Story and images provided by the Stillwater History Museum at the Sheerar
This July, the Cool Classics summer concert series will return to the Stillwater History Museum and Sheerar Cultural Center Auditorium, located at 7th and Duncan Street. In its 12th season, the series brings cool musical relief to the long summer months when Stillwater’s arts and culture scene is a little quieter. Concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. on July 6, 13, 20, and 27 and last approximately one hour. Admission is free, but seating is limited to the first 200 people. Concerts will be followed by a reception sponsored by local community groups including the Stillwater Art & Humanities Council on July 6, Daughters of the American Revolution on July 13, Payne County Historical Society on July 20, and the Sister City Council of Stillwater on July 27. The Stillwater History Museum at the Sheerar’s exhibit gallery will remain open to the public from 5:00-7:30 p.m. prior to each concert. As always museum admission is free to the public.
This year’s Cool Classics musical lineup includes Appassionata Viola & Harp Duo featuring Jeff Cowan on viola and Jill Wiebe on harp performing on July 6th. Established in 2010 by Tulsa Symphony Orchestra musicians Jeff Cowen and Jill Wiebe, the Appassionata Viola & Harp Duo has been featured in Tulsa People Magazine and in numerous concert series, including Evenings at Bernsen, the St. Cecilia concert series, and Tulsa’s SummerStage.
A new addition to the series is the OK Strings on July 13th. This group was put together by Kaleb Benda and is accompanied by Jose Batty, Cheyenne Rains, Scotty Scott, Ryan Kyker, and Maria Marcos. Benda is Assistant Conductor of the Enid Symphony Orchestra, and a second-year Masters Conducting Associate at Oklahoma City University. Batty served as concertmaster, co-concertmaster, and principal second violin for the University of Central Oklahoma’s Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra, Edmond Summerstock pit orchestra, Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony pit orchestra, and Southwestern College Summer Music Festival Orchestra. Rains is the cello instructor at El Sistema Oklahoma, and performs with the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. Scott has performed in various ensembles throughout Oklahoma, and is currently the principal viola of Painted Sky Opera, principal of Church of the Servant Orchestra, and principal of the OCY Symphony Orchestra. Kyker is a senior at the University of Central Oklahoma and serves as principal second for the UCO Symphony Orchestra. Marcos is currently the concertmaster for UCO’s chamber and symphony orchestras.
Due to unforeseen circumstances the July 20 concert performance group will be announced at a later date. (Update: Perry Gethner will perform World War I Music. More information will be added as soon as it is available.)
Trio Aleszky will close the series on July 27. Trio Aleszky includes: Allyson Eskitch on piano, Paulo Eskitch on violin, Krassi Figg on cello, and guest artist Jeff Cowen on viola. The ensemble is comprised of renowned music teachers and professional musicians. Allyson Eskitch has participated in chamber music festivals and as a soloist and collaborative artist all over the United States. Paulo Eskitch has been Associate Concertmaster of the Signature Symphony at TCC since 2004, and performs with many local and regional orchestras including the Tulsa Symphony, Tulsa Opera, Orchestra, and SONA. Krassimira Vassileva Figg is an internationally award-winning cellist, and her dynamic performances have been featured on radio and television broadcasts throughout Bulgaria, France, Italy, and the United States. She is the Assistant Principal cellist of the Tulsa Opera, a member of the Tulsa Symphony, and founding member of Tulsa Camerata.
Originally organized by the St. Cecilia Music Club, Mahlon Halleck, a local strings instructor, founded the Cool Classics series in 2007. The Stillwater History Museum at the Sheerar took over hosting this concerts in 2012. The 12th season of the “Cool Classics” summer concert series is supported in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council, which receives support from the State of Oklahoma and the National Endowment for the Arts.