Story and photos provided by Sheerar Museum of Stillwater History
This July the Cool Classics Summer Concert Series will return to the Sheerar Cultural Center Auditorium located at 7th and Duncan Street in Stillwater. The tenth season of this summer tradition brings cool musical relief to the long summer months when Stillwater’s arts and culture scene is just a little quieter. All concerts within the series take place at 7:30 p.m. on July 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th. Each concert is approximately one hour in length, seating is limited to the first 200 people in attendance. A reception immediately following each performance will be provided by the Sheerar Museum of Stillwater History’s Board of Trustees and four local community organizations including Oscher Lifelong Learning Institute, Daughters of the American Revolution, Payne County Historical Society, and the League of Women Voters. The tenth 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.
For the past nine years, the Cool Classics concert series has provided concerts to the community of Stillwater. The Cool Classics occurs at a time when there is a “cultural drought” in the community. Stillwater, known as a college town, has few cultural opportunities during the summer months. Recognizing this, the Sheerar Museum of Stillwater History began hosting this concert series. Members of the St. Cecilia Music Club organized the concerts. In 2012, the Sheerar Museum took over the production of the concert series in addition to hosting the concerts in its 200 seat auditorium.
The artists scheduled for the series include: Appassionata Viola & Harp Duo, Arabesque, Grice Duo with Mahlon Halleck accompanying them, and Trio Aleszky.
Appassionata Viola & Harp Duo are made up of Jeff Cowen and Jill Wiebe. Jeff Cowen has been performing professionally for the past 30 years. He currently serves as a principal violinist in the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Tulsa Opera and Tulsa Ballet. Harpist Jill Wiebe has enjoyed a freelance career that has taken her around the world. She currently performs with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Tulsa Opera and Tulsa Ballet.
Arabesque is a Norman-based duo, who combine music from Eastern cultures and Western cultures and accompany their performance with history and story-telling. Miranda Arana and Steve Vanlandingham play Celtic, Middle-Eastern, American Folk and original tunes. Miranda Arana teaches World Music at the University of Oklahoma and has explored numerous world genres. She plays flute and whistle. Steve performs on guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, banjo, oud, and wooden slit drum. While Arabesque is new to the Cool Classics Summer Concert Series, they are not new to the Sheerar Cultural Center auditorium, as they performed for a special event in April of 2009 and pronounced the venue one of their favorites.
Grice Duo consists of a brother and sister who are talented students of local music teacher Mahlon Halleck, who was instrumental in St. Cecilia Music club’s founding of the series. Halleck will join his students in performing.
Trio Aleszky has performed at every Cool Classics Concert series since its inception. Paulo Eskitch, violin, is a graduate of the University of Kansas. Paulo currently performs with the Signature Symphony at TCC, the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, and Trio Tulsa. Allyson Eskitch, piano, also graduated from the University of Kansas, and then continued with a MM in piano performance from the Peabody Institute. Currently Ms. Eskitch resides in Tulsa, OK where teaches piano at the University of Tulsa and Barthelmes Conservatory. Lou Lynch, cello, graduated from the Cincinnati Conservatory and obtained a MM from the Missouri Conservatory in Kansas City. He continues to perform with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.
This concert series seeks to fill a cultural void that exists during Stillwater’s summers. The concerts provide a fun, educational experience that is open to everyone. Over the past ten years, over 6,000 people have enjoyed the many Cool Classics concerts.
The Cool Classics Summer Concert Series is made possible by donations from citizens like you. For more information, contact the Sheerar Museum of Stillwater History at 7th and Duncan Street or call 405-377-0359. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday 11am-5pm and Weekends 1-4pm. The Museum is closed on Mondays and holidays. Admission is free and donations are gratefully accepted.
The Oklahoma Arts Council is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts. The agency’s mission is to lead in the advancement of Oklahoma’s thriving arts industry. The Oklahoma Arts Council provides approximately 500 grants to almost 250 organizations in communities statewide each year, organizes professional development opportunities for the state’s arts and cultural industry, and manages hundreds of works of art in the public spaces of the state Capitol. Additional information is available at arts.ok.gov