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Oklahoma City bridge named for local musician

Kenneth Kilgore
Kenneth Kilgore

Staff Report

A section of Interstate 44 in northeast Oklahoma City is soon to be named for a famous local musician.

Kenneth Kilgore, founding artistic director of the Ambassadors’ Concert Choir, will have his name on the I-44 bridge passing over Kelley Ave. Beginning July 1, the official name of the bridge will be the “Maestro Kenneth Kilgore Memorial Bridge.”

Kilgore, born in 1947 in Oklahoma City, gave his life to music. Before his passing in 2011, he forged a successful music career, receiving numerous awards both locally and nationally. Honors include induction to the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame; the State of Oklahoma Arts Award; Oklahoma Musician of the Year from the Oklahoma Federation of Music Club; Arts & Letters Conducting Award presented by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; and Excellence in Performance presented by Langston University.

The Minister of Music/Minister of Fine Arts for St. John Missionary Baptist Church from 1970-2011, Kilgore was a dynamic individual who took his musical styling around the country.

“Maestro Kilgore’s influence on the musical community in Oklahoma cannot be ignored,” said state Rep. Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City. “I am very proud of his accomplishments and what he did to influence the musical arts in this state. His career was long, successful and left a legacy behind. We miss him to this day, but with this naming we all will be able to see his name on the highway on a daily basis. This sign going up will keep his memory alive for generations to come.”

A graduate of Douglass High School, Kilgore earned his Bachelor’s degree from Bishop College in Dallas, Texas. He returned to Oklahoma and earned a Master of Education degree from Langston University and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from Oklahoma State University.

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