Oklahoma’s Singing Ambassador Dr. Dale Smith has a special kinship with Will Rogers and the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore. His “Oklahoma’s Will” is on a CD now being offered in the Museum store. Dr. Smith was emcee for the Spring Break Mid-Afternoon Frolic and anounced release of the CD and presentation to the Museum at that event.
“Oklahoma Memorial Songs,” an album by the Singing Ambassador of Oklahoma Dr. Dale Smith, has been released and proceeds will go to the Will Rogers Memorial Museum.
“Oklahoma Memorial Songs” is a salute to Oklahoma; meaningful songs that offer inspiration,” said the executive producer of the album Oskar Kirby, president of Music Matters.
“Dr. Dale’s heart; his history with the Will Rogers Memorial Museum; his strong ties to his native state; it’s all in there: his singing, his songwriting, his storytelling. His moving lyrics tell the stories of the Murrah Building bombing, Oklahoma’s Diamond Jubilee, the Capitol Dome’s fundraiser, the official state waltz,” Kirby said.
“Dr. Smith’s CD is a great tribute to Oklahoma History and it’s fun to sing along,” said Tad Jones, Will Rogers Memorial Museum executive director.
Smith composed the music of all the songs and wrote the lyrics of five of them. In addition to the story each song tells, each one has its own history as well.
That is one of several reasons he elected to write the music for “High Flight,” the familiar aviation sonnet written by John Gillespie Magee Jr. Smith, a retired major in the United States Air Force, dedicated the song to all service men and women and those who fly including astronauts, Wiley Post and Will Rogers.
“Will Rogers made a difference in the world,” said Dr. Dale in the dedication on the album. The first song is “Oklahoma’s Will,” named the national celebration song for Rogers’ 100th birthday in 1979.
Likewise the album’s song “You’re Doin’ Fine, Oklahoma” was the celebration theme of Oklahoma’s Diamond Jubilee in 1982. With a nod to the land run, Dust Bowl, grain and oil and more, the song’s message is “…Land of mine, Oklahoma, you’re doin’ fine!”
The same year that Smith was named the Singing Ambassador of Oklahoma, his song “Oklahoma Wind” was declared the official state waltz. “Oklahoma wind waltz me back home again, back where a friend is a friend…,” he sings.
The state again tapped into Smith’s musical talent when his song “Raising Oklahoma” was declared the official fund-raising song of the Oklahoma Capitol Complex and Centennial Commemoration Commission. Successful, the dome was finished in 2002. Smith sings, “We’ll tell our story so that everyone can hear.”
Smith continues to tell his state’s story with the poignant, “April’s Child,” the song he wrote in remembrance of the children whose lives’ were taken in the Murrah Building bombing on April 19, 1995.
In an ironic coincidence Smith’s non-profit group for young performers American Kids Inc. (founded as Oklahoma Kids) was headquartered in the Oklahoma Civic Center just blocks away from the Murrah Building inside of which was America’s Kids Child Care Development Center.
“In the confusion we would get their phone calls,” Smith said. “It was heartbreaking.”
“We teach our kids to share their talent gifts for the benefit of others. Through the universal language of music we focused on providing entertainment at some of the feeding stations and gave away a specially designed April’s child t-shirt to rescue workers. It was a time of sorrow. We saw music bring some healing and relief,” said Smith, “April’s child, your song will still be sung by others who are young.”
The powerful “High Flight” finishes the album. “Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth…Put out my hand and touched the face of God.”
About Dr. Dale Smith
Dr. Dale Smith’s professional career has gone from serving in the United States Air Force to founding the nonprofit American Kids Inc., a big league of little entertainers. Smith served as a commissioned officer, personnel officer and special services, achieving the rank of major, before retiring after two years in the USAF and 22 years in USAF Reserve. Smith holds a doctorate in public school administration and vocal music and a masters in music education. He is a professional singer, songwriter, actor, public speaker, a human resources consultant and an avid golfer. He also serves as the official Singing Ambassador of Oklahoma and has written and produced many shows and musicals performed on stage in Branson, across the nation and in Mexico.
About American Kids Inc.
Founded by Dr. Dale Smith American Kids is a big league of little entertainers, fostering families with character, faith, confidence, loyalty, honesty, and responsibility by building activities through the performing arts. They share their talent gifts of singing, dancing and drama for the uplifting of others through entertaining performances and competition events focusing on developing new friendships, setting goals, and building a joyful life of contribution by bringing joy to others through performing arts. www.facebook.com/oklahoma.kids/