Contact: Mark Beutler (405) 232-7575
February 8, 2022
Oklahoma City Philharmonic Commemorates Black History Month, Celebrates Music of Whitney Houston
The Oklahoma City Philharmonic has designed a unique tapestry of work to commemorate Black History Month.
First, a collaboration with local hip-hop artist Jabee produced two powerful videos being released in February.
 “I want to connect with different audiences,” said Alexander Mickelthwate, Music Director for the OKCPHIL. “We want to be very ‘21st century,’ connecting the old with the new on every level. I have wanted to work with Jabee for several years, and it has finally happened. For me personally, it’s just artistic and creative and fun, connecting energies that were not there before.”
Mickelthwate says the fun part for him is coming together, creating unity.
“I hope our viewers come away from these videos being inspired,” he added. “And I hope they see the creativity right there in front of them, that we have crafted something very special.”
Each video has a different message; the first is simply titled “Hope” and the second, “Dreams.”
“It’s so important to get messages like ours out to diverse audiences,” Jabee said. “Music connects all people, and in some way, everyone has a connection to music. If we can diversify our palate, we open the door to understand people from different walks of life and music can be that bridge.”
Working with Mickelthwate and the OKCPHIL was an amazing experience, Jabee added.
“I just hope viewers understand the story,” he said. “I hope they understand the depth, sincerity and honesty in my words. I hope it can be a catalyst, and afterward someone is changed.”
Also being released during February is a powerful video by OKCPHIL trumpeter Jay Wilkinson, who composed music to the classic Langston Hughes poem, “In Time of Silver Rain” and is featured as the vocalist, along with his colleagues.
“I was taken with the power of Hughes’ words,” Wilkinson said. “I purchased a collection of his poems and ‘In Time of Silver Rain’ really stood out. Hughes simply conveyed a sense of love and appreciation for the beauty of life. He didn’t use dramatic words, it was just very simple. I think the video turned out quite well.”
Look for these videos on OKCPHIL’s YouTube channel and on Facebook and Instagram @okc_phil
As a final tribute to Black History Month, OKCPHIL presents the “Music of Whitney Houston”, February 25-26 at Civic Center Music Hall, as part of The Chickasaw Nation Pops Series. Houston left a mark on the world with her powerful voice and sensitive delivery, selling over 170 million albums worldwide. The performance will feature her biggest hits, including “Saving All My Love,” “How Will I Know,” and “I Will Always Love You.”
Broadway sensation Rashidra Scott along with a phenomenal band will join the OKCPHIL orchestra for an unforgettable evening. Tickets are available online at or by phone at 405-TICKETS (842-5387).