Students accepted to the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain near Altus, spend two weeks studying with award-winning faculty from across the United States.

Among the 2019 instructors were Dr. Robert Ward and Ben Long, both OSAI alumnus.

Ward serves as the director of choral activities at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan. He taught middle school and high school choir in North Texas. He became interested in emerging teaching philosophies and their potential impact in music. He has tried to bring the art of choral music and the art of classroom teaching into a singular focus.

Long is a San Francisco-based photographer, writer and teacher. A digital technician he is the author of over two dozen books on digital photography and digital video, he is also a contributing editor to “Macworld” magazine based in San Francisco, Calif.

Students attending OSAI did so on fully paid scholarships as they studied in their chosen field of visual, literary or performing arts. Students were selected to attend OSAI through competitive performances or examples of their chosen disciplines.

There were more than 1,000 students auditioning for just 270 spots. To attend OSAI the summer of 2020, applicants must be enrolled in an Oklahoma public school, private school, or home-school program and must be 15 years old by Sept. 1, 2020. Graduating seniors are eligible. For more information about OSAI, including audition schedule and discipline requirements, visit




Hanybyul Kang, 17-years-old, attended the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics has gone to the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute the past two years in the discipline of Orchestra where she played the violin. This is her second year to attend OSAI ands said it was a good place for her to build up her experience. She said she hopes to learn more about working as a team. “I love playing in an orchestra with others who also enjoy music.


Gabrielle Lee, 18, attended North High School and is attending Duke University this year. She has attended OSAI for four years. “I’ve always learned new things from OSAI and its people; whether it be about strengthening my musicality or developing my character as an individual. the arts institute has never failed to contribute to my growth in the long term,” Gabrielle said. “I would like to learn to express myself more courageously and to develop a deeper understanding of society and music.”


Leslie Madison, 17, attended Edmond Memorial High School and studied in the discipline of Chorus where she sang alto. This is her second time to attend OSAI. “I wanted to come back to OSAI to continue to learn more about myself and my discipline,” Leslie said. “I hope to learn more about how to apply emotion while also maintaining a technical accuracy!” She is a student attending Oklahoma City University at this time.


Edmond Memorial High School junior Patience Lightfoot, 16, attended OSAI in the discipline of Chorus singing alto. She said she hoped to experience music through a different perspective that will help her further her choral abilities. “Music has always been a constant representation of positivity and happiness for me,” Patience said. “I have been participating in choir since elementary school, learning as much about music and singing as possible. The opportunity to attend OSAI and capitalize on my musical experience has meant the world to me and has also changed my life.


Choosing the discipline of Drawing & Painting, 16-year-old Isabella Liu, a junior at Edmond Santa Fe High School, said she wanted to learn how to better her skills within her discipline. “Drawing has always been a part of my life, whether it be for recreation or for school assignments,” Isabella said. “Since I was in elementary school, I have enjoyed art, and this interest has continued until now. Thus, it was natural that I apply for the discipline Drawing and Painting at OSAI Quartz Mountain. Getting in was a huge opportunity that I am very grateful for.”


Attending OSAI for the second time, Edmond Santa Fe High School senior Lauren McKenna, 18, chose to study in the discipline of Chorus where she sang alto. “Quartz is an experience that helps focus your discipline and be integrated into an arts community,” Lauren said. “I hope to fine tune my craft while collaborating artistically with other campers. I am a lover of all things music. My current plan is to pursue a career in music production. I enjoy playing the piano and composition and vocal arts.”


Choosing the discipline of Photography, Edmond North High School graduate Karsten Moore, 18, is now in attendance at Oklahoma State University. “I have been doing photography for 2-3 years,” Karsten said. “My favorite things to photograph are portraits and fashion. I often intermix them. Photography is my creative outlet and I will never get bored of taking photos or the editing process. Photogrpahy is something I can do for the rest of my life.”


Keon Moradi,16, is a junior at Edmond North High School and chose the discipline of Orchestra playing the violin. “I wanted to lean more about my orchestral community and the violin,” Keon said. “I love orchestra and want to continue adding to my family of string players that I have met through the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain.”


Attending OSAI for the third time, Emma Mowry said, “OSAI is the most amazing experience.” Mowry, 17, graduated from Edmond Memorial High School. She attended OSAI in the discipline of Orchestra where she played the oboe and attended so she could learn more about playing the oboe. “Music is really the only thing I am good at,” Emma said. “It is also the only way I can really express myself, so being able to play for hours on end is amazing.”


A senior at Edmond Memorial High School, 17-year-old Alex Mullings attended OSAI in the discipline of Chorus where she sang soprano. “I’m excited to expand my understanding of different techniques and approaches to music,” Alex said. “Being around so many different musicians from every race, religion, sexuality and gender is truly inspiring and an absolutely perfect place to thrive and learn.” Alex added she started her first year in choir when she was in sixth grade. “I had just made the transition from being a goalie for competitive soccer to complete musical theater junkie. I didn’t think anything would come from the class. I looked at it as a class to keep my day busy. I didn’t take it seriously until my seventh grade year when I was accepted into COCDA, the regional honor choir for central Oklahoma. Hearling from different clinicians and spectators made me realize that there was so much more than just producing sound and singing as high or as low as you could possibly can, but it’s about the meaning. Every chord in the piano, every word, every harmony, every dynamic can change the entire color of a piece. It has taken me longtime to get to the place I am today, where I can just phrase a line of text without thinking , or being able to just roll Latin off my tongue. While I will always be a musical theater geek, choir has a very special place in my heart. It has given me more in my high school years than any participation award or A+ on paper. I am truly blessed to have this opportunity to expand my knowledge on my craft and become an artist in my own way.”


Deer Creek High School graduate Sam Nguyen, 18, attended OSAI for the third time in the discipline of Photography. “This is my favorite place on earth,” Sam said. “The energy here is insane. There is constant inspiration. I want to learn how to ge the best and most passionate artist I can be! I’m so passionate about photography. I love photography because it gives me a “pass” in life! I love being able to capture time and memories! Photography makes me feel like everything else is right.”


Lily Lee, Edmond North High School no bio

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