Entertainment Archives - Texoma Connect

Choctaw Casino & Resort Virtual “Topping-Out” Ceremony

Choctaw Casino & Resort Topping Out Ceremony

Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant celebrated a “topping-out” ceremony today that represents a milestone in construction for the new Sky Tower and expansion project at its new resort property in Durant, Okla.

Construction of the expansion project is moving rapidly, with millions of dollars already invested in site preparation, concrete and steelwork.

“This is more than a building, it’s a commitment to a brighter future for the Choctaw people and the surrounding communities that we celebrated today,” states Chief Gary Batton. “We’re all incredibly proud of the work that has been done by the construction team and excited to continue creating jobs in our communities.”

Amid COVID-19 and social-distancing requirements, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma hosted a virtual topping-out event. The virtual celebration included congratulatory videos from partners including, the developer TynanGroup LLC, lead design-build team Tutor Perini Building and JCJ Architecture.

To watch the video of the virtual topping out use the following link:  https://youtu.be/tnNpLI6SNjk

Set to open in the spring of 2021, the 19-story  Choctaw Casino tower will feature 1,000 more luxury hotels rooms, an expanded gaming floor and new amenities such as a new pool, parking garage, retail space and entertainment and dining options. Once completed, more than 1,000 new, permanent jobs will be created.

Photo by: Christian Toews
Chief Gary Batton, Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr., James Dry, Choctaw Nation Council Member, Janie Dillard, Senior Executive Officer, and  Choctaw Casino leadership celebrate the topping out ceremony.

The last steel beam which reads, “Psalm 122:7 May there be peace within the walls, and prosperity inside your fortresses” was placed atop the future Sky Tower at Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant.

Photo renderings of the complete gaming facility are available by request.

About Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant   

Located an hour north of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex lies a AAA Four Diamond resort and entertainment destination, in southeastern Oklahoma. Choctaw Casino & Resort–Durant is a three-level convention/entertainment venue which offers more than 100,000 square feet of meeting and convention space and seating for more than 3,000 people. The resort’s amenities include the Oasis Pool – featuring four tropical pools with private cabanas – as well as the region’s premier entertainment complex, The District, where visitors can enjoy Tailgater’s Lounge, 20 bowling lanes, a 40-game arcade, and a state-of-the-art movie theater. The casino offers more than 4,100 slot machines, 60 table games, and a private poker lounge featuring 30 poker tables. In the spring of 2021, a major expansion effort will add the Sky Tower: 19 stories high featuring 1,000 new luxury hotel rooms, along with 3,400 additional slot machines and 34 tables in the new poker room, along with 40 table games, two new restaurants and movie theaters, and a three-acre swimming pool – making Choctaw Casino & Resort–Durant one of the largest gaming resorts in the world. For more information, visit choctawcasinos.com.  

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Austin College Presents “An Evening of Chamber Music and Jazz”

Austin College Orchestra Rehearsal

The instrumental ensembles of Austin College under the direction of Dr. Ricky Duhaime will present their annual spring concert, “An Evening of Chamber Music and Jazz,” on Monday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. in Wynne Chapel at Austin College. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Music Department at Austin College at 903.813.2251.

This spring’s concert will consist of a first half devoted to the Austin College Chamber Orchestra, performing an Overture by Jean Berger and a suite of Old Dances and Airs by Ottorino Respighi, orchestrated for winds and strings by Duhaime.

The Chamber Orchestra is comprised of Austin College students, joined this semester by community members Greg Hendrix, Linda Milbourn, Jane Klausen, and Cathy Richardson. Students with majors and minors from across the disciplines of the College are represented in the group, with varying professional goals and a continuing interest in music.

The second half of the concert will feature the Greater Texoma Jazz Ensemble, performing a variety of big band charts in both traditional and contemporary styles, with soloists drawn from the group.

The Greater Texoma Jazz Ensemble consists of students, faculty, and other adults from throughout the region, with performance venues this semester at the Durant and Bells school systems in addition to Austin College. The concert this semester will feature jazz soloists Xavier Shubert and Chris Dickson, alto saxophones; Joseph Gaitlin, baritone saxophone; Jesse Speer and Chris Gregg, trombones; John Vietta, trumpet; John McGinn, piano; David Moore, guitar; and Richard Burleson, drums.

Duhaime, the Mildred S. Mosher Professor of Music at Austin College, has been a member of its Department of Music faculty since 1978.

Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with 46 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. This year, the campus recognizes 100 years of co-education and has had several opportunities to recognize the history of women and accomplishments of current alumnae. Austin College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.

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Austin College Presents Lively Day of the Dead Production Día de Muertos

Dia de Muertos

Brilliant colors, vibrant dance, artful words, and a dose of humor will bring a de Muertos alive for one night at Austin College on Monday, November 5, at 5 p.m. as the Austin College Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies presents Day of the Dead – La Catrina Mexica y Nezahualcóyotl” in Hoxie Thompson Auditorium of Sherman Hall. The performance, presented mostly in Spanish with an English introduction, is very visual so can be enjoyed regardless of language, organizers explain. The event is free and open to the public; auditorium doors open at 4:30 p.m. Sherman Hall is located on Grand Avenue.

 Artists and actors Erik De Luna and Román Iván Gómez will bring to life the dance, poetry, philosophy, and rites of central Mexico one century before the arrival of the Spanish. This performance will feature a pre-Hispanic personification of death (la Catrina prehispánica) and the 15th-century poet king Nezahualcóyotl.

Erik De Luna is an amazing artist who not only has a keen original aesthetic but also a performers ability to sense an audience,” said Dr. Julie Hempel, director of the Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies. The show that he is bringing to Austin College is based on the theme he is presenting this year in Querétaro, Mexico. He is working with seasoned actor Román Iván Gómez who will portray the Pre-Hispanic poet Nezahualcóyotl. The performance will be mostly in Spanish, but it is also full of visuals, dance, and rituals, so it will be entertaining to a wide audience. It is a rare chance to see how ancient Mexicans celebrated Day of the Dead.

Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos, is a Latin American holiday of celebration and festival that honors the dead and the belief that on this day, the dead join the living in celebration.Though held a few days after the American Halloween, the holidays are not related, and Day of the Dead is not considered a scary or sad event. Skeletons and skulls that are the familiar symbols of the day are nearly always festively decorated and portrayed as enjoying life. 

Erik De Luna began his artistic career with a bachelors degree in graphic design. While studying at the Autonomous University of Querétaro in Mexico, he joined the university theater group Los Cómicos de la Legua.” Through acting, he discovered a passion for performance and costume design in addition to drawing and the visual arts. He has continued to write, direct, and perform shows at the university theater for the past 19 years, most notably shows centering on Day of the Dead. In 2003, Erik designed a lotería game featuring images to match the more than 50 names that Mexicans use to personify death.  Since then, he has portrayed the Catrina (a traditional death figure) and continued to draw, paint, and design costumes for more than 100 Catrinas. He has appeared on the cover of National Geographic Traveler as theCatrina Monarca” and as an invited artist during the premiere of the movie Coco in Morelia, Mexico. In the past two years, he has performed throughout Mexico and internationally in Shanghai, Madrid, and Vienna

Román Iván Gómez, an architect by training, has acted with Los Cómicos de la Legua” at the Autonomous University of Querétaro theater for almost 13 years. Most recently, he appeared in the all-male production of La Casa de Bernarda Alba. Other productions include: Bajo tierra, Salón Calavera, Milagritos a la orden, La tradicional pastorela navideña, Yerma, and Los gritos mudos de las voces muertas.These last three works are musicals directed by Maestro Alejandro Celia.

The Austin College Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies promotes collaborative learning between students of the college and faculty members, with special emphasis on the historical, cultural, social, economic, and political issues facing Texas and Mexico.

 Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change LivesAustin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.

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