Terry Cook joining West Texas Walk of Fame

September 6, 2016

Terry Cook, internationally recognized opera star who was born and raised in Plainview, is part of the 2016 West Texas Walk of Fame class that will be inducted at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Centre Theatre, 1501 Mac Davis Lane, in Lubbock.

Others being honored this year are:

-- Ponty Bone, accordion player and bandleader who performed for seven years with The Joe Ely Band before forming The Squeezetones.

--Sonny West, West Texas singer-songwriter responsible for writing and co-writing “Oh Boy” for the late Buddy Holly and “Rave On” for the Flatlanders.

--The Flatlanders under its current composition of singer-songwriters and reading artists Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock. All three have already been inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame on an individual basis, Ely in 1989 and Gilmore and Hancock in 1998.

The public is invited to the West Texas Walk of Fame induction ceremony, but not the post-ceremony, invitation-only reception at LHUCA, 511 Ave. K, in Lubbock.

Cook has been recognized in a similar manner twice locally, with his own exhibit at Llano Estacado Museum as a member of the Hale County Hall of Fame and a tile in front of the Fair Theatre in downtown Plainview as a member of Plainview’s Walk of Fame. He also has a brick at Texas Tech University as one of its distinguished graduates.

When Cook was added to the Plainview Walk of Fame in 2006, the international star returned to the United States from Berlin, Germany, with a stop at the Lincoln Center in New York where he was beginning rehearsals for “Treemonisha,” a Scott Joplin opera.

The son of Charlie and Rushia Cook, Terry Cook graduated from Plainview High School and attended Texas Tech University, majoring in engineering, before receiving his degree from the Texas Tech School of Music.

In a 2006 article, he told the Herald, “My freshman year, I sang in the choir and took a class in opera. They put me in a show and once I was on the stage, I was hooked.” He credits that performance as the turning point in his college career.

“It was so much fun being on stage that I changed my major.”

From college, he sang with the Santa Fe Opera, then joined the Lyric Opera of Chicago School. In 1982, Metropolitan Opera Music Director James Levine invited Cook to join the Met’s Young Artists Development Program. Cook made his debut at the Met in 1983.

Since then, Cook as a bass-baritone has sung with most of the major opera companies around the world, including those in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, Paris, Berlin, London, Milan, Rome, Tokyo, Madrid and Cairo, and has been heard in dozens of productions at the Metropolitan Opera, including “Luisa Miller,” “La Fanciula del west,” “Il Trovatore,” “Un Ballo in Maschera,” “Aida,” “Simone Boccanegra,” “Salome,” “Tannhaeuser,” “Parsifal” and “Porgy and Bess.”

He performed at the White House for President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan.

In recent years, Cook has added the title of voice teacher to his resume.

In 2011, Cook returned home to headline the Plainview Symphony’s first concert of its 33rd season, “Journey to Imagination.” It was his first performance for the Plainview Symphony, although he earlier performed in concert at the Fair in connection with the dedication of his tile as part of the Plainview Walk of Fame.