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Musical fellowship

‘Leftover Last Waltz’ gives thanks to the power of creativity

Matthew Schultz brings a cherished old family tradition to the Cain’s Ballroom Photo by Greg Bollinger

Matthew Schultz is an attorney by trade. He’s a music lover at heart.

Schultz grew up in the kind of family that valued the appreciation of music, and one of the family’s most cherished traditions was gathering around the television on or around Thanksgiving to watch a beat-up old VHS tape of Martin Scorsese’s concert film, “The Last Waltz,” celebrating the music of The Band.

For years Schultz kicked around the idea of reviving his family’s tradition with his Tulsa friends, but the logistics never quite worked out. With the holidays, all the family obligations, no one could ever commit. Except for one old friend, one who could help revive it on a grander scale than Schultz ever dreamed—Hunter Rodgers, whose family owns and operates the legendary Cain’s Ballroom.

With Rodgers’ help, Schultz will share his family’s Thanksgiving tradition with Tulsa on Nov. 30—with live music, a full Thanksgiving feast, collaborative art projects and, of course, a screening of “The Last Waltz.” 

The Tulsa Voice: What is it about ‘The Last Waltz’ that speaks to you?

Matthew Schlutz: The snapshot in time that Scorsese captures is incredible. And the way he shoots it, you actually see the emotion of the song and the artist, not just the crowd or the lights. Those things were minimal; the focus was on the artists.

Clapton, Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison—it’s crazy that all these guys got together for free, and just said, “We love The Band. Let’s do it.” 

TTV: Is this a one-time thing?

MS: Hunter and I want it to be an annual event. Eventually we want to make this into a celebration of music similar to what “The Last Waltz” was. It doesn’t have to imitate it, but to have the same idea, the same spirit—coming together to celebrate music, to celebrate artists, to celebrate Tulsa. And also to benefit this great organization that is promoting all those things for a new generation. 

TTV: And that organization is the Woody Guthrie Center. 

MS: Yes. When I was thinking of what organization we might help with this event, the Woody Guthrie Center stood out immediately, because they put on these amazing programs for less fortunate youth, and the youth of Tulsa in general. The center inspires creativity. It inspires kids to find their own voices.

Cody Brewer, Paul Benjaman, Wink Burcham—these local artists come in and teach the kids about music, how to write songs. They teach them to write from experience. Write what you see. Write what you feel. Much like Woody Guthrie did.

And these programs— they’re not completely funded by Kaiser and all these folks who actually built the museum and sustain the museum. It’s basically people getting fundraisers together, people donating, that keep those sorts of programs running.

I think it’s going to be a unique experience. I’ve been to fundraisers all over Tulsa, and sometimes they can be—for lack of a better term—stuffy. I want to create a cool experience for people to be able to raise money for a good cause, but not feel like they’re schmoozing. I want people to party.

The Leftover Last Waltz  // 6 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 30  //  Cain’s Ballroom, 423 N. Main Street
Live music from Bandelier and Cody Brewer • A Thanksgiving feast • A collaborative art project conceived by artist Sarah Grigsby • A backstage photo booth experience • “The Last Waltz” projected on a giant screen on the Cain’s stage, turned up loud (as directed by the opening title card) Tickets are $25 in advance. All proceeds benefit the Woody Guthrie Center and its youth music education initiatives.

Leftover Last Waltz after-party // Fassler Hall, 304 S. Elgin Ave.
Paul Benjaman will gather some of Tulsa’s finest for a ‘Last Waltz’-inspired super-jam, with proceeds from the after-party also benefiting the Woody Guthrie Center. 

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