More than 10 years ago, a group of musicians decided that Enid needed its own open mic night. So, they worked with community leaders and Gaslight Theatre to provide the first rendition of Turpin Tunes, an acoustic small stage environment for local artists to play a few songs and — for some — learn how to be on stage.

I’m married to a hobby musician. He’s a longtime guitar player who spent many early years as a teenager and young adult taking his guitar into bars and such and playing for beers and dollars. He’s played in a few bands over the years. He honed his guitar skills early on by setting aside any insecurities he had by just getting on stage and playing.

When Turpin Tunes started, he joined in a few times playing a few sets. I joined in as well to sing a few songs. Our son, a teenager at the time who was just developing his own passion for the guitar, also played on stage a few times there. Other musicians, who may have been shy about their abilities, also gathered their nerve to go on stage and play in the small venue.

Fast forward to 2022, and some of those original Turpin Tunes players are professionals now. Some of those early-day musicians went on to make a few bucks — and fans — playing in various venues around town.

Turpin Tunes of yesterday was discontinued for a few years. However, when a group of folks decided it was time to recast Turpin Tunes as Third Thursday, my husband and I enthusiastically agreed to be one of the first “acts” to play in the revived venture. In May, we were joined by many of today’s up and coming Enid musicians and also some veterans, such as Stacey Sanders.

We had a blast, and the audience seemed to sincerely appreciate the nearly two hours of music they got to experience from local musicians.

Turpin Tunes Third Thursday will hold its third performance this Thursday, July 21, at 7:30 p.m. The first May event featured 4-5 acts to kick things off, the second one featured “under age 25” acts, and this month features some new and well-known folks who will play a variety of music. I’ve attended the first two performances, and I have enjoyed each of the artists.

The special thing about Turpin Tunes is that every act will be appreciated by the audience. Every act who goes on stage will have an opportunity to improve their music, their stage presentation, and every act will be applauded for getting up on stage and doing it.

Turpin Tunes is Enid’s safe space for local musical talent to create something special and to get better and better.

Turpin Tunes Third Thursday is set to run through August; however, if there is enough interest, it may be continued further. I certainly hope so, I can envision a summer Turpin Tunes going into fall, taking the holidays off, then coming back in winter when we all need to get out of the house. Maybe it will take a couple-month hiatus and return in the summer, or maybe continue all year long. Who knows?

There certainly is enough talent and audience appreciation in Enid to keep it going.

Article by: Cindy Allen, Enid News & Eagle 7.20.22

Photo by: Billy Hefton