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The sound of music: Oklahoma City students, First Christian Church partner to refurbish run-down amphitheater

The old amphitheater at First Christian Church of Oklahoma City is being renovated through a partnership between the church and the Harding Fine Arts Academy.
by Carla Hinton Modified: May 30, 2014 at 2:49 pm •  Published: May 31, 2014


photo - ABOVE:  The Rev. John Malget, senior minister of First Christian Church of Oklahoma City, shows the original blueprints for the amphitheater built on the church’s grounds in the late 1940s.  Photo by Carla Hinton, The Oklahoman
ABOVE: The Rev. John Malget, senior minister of First Christian Church of Oklahoma City, shows the original blueprints for the amphitheater built on the church’s grounds in the late 1940s. Photo by Carla Hinton, The Oklahoman

The sound of music will be heard again at an old amphitheater that once held twilight concerts and outdoor worship services.

The amphitheater at First Christian Church of Oklahoma City will be the site of the new Hawkstock 2014 Music Festival set for June 28. The festival will feature performances by the Red Dirt Rangers, Broken Okies, OK Chorale and Annie Oakley, to name a few.

The Rev. John Malget, senior pastor, said the amphitheater has historic beginnings because it was the first structure built on First Christian’s property at NW 37 and Walker Avenue. The landmark church, with its familiar dome, recently celebrated its 125th anniversary.

The amphitheater had fallen into disrepair in recent years, but students and administrators from Harding Fine Arts Academy made church leaders an offer they couldn’t refuse, Malget said.

Sherry Rowan, the school’s principal, said the school agreed to provide the labor needed to renovate the amphitheater, and the church agreed to provide some funding for the project.

Rowan said administrators and students wanted to have a music festival to help raise funds for renovation projects at the school, 3333 N Shartel.

Rowan said student Tristan Todd initially had asked that his blues-rock band The Huemans be able to perform at the school as part of his senior capstone project. She said he wanted to raise money for the school at the same time, and she thought they could invite more people if they held the event at a larger venue.

First Christian Church, 3700 N Walker, is between the Edgemere Heights and Edgemere Park neighborhoods where Rowan lives, so she knew a lot about the old amphitheater. She said she thought it would be the perfect site for a family-friendly festival like Hawkstock (named after the school’s mascot, the fire hawk).

“It’s such a beautiful place, but too many people don’t know about it,” Rowan said during a recent weekend workday at the site.

Soon, that won’t be the case.

Amphitheater came first

Malget said the 3,500-seat outdoor amphitheater was constructed in 1947. The amphitheater’s seats are made of concrete with wooden backs. According to church history, the amphitheater was dedicated in August 1947, at a time when the congregation worshipped at First Christian’s building at NW 10 and Robinson Avenue. The morning worship services were held at the church, but evening worship services were in the amphitheater on the north part of the grounds of the church’s then new property.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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IF YOU GO

Hawkstock 2014 Music Festival

•When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 28.

•Where: First Christian Church-Oklahoma City amphitheater, 3700 N Walker.

•Cost: Donations accepted.

•Information: www.hawkstockfest.com.

•Help: To make a donation to the Harding Fine Arts Academy’s amphitheater project, call 702-4322 or Linda Lightner at 206-1253.

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