Community Educational Programming a Big Part of The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts’ Inaugural Season

First grader Joey Stover (Highland Park Elementary) and second grader Sydney Mayes (Richmond Elementary) make music on the marimba thanks to the OSU Percussion studio.

In a partnership with Stillwater Public Schools, The McKnight Center offers a myriad of educational opportunities for students

Media Release

The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts on Oklahoma State University’s campus has prioritized educational programming as part of its Inaugural Season. In a partnership with Stillwater Public Schools, the Center will provide various opportunities for local students to experience unique performances from some of the world’s most accomplished performers and gain a hands-on understanding of the performing arts industry.

“We are thrilled that students all across Stillwater have the opportunity to experience art and music with world-class musicians and performers,” said The McKnight Center’s Marilyn and Carl Thoma Executive Director Mark Blakeman. “Now students can listen, learn and participate in numerous enriching activities and gain once-in-a-lifetime experiences which will help the performing arts in our community flourish for years to come.”

Superintendent of Stillwater Public Schools, Dr. Marc Moore said the district’s administration and teachers appreciate being a part of a community that celebrates the arts.

“We have music and art education in every school in the district, and we’re very fortunate to have community partners such as The McKnight Center that value and support arts education,” said Moore. “This partnership allows our students access to world class performances. You can’t get that just anywhere.”

The McKnight Center is the result of a unified vision to create a new cultural epicenter in Stillwater. In 2016, Oklahoma State University alums Billie and Ross McKnight gave $25 million to establish an endowment which would support world-class programming and educational opportunities that would benefit not only the immediate community, but also the entire region.

A full list of the Stillwater Public Schools programming opportunities for The McKnight Center’s Inaugural Season are listed below.

Oct. 14, 2019 – New York Philharmonic: Brass Quintet

To wrap up New York Philharmonic’s residency in Stillwater the New York Philharmonic’s Brass Quintet, featuring principal musicians from the orchestra, created a Very Young People’s Concert experience for Stillwater Public Schools’ first and second grade students. Students from OSU’s Percussion Studio were also present to provide pre- and post-concert entertainment and give the elementary students hands-on experience playing instruments like the marimba.

Nov. 6, 2019 – Chamber Music Festival Experience

As a part of their residency at OSU, Anne-Marie McDermott, Edgar Meyer, Joshua Roman and the St. Lawrence String Quartet will share a performance experience with the sixth graders of Stillwater. These world-renowned artists will play a variety of chamber music pieces to inspire and intrigue their student listeners.

Nov. 22, 2019 – Cirque Mechanics: 42ft – A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels

Stillwater seventh and eighth graders can witness the grandeur that is Cirque Mechanics: 42ft. with an abbreviated performance that will highlight impactful moments of the show and remain true to the storyline. Following the performance, students will be privy to a Q & A session with the performing artists. The nature of Cirque Mechanics will put STEAM objectives into action right before the students’ eyes.

Feb. 5, 2020 – Carnegie Hall Link Up: The Orchestra Sings
Stillwater’s third, fourth and fifth graders will attend the culminating performance after preparing in their music classrooms for months in advance. Guided by the expertise of Stillwater Elementary music teachers, these students will learn to actively listen, sing, dance and play a repertoire of classic and new material. The McKnight Center will bring the skills of the Enid Symphony Orchestra to Stillwater to further enrich this integrated learning opportunity.

To learn more about The McKnight Center’s educational initiatives, visit

About the McKnight Center for the Performing Arts

The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts at Oklahoma State University is a world-class epicenter for the arts, attracting celebrated national and international programs featuring notable performing arts productions and artists. The McKnight Center is an expression of Oklahoma State University’s commitment to the arts to serve generations of students, performers and audience members alike. Visit for more information.

About Stillwater Public Schools

Stillwater Public Schools (SPS), located in Stillwater, Oklahoma has more than 6,000 students attending 10 individual campuses. SPS’s mission is to champion academic and personal growth for every student, while striving for excellence and shaping the future. Dr. Marc Moore serves as the district’s superintendent alongside a board of five individuals representing the various wards. For additional district information, please visit