By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The Oklahoma City Orchestra League, Inc., (OCOL) is getting ready for the 2014 Symphony Show House: A View To A Thrill, at the Founders Tower. The 18th floor Penthouse, at 5900 Mosteller Dr., will offer public viewings beginning May 3 through May 18.
Tickets will go on sale in March 2014. All proceeds support the music education programs of the Oklahoma City Orchestra League and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.
More than 40,000 people of all ages participate in music programs from the annual Youth Concerts for schoolchildren to the Society of Strings for adult beginner string players.
On Saturday, Feb. 8, the project will kickoff with the Skyball Gala. Organized by gala co-chairwomen Sherry Crosthwait and Laurie Barbour, SkyBall offers a preview evening of music, food and cocktails in the penthouse at Founders Tower. Tickets are $175 each. Sponsor tickets with added benefits start at $250.
In its 41st year, the annual Symphony Show House brings Oklahoma’s top designers together to present the best of interior design.
Offering a 360-degree view of Oklahoma City and nearly 7,000 square feet of living space, the penthouse features cantilever balconies located at the vertices of each of the building’s ten faces.
“Founders Tower has a special place in the memories of so many Oklahomans,” said Debbie Minter, OCOL president. “This event will give everyone a chance to view it at its most elegant.”
2014 Symphony Show House co-chairs Rhonda White and Pandy Pinazza have recruited the Show House Committee and are selecting the design team.
They are also seeking corporate and private sponsorships. They are making plans for the special events, a boutique and a café to enhance the public tours.
Citizens Bankshares president Paul Cornell said, “We’re honored that our penthouse has been chosen as the 2014 Symphony Show House and we’re very excited to open our doors to the community for this event.”
Cornell is a member of the investment group that enabled the Tower’s return to prominence as a residential community.
The real estate development division of United Founders Life Insurance Corporation designed the twenty-story “Googie” style structure, characterized by abstract, geometric forms. Built in 1962-63, the structure was originally known as United Founders Life Tower and opened as an office building in 1965.
It was the second building in the United States to feature a revolving restaurant on the top floor.
The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013 and is now being redeveloped as upscale residences. The top floor, which no longer revolves, is home to The George Prime Steakhouse, owned by Kevin George with Executive Chef, Josh Valentine.
The Symphony Show House began in 1974 and has been an annual fundraising event for the OCOL. It has earned nearly $5 million in support of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and a variety of music education programs for all ages.
OCOL education programs include: We’ve Got Rhythm, an in-school introduction to music serving 65 metro schools; Musical Stories, a cross-genre exploration of line and rhythm in art and music for 3rd to 5th grade students; and Concert Previews, where experts in a variety of fields present pre-concert talks at the OKC Philharmonic Classics concerts.
Minter said, “Founded in 1948, the organization continues to have a passion for the ongoing support of orchestral music and music education. Every member is vital to strengthening the League’s presence within our community.
“Without this support and volunteer participation, the League could not fulfill its mission, which in part is to conduct educational activities and provide financial support for the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.”
Private events can be booked in the fully decorated space starting April 28 to May 2.
For more information, visit okcorchestraleague.com.