz at the Clavinova.
Tim Nelson is the resident bass guitarist. He has been the Safety Coordinator for the City of Alva for 30 years. He plays the trombone and has participated in community band, church worship and has served as a worship leader.
David Engle joined the team in 2019. He is a seasoned performer, playing in Alva and in northwest Oklahoma for many years. He is a phenomenal guitarist and also provides vocals for the group. He is a retired postman from Alva.
Skeeter Bird plays the trap set and other percussion instruments. He also played in the band in high school and college at NWOSU where he met his wife, Raye Lyn. He has been the CEO of the NWOSU Foundation since 2005.
The leader of the group is Raye Lyn Bird. She plays the keyboard and provides lead vocals. She began playing the piano at the age of 4 and continued through college at NWOSU. Performing in church since she was young, she also plays the flute and tenor sax. She is currently a teacher in Burlington where she also serves as accompanist for the music program.
Two NWOSU music students also play with the team during the school year. Chris Perez and John Snyder are both talented musicians, playing multiple instruments, as well as providing vocals.
9:30 a.m. / Standing Ovations Dance Troupe, Alva
Standing Ovations Dance Studio is run by Kim Foster and her daughter, Natasha Foster. The studio offers a variety of classes including tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, pointe and clogging. At Nescatunga, audience members will be able to watch dancers ages 2 through high school.
10:30 a.m. / Seedy Company, Waynoka
Seedy Company consists of the brother/sister, singer/songwriter duo of Robert Gaskill and Jordan Ross, who are originally from Waynoka. Their musical influences come from traditional and outlaw country artists like Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Emmylou Harris, and they have a love for storytelling ballads. Robert has been writing songs for a couple of years and has performed at songwriter showcases in Tulsa. He and Jordan, who works locally as a physical therapist, recently teamed up to sing covers of their musical influences. A third musician, Sage Cook, also from Waynoka, joins the pair occasionally for shows.
11:30 a.m. / Tristan & Angie Harzman, Alva
Angie (‘22) and Tristan (‘21) Harzman are both graduates of NWOSU. They met while taking music classes together, became friends and later began dating. They married in May 2022 and had son Omni in September 2022. They love doing just about everything together, but they especially love to write and record original music together.
Noon / Cairde Na Gael, 4-person band, Irish music, Tulsa
Cairde na Gael performs Irish traditional dance tunes, ballads and pub songs, combined with a bit of original music as well. With Kelly Lamb and Michael Roohan on vocals, Eric Ryan-Johnson on fiddle and bouzouki, and Gene Curtis on guitar and banjo, Cairde na Gael has been performing in Oklahoma for more than 20 years.
1 p.m. / Isi and Savelina Ofiu, Burlington
Father-daughter duo Isi and Savelina Ofiu will be performing together at Nescatunga again this year. Isi, originally from Anchorage, Alaska, graduated from Northwestern and was an active member in all university choirs, and Savelina is taught music by her father at Burlington Public Schools where Isi is the music and band teacher. Isi and his wife, Rickie, live in Burlington with their three children Becky, Savelina and Lisiate. Rickie also will have her food truck, “Rickie’s Sweets and Eats,” available at Nescatunga just south of Percefull Fieldhouse.
1:30 p.m. / Jameson Hale, Elk City, NWOSU student
Jameson Hale is a junior vocal music education major at NWOSU. His goal is to perform on a professional level after earning his degree. He also would like to travel the world and sing in a different country. He has been in the theatre productions of “Zombie Prom,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Back to the 80's,” and “The Music Man.” Hall’s musical influences include Kiss, Dokken, Eagles, Ed Sheeran and his vocal music professor Dr. Karsten Longhurst. Hall also was a member of the Air National Guard.
2 p.m. / Borderline Connection, NW OK & Kansas
Borderline Connection returns to entertain at the Festival again this year. John and LeCena McDowell join Dusty and Trish Brewer to share their love of Bluegrass and Gospel music. The instruments used in the band include guitar, fiddle, mandolin, autoharp and bass guitar. All the band members sing lead, harmony and trade off on different musical instruments. They came up with the name Borderline because the McDowell’s live on the family farm in Woods County, Oklahoma, close to the Kansas border, and the Brewers live just across the border in Garnett, Kansas.
3 p.m. / Nick and Cara Bradt, Alva
Nick and Cara Bradt began their relationship 19 years ago, playing tuba in the NWOSU Ranger Band. Presently, the couple works together at Alva High School where Nick teaches speech, theatre, and debate, and Cara is the librarian. When they aren’t at school they can be found with their two awesome kiddos, serving in their church, and making music for their enjoyment. Creating alternative arrangements of jazz, pop and country, the Bradt's music is best described as eclectic acoustic.
3:30 p.m. / Madison Hofen & Kalynnn Samples, Hopeton
Madison Hofen is a graduate of Northwestern with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance. During her time at NWOSU, she served as president of the choir program and drum major of the Ranger Marching Band. Madison currently serves as the Worship Leader at Hopeton Church and loves being a stay-at-home momma to her son, Ira. She is so excited for the opportunity to perform for the Nescatunga Arts Festival and make music with her long-time friend Isi Ofiu, and accompaniment by her step-brother Kalynn.
4 - 6 p.m. / BREAK
(outside on Intramural Field, south of Percefull Fieldhouse)
6 p.m. / Carly Tate, electric/acoustic guitar, Tulsa
Singer/songwriter and live musician Carly Tate plays electric and acoustic guitar. Her genre typically falls within pop-soul and the blues. She currently is attending the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma, where she is earning her degree in music production.
7 p.m. / Max Ridgway, David Engle & Robert Ford, Alva
Max Ridgway studied guitar with Jon Damian at Berklee College of Music, graduating in 1990, Summa Cum Laude. He holds a master’s degree in music education from NWOSU where he currently teaches as an adjunct instructor. He has recorded numerous albums of jazz and ambient music and is the author of several books on a variety of subjects. He performs frequently at a variety of venues as a jazz guitar soloist, with his band, the Max Ridgway Trio, and as a guest guitarist with David Engle and Robert Ford. See maxridgway.com for more information about his music and books.
David Engle plays guitar and was a music minor at NWOSU. He has recorded a few self-released albums with local musicians. Some of the noteworthy bands that David has been in or is a member of are Destiny, The Imposters, Mother Nature’s Eyeball and David Engle & Jeff McAlpin. These acts have opened for Dr. Hook, Lariat (Ricochet), Great Divide, Highway 101, Navel Felts & Michael Hearne. His main influences are The Beatles, Eric Clapton and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Currently, Engle mainly performs acoustically with help from Max Ridgway, Robert Ford and Jeff McAlpin. Through a twist of fate David, Robert and Max are the unofficial house band at Cafe Bahnhof in Waynoka. Find him at facebook.com/davidenglemusic.
Robert Ford is a self-taught drummer from Gage. He began seriously playing the drums at the age of 12. During high school he was in the Tri-State Honor Chorus for four years. He then studied at NWOSU in Alva for two years as a music major and finished there with a 3.95 GPA. He has been in many bands over the years in Oklahoma and Colorado as a drummer and backup harmony vocalist. He currently plays in the Country Justice Band as well as with David Engle, Max Ridgway and Jeff McAlpin.
8 p.m. / Peter Bedgood, standup comedian, Tulsa
Peter Bedgood is an Oklahoma-based artist, comedian, writer, actor and musician. He is the creator of the webcomic “HumanBeans,” which new illustrations can be found daily on Instagram or Facebook. He also may be seen on a recent episode of OETA’s Artist Gallery. His website is peterbedgood.com.
9 p.m. / Studio House Project, Tulsa
Studio House Project, a band led by Carter Combs - this year’s Nescatunga Arts Festival Entertainment chair - is an experimental indie rock band. The band came together for the first time in college in northeastern Oklahoma. In 2018, they were permitted to record their music in an empty house in Inola, Oklahoma. This was their studio house. Time passed, work was done, and their first project was released. Now more projects are being pursued, and more houses are being used as studios. Studio House Project likes to have fun on stage while executing their original songs to sound as tight as possible. The group is a unique mix of musicians with rock and jazz backgrounds, all of whom were friends before the band's inception in 2018. While being invested in the musical areas they are in, they are also very flexible with the wants and needs of venues and crowds. SHP is known to do stripped acoustic sets, too, if that's more appropriate for the venue.
Sunday, June 4 (inside Percefull Fieldhouse)
Noon / JoDe Bradt, Alva
A worshiper at heart, one of JoDe Bradt’s earliest memories is singing with her sisters at church when she was 6 years old. Harmonizing with her sisters as she grew into adulthood became some of her fondest memories. It was always the desire of her heart to be able to worship the Lord while playing the piano. In 2019, that desire became reality as she learned to chord on the keyboard with the help of the Holy Spirit. For a short time, she led worship in the church setting but more recently has led sets at women’s summits in Colorado and Ohio and always in her home. JoDe also is the director of the Wesley House, a campus ministry just off the campus of NWOSU. JoDe is married to Jerad. Together with their sons Braylon, Brickman, and Breaker, they own and operate Bradt’s Menagerie, a petting zoo three miles west of Alva. The Bradts will be bringing their portable petting zoo to the festival from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 3.
12:30 p.m. / Elzie B. Hickerson, Stillwell, OK
Elzie B. Hickerson is a retired teacher turned singer/songwriter who has found his voice in Americana music. He is performing in Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas solo and with other artists. His song "Blackjack Country" has been entered in the National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk contest. He has recorded with talented musicians from eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas, and his upcoming single, "Dreams," includes fiddle and dobro by Tim Crouch, who was featured on Alan Jackson’s “Bluegrass” studio album.
1 p.m. / Naicee Sutter Selected Students, Alva
Naicee Gugelmeyer Sutter, a Northwestern alumna who teaches sixth through 12th-grade music at the Alva Public Schools and also serves as the music director at the Alva First United Methodist Church, will perform with a few of her students at the festival. She is married to Matthew Sutter, and the couple has two daughters, Bonnie and Alice. Sutter is no stranger to the area of entertainment as she has performed at various functions in the area.
1:35 p.m. / Merritt Mantz & Madeline Ryerson, Alva
Merritt Mantz is the 13-year-old daughter of Tyler and Alex Mantz. She has performed in the Act 1 Theatre Productions of Annie, Mary Poppins Jr., and Guys and Dolls. She sings in the First United Methodist Church Choir and Alva Interfaith Choir. She has studied piano with Alyson Yoder and voice with Dr. Karsten Longhurst. She also performed in the Alva Middle School Show Choir, Electric Voices. She competes on the Academic Team and is a member of the Student Council and the Technical Student Association. She is on the cross country and track teams and the 4-H Livestock Judging Team.
Madeline Ryerson is the 15-year-old daughter of John and Amy Ryerson of Alva. She will be a sophomore at Alva High School in the fall where she is involved in Student Council, holds an officer position in Key Club and was the vice president of her freshman class. She’s also a member of the AHS Electric Gold show choir, a varsity cheerleader, and a member of the One Act cast and speech team. She has performed in several Act One Children’s Theatre productions as well. She enjoys playing piano and ukulele, reading, baking and traveling. She is a member of the First United Methodist Church where she participates in both the church choir and the Sherrill Bell Choir.
2 p.m. / Dave Austin & The Sudden Change, Inola, OK
Singer/songwriter Dave Austin has been playing and singing since he was 12 and began performing at 17. He has opened for many groups and has played since childhood with The Sudden Change, who provides an energetic and rowdy atmosphere at their live shows. Some call it Red Dirt Country, others say Southern Rock. With a stroke of punk and funk on a honkytonk canvas, their music is driven by Austin’s authentic writing and guitar from the virtuoso Derick Greene. Austin’s vocals have a raw, soulful nuance that can range from inspirational to gut-wrenching.