by PAMELA GANDY/Editorial Assistant
South Plains College alumni inducted into West Texas Walk of Fame.
The West Texas area is home to many talented artists, and South Plains College has a fair share of talented alumni. Natalie Maines, lead singer of the Dixie Chicks and a former SPC student, was inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame on Aug. 17 for her contributions to the music industry. Maines was inducted alongside actress and longtime family friend, Jo Harvey Allen.
The ceremony was held in the Lubbock High School auditorium. There were many guests present. Both inductees had a large number of family and friends sitting near the stage for support. Many other West Texas artists were among the audience members, including Mac Davis and Joe Ely.
Maines was introduced by Terry Allen, who was inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame in 1997. Allen had worked with Lloyd, Natalie’s father, on a Maines Brothers album and met Natalie when she was 4 years old. Allen recounted many of the memories he had of Natalie as a young girl and as an aspiring musician.
“Natalie grew up singing in the choir,” Allen said, “which she says instilled the deep love for voices, singing and harmony which she has to this day.”Allen also shared one of his favorite memories of Natalie, when Natalie and her family had come to visit the Allens at their home in New Mexico.
“One evening, we were all sitting around outside,” Allen recalled. “Someone asked Natalie to sing a song for us. And Natalie, always the absolute opposite of shy, sat up on our wall that night, and sang, acapella, the most stunning version of ‘Panic Beach’ I ever heard. She was barely 12 years old, and it wasn’t hard to imagine where that confidence and voice would take her.”
After being introduced, Maines spoke about many of the memories she had in Lubbock. She mentioned some of her favorite teachers from her childhood and some of her favorite things about Lubbock.
“I love Lubbock,” Maines said. “I loved Lubbock growing up. I never quite fit in, but I kind of like that. I think I used it for my benefit.”
Maines mentioned many times that her family was the most important thing to her, and that her family was essential to her musical interests and her career.
“The Maines family is the best family in the world,” she said.
After Maines spoke, the plaque that will be displayed in the walk of fame was unveiled. To conclude the ceremony, Maines and her father sang “Wide Open Spaces”.
Maines began her education at SPC in the fall of 1993, majoring in commercial music. After three semesters at SPC she transferred to the Berklee College of Music. She went to school there until joining the all female band, The Dixie Chicks in 1995.
Cary Banks, assistant professor of commercial music, has been close to Maines since she was a young girl. Banks was a member of “The Maines Brothers Band” with Natalie’s father, Lloyd Maines, and two of her uncles. Banks also taught Maines when she was a student at SPC in the creative arts department.
“She mostly did rock and R&B,” Banks said of Maines experience at SPC .“She mostly did rock ensembles and R&B. She was in one country ensemble, the country jukebox ensemble. She sort of prided herself on being sort of an outsider.”
“One of the main things that she learned while she was at South Plains College,” said Banks, “was really, how to get up on that stage and really take charge of the stage. Take charge of the band, lead the band and really project the energy of the band to the audience.”
Banks also shared that SPC was where Maines had “her first real success of becoming what they call a front man, a lead singer.” Banks said that the musical individuality and the skills she learned about being a lead singer, “definitely helped her as she became a member of ‘The Dixie Chicks’ and went on to the worldwide stage.