By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — The Oklahoma History Center will present Dave Wickerham as the featured organist for the July 2019 Kilgen Organ performance “Salute to America: on Monday, July 15. The concert will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Devon Great Hall, at the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive in Oklahoma City.
Wickerham’s “Salute to America” will be comprised of dozens of well-known compositions that are intended to pay tribute to the patriotic spirit of all Americans, as well as to honor those servicemen and servicewomen who have defended the freedom enjoyed in the United States.
Wickerham is recognized worldwide for his versatility on the theater organ and his popular recordings. Among the hundreds of venues where he performs and numerous dates that he books are various chapters of the American Theatre Organ Society, a society of like-minded and astute performers.
In April 1999, he was a feature artist in Melbourne, Australia, for the convention of the Theatre Organ Society of Australia, where he received rave reviews. He returned “down under” for six-week concert tours in Australia and New Zealand during the summers of 2003 and 2012, as well as October and November of 2015.
Wickerham was named the 2011 American Theater Organ Society’s “Organist of the Year.”
In an interview with Jack Moelmann at the Fox Theater, Dave recalled that he began playing the organ at the age of 4 years old. Soon playing gigs at a local pizza parlor, Wickerham said. “I actually don’t remember a time when I wasn’t playing. Lots of pizza and lots of requests.”
Regarding the future of organ concerts Dave said, “I think it’s really important these days, not just having young players and young technicians getting into organ building, …we can’t let it die. It’s a really a valuable part of America music history.
“From all my years of playing in pizza parlors, I watched from the 1970’s to the mid 2000’s the trends in requests. It’s important that you hit your young audience where they live, the things that they know.
“If you ever see a theater organ concert or show advertised you certainly need to experience it live,” Wickerham added. “Take advantage of it…go to it. I think you’re going to be pretty blown away, it’s something else.”
The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums.
Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the vast history of Oklahoma.
“Dave states, ‘It is my purpose and also my duty to utilize the gifts and talents that God has given me.’ “He blends his professed duty to God and his love for the United States into an incredibly stirring and patriotic performance,” said Steve Hawkins, Director of Marketing, Oklahoma History Center.
“Salute to America” tickets are $10 for Oklahoma Historical Society members and $20 for nonmembers,
Tickets may be reserved by calling 405-522-0765. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and seating is first-come, first-served. For more information about the Oklahoma History Society, visit www.okhistory.org.