The Norman Transcript

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November 4, 2012

Band performs for the love of music

NORMAN — “You are My Sunshine” is a musical favorite that always draws applause for members of the Golden Okies Band.

Band members Don and Alleen Chesser, Roy and Loretta Wilkerson and Nadine Followwill volunteer their time and talent to entertain at the Norman Veterans Center, churches and retirements homes.

Don Chesser is 84, a retired pastor who brings words of encouragement as well as music to people he meets. He said he remembers clearly the day that music came into his life to stay.

“My first love of music came the day I won a prize at Jefferson School when I was in the fourth grade,” he said. “I played the harmonica at the school talent show and I won first place. I played ‘Red Wing,’ and my prize was to play on WKY Radio in Oklahoma City with Dixie Boy Jordan.”

Jordan was one of the Wiggins Hollow folks at WKY Radio, and the opportunity for a nine-year-old boy to play with them was an amazing prize.

The day finally arrived, and the boy and his harmonica were ready to go to the radio station. Suddenly, everything changed when dark clouds began to form.

“My dad said I couldn’t go,” Don Chesser said, noting that the deep disappointment he felt decades ago is still a clear memory.

He said his dad had been through a tornado in Beaumont years before, and his house was blown off the foundation. The experience stayed with him, and he refused to give in to his young son’s pleas to go to Oklahoma City.

His music stayed with him, though he never became famous.

Alleen Chesser, 89, said she organized The Golden Okies many years ago, and she played off and on through the years. At times, some of the band members played with the Cleveland County Entertainers.

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