The gleaming lobby of the Leadership Square office complex isn't the most obvious place one might expect to hear the popular standard “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” sung in four-part harmony.
On Thursday, though, about two dozen women from the OK City Chorus of Sweet Adelines crooned love songs ranging from the “Lion King” theme “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” to Shania Twain's “Any Man of Mine.” Many businessmen and women only paused briefly to listen, although free heart-shaped cookies and pink punch persuaded several to linger longer.
Other office workers took their lunch at silver tables and watched the singers, decked out in matching black pants and sparkly red jackets, perform a selection of romantic tunes.
While the Sweet Adelines' show had a Valentine's Day theme, such lunchtime performances have become everyday occurrences in downtown Oklahoma City thanks to Art Moves. The Arts Council of Oklahoma City initiative brings free live music, art demonstrations, theatrical performances and other art events to various downtown venues from noon to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday all year long.
“The more they can do to entertain people down here, the better it is for downtown,” said Steve Storff, who settled at a table with a sandwich and a couple of the complimentary cookies just as the chorus belted its big finish, a soaring rendition of Styx's “Come Sail Away.”
For Storff, who works at the Oklahoma County assessor's office, it was his second chance in a week to unexpectedly encounter an Art Moves performance. While venturing out for lunch the previous Friday, he caught a few minutes of classical guitarist Edgar Cruz's lunchtime concert at nearby Oklahoma Tower.
“Something different,” he said. “The more exposure we have to live art, the better off we'll be.”
Exposure to the arts
Art Moves furthers the Arts Council of OKC's mission of bringing together the arts and the community. Since the initiative launched in October 2011, more than 650 events have been staged, reaching about 50,000 people a year, said Art Moves Director Angela Hodgkinson.
“We have a schedule available for everyone if they want to follow us or come see us. But the nature of the program really is that we just sort of pop up and you don't really know that we're gonna be there. And we kind of like (it) that way. We surprise people,” she said.