When I was growing up I never had much exposure to classical music and now I appreciate the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful festival in my backyard.
Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale
Welcome back. The date was January 15, 1897 when Bartlesville Indian Territory was incorporated with a population of just 200 folks. Just 87 years later Washington Park Mall opened and according to the Bartlesville Centennial Magazine the population of the city had already grown to 40,000. 1984 was also the year that the George Miksch Sutton opened in Bartlesville and that T. Boone Pickens tried unsuccessfully to take over Phillips Petroleum Company.
The mid’ 80s were a prosperous time here but there were both highs and lows for the community. One of the highs was in June 1985 when the OK Mozart Festival had its first season in Bartlesville. The first year was considered a great success and the festival offered three concerts! Twenty-eight years later the festival has grown to include 150 individual shows featuring performers from around the world. One of those performers is Principal Cello Roger Shell who was in the orchestra that first year and will be back again this year. There are plenty of other returning musicians including violinist Louise Owen who says she brags about Dink’s barbeque to all her friends in New York and trombonist Richard Clark who has said that he would come back to Bartlesville every year just to be able to go to Woolaroc.
Another man who all of you will get to know this year is the festival’s new artistic director, Constantine Kitsopoulos. Kitsopoulos is in demand as a conductor from New York to Hong Kong. I recently met him at the mountain retreat of OK mozart’s treasurer, Roger Box. According to what he told me his experience ranges from leading classical orchestras to conducting operas and musicals such as A Catered Affair, Dracula and a recent Broadway revival of Porgy and Bess. Now once again Bartlesville is in the enviable position of having a world class talent in our midst. This fellow along with the orchestra is a must see act and the shows run June 9th-June 15th. Ticket sales are going well so I wouldn’t wait long to get my tickets.
With that said here’s this week’s scoop: I predict that Hot Club of Cow Town and a special presentation of the Wizard of Oz with the Amici Orchestra playing the music are both going to sell out so be sure to buy those tickets soon. Of course the big outdoor concert at Woolaroc featuring Hollywood movie music is also sure to be packed. Throughout the week of the festival there will be many free gigs around town which will keep things hopping. One more scoop about the festival: Elder Care will be hosting a free concert this Thursday afternoon with a string quartet from the Amici Orchestra. For more information about that concert call (918) 336-8500. For tickets and more information about other OK Mozart shows call (918) 336-9800 or just go by the festival office at 415 S. Dewey.
Before leaving I want to remind you that SUNFEST, which some consider to be Oklahoma’s largest outdoor party, is coming up on May 31st so for the next few weeks it will be party time in Bartlesville.
Till next week I’ll see ya down the road……