Diana Ross to sing at Speaker's Ball
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Sunday, January 13, 2013
1/13/13 at 7:42 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - The sold-out Speaker's Ball on Feb. 1 will feature legendary singer and actress Diana Ross.
The black-tie event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Norman.
The location will hold 1,120 people, said Marian Free, Oklahoma Speaker's Ball Inc. executive director. Tickets were $150, she said.
Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, is Oklahoma's first black House speaker. He is also an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation. He was sworn in on Tuesday during organizational day.
The Speaker's Ball will benefit the 111Project. The organization, launched in 2011, recruits foster families across the state.
"There is nothing more important than investing in young people," said Shannon, a father of two.
The purpose of the group is to ensure no Oklahoma child goes without a family, said Ben Nockels, 111Project executive director.
"Money raised will go directly to more effectively recruiting, training and supporting new foster families from the faith community," Nockels said.
Former Gov. Frank Keating and his wife, Cathy, will emcee the event, Free said. Keating, a Republican, served as governor from 1995 until 2003.
Gov. Mary Fallin and her husband, Wade Christensen, the state's first "First Gentleman," are expected to attend.
Miss America 2007, Lauren Nelson, will sing the National Anthem, Free said. Nelson is from Lawton.
Shannon will be introduced by four of his personal mentors, she said. They are Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, businessman Russell M. Perry and former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts.
The event will also include video remarks from all of the state's living former speakers of the Oklahoma House, including Rex Privett, who founded the ball, Free said.
Privett served as House speaker from 1967 until 1973.
Ross rose to fame in the 1960s as a founding member and lead singer of The Supremes. The Motown group had numerous hit singles, including "Where Did Our Love Go," "Baby Love" and "Stop in the Name of Love."
After going solo, Ross continued her success, with hits like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." She is currently on tour and will perform at the WinStar Casino in Thackerville on Feb. 2 and at the Hardrock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on Feb. 5.
Shannon said that he wanted the entertainment to be significant and something that people will remember.
"It is really about the optimism that exists in the state of Oklahoma and this lady is a legend in the music world," Shannon said. "I think it will be representative of a great start to the legislative session."
Those who attend the event go to several events a year, but the ball represents the one event focused on the legislative session, Shannon said.
"There has been so much success in Oklahoma, so much prosperity," Shannon said. "We wanted an event that would reflect that. I think this is a great way to do it. Again, it is about the charity we will be donating to but it is also about looking forward to the future for the state of Oklahoma and there is a lot of optimism out there and a lot of opportunity."
Original Print Headline: Ross to sing at Speaker's Ball
Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465