The Norman Transcript

November 18, 2012

Norman Philharmonic looks to give back

By Hannah Cruz
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The Norman Philharmonic is providing food for both the soul and stomachs during its 3 p.m. Nov. 25 holiday concert.

Titled “A Simple Gift,” the concert is benefiting Food And Shelter, Inc. with the ultimate goal of raising sufficient funds to provide nearly 500 nights of shelter for those in need. Norman Phil Music and Artistic Director Richard Zielinski said the concert is a way to both celebrate and support the Norman community.

“I wanted to team up with someone in the community and I thought, ‘Thanksgiving — great time to be thankful for what we have but also give what we have,’” he said.

Though ticket sales will go towards the fundraiser, both money and food donations will also be accepted at the concert, held at McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church, 419 S. University Blvd. Tickets, $10, can be purchased by calling 405-321-3484 or at McFarlin 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to noon Friday or 8 a.m. to noon Sunday. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door on a first come, first served basis.

Food And Shelter Executive Director April Doshier said the Phil’s goal of raising $10,000 specifically for shelter will allow them to provide emergency shelter more liberally, while still maintaining funds for other needs.

And with Food And Shelter’s kitchen serving more than ever before — an average of 180-200 people a day — Doshier said every last donation, whether food or finances, is felt in a large way.

“Dr. Z has titled this concert, ‘A Simple Gift’ and I really believe that just a little bit of time, if everyone could give it, a little bit of resources, if everyone came together, could make a huge difference in the lives of the people in our community who are struggling everyday,” she said. “A simple gift can make a huge difference.”

The concert is featuring a wide variety of music, from classical to modern, and Zielinski said no matter a person’s preference, he hopes individuals walk away feeling enriched from the music.

“Well, I think it’s beautiful. To me it can be that simple,” he said, on the benefit of hearing live music. “Maybe for an hour and a half someone hears something beautiful, and their life is void of chaos or it can bring back a memory to them. If we do our music right and we do it in a sincere way, we should be able to connect with a person’s emotion and intellect.”

The concert opens with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, featuring flute, oboe, violin and trumpet, with University of Oklahoma faculty artists Beth Sievers as concertmaster, Karl Sievers on trumpet, Valerie Watts on flute, and Oklahoma City Philharmonic oboist Lisa Harvey-Reed.

Second on the program is Howard Hanson’s 1945 Serenade for Flute, Harp and Strings, Op. 35 with Watts on flute and Gaye LeBlanc on harp. Next, the Phil is performing Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring Suite from the original score. A projection of the famed 1944 ballet choreographed by Martha Graham, provided by the Martha Graham Foundation, will run alongside the piece.

Additional selections include Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music) and Charles Ives’ Symphony No. 3 “The Camp Meeting.”

The concert concludes with the Christmas hymn, “What Child is This,” as well as the winning presentation of the Phil’s Christmas Carol Competition.

The Rev. Linda Harker with McFarlin said the church is happy to host this community event along with Zielinski, who is also McFarlin’s director of music ministries.

“I think what it does is it unites the community and the work of God. And I think they will be able to be blessed by amazing incredible music and at the same time be able to help people. Which seems to be the heart of this community,” said Harker, of those in attendance. “It’s absolutely one of the most giving communities I’ve ever lived in. They care about each other.”

This concert is funded in part by the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma, the Norman Arts Council and the Norman Hotel Fund, McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church, the Kerr Foundation and the Ad Astra Foundation, Oklahoma City.

For more information on the Phil, visit For more information on Food and Shelter visit


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