Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute welcomes small town kids with big dreams

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QUARTZ MT. STATE PARK, OKLAHOMA -- Many voices produce a much greater breadth of sound, different notes, richer music.

Joshua Brown sings in the Idabel, Oklahoma high school choir, but he didn't know what was possible until he came here to the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute to sing with people just as talented as he is.

"It's so amazing here," he says. "There are so many people who share your passion."

Blake Simpson grew up in Kellyville, Oklahoma.

He moved to Sapulpa for high school but still exhausted all the theater classes there.

He submitted a blind audition for the Arts Institute and was one of 16 young actors accepted.

Blake exclaims, "It's just, art you know? It's amazing. This place is great."

There are close to 275 high school age students from across the state at Quartz Mountain State Park for 2 weeks in June.

Three times that many apply.

These are the best, and many of them come with no pre-conceived ideas, without any idea of what they'll experience.

Institute President Julie Cohen loves watching them grow.

"You can see it in their faces," she says. "They're much more confident about their interest in the arts and just as high school students too."

This year's orchestra conductor Timothy Long came from Holdenville for the first time in 1983.

More than three decades later, that leap from small town kid to Quartz Mountain and beyond still holds its record mark in his life.

He states, "I can say, now that I'm 48, 1983 was my favorite summer."

From one set of possibilities to a whole world of them all in two magical weeks.

The Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute ends June 25th and 26th with a series of shows and concerts.

For more information go to http://www.oaiquartz.org

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