For Ada High School students, Aubrey Halford and Madysson Morris, it was a journey that began last winter. They applied and auditioned for the prestigious Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain (OSAI), held June 9–24.

Over 1,300 students auditioned for just 271 spots, and Halford and Morris were selected to attend the program. 

The Ada students are being taught by nationally renowned artists, including Grammy-nominated musician Don Byron. In conjunction with acceptance, the students received full scholarships to the program, worth over $2,500 each.

“I feel so privileged to be able to attend OSAI for my third year,” said Halford, a chorus student. “My time at Quartz Mountain has helped me grow as a musician and as a vocalist.”

At OSAI, Oklahoma high school students spend at least six hours a day studying one of nine artistic disciplines in the literary, visual and performing arts. In the evenings, they attend a variety of performances, lectures and demonstrations in order to learn about arts other than their chosen discipline. 

Students from different disciplines, towns and backgrounds study, reside and eat meals together. With so many highly motivated and talented students working together in close quarters, lifelong friendships and career-enhancing collaborations often develop.

“OSAI has also helped me realize my interests in other areas, such as photography and creative writing,” said Halford. “I wouldn’t miss this opportunity for the world … I know I will take this experience with me throughout my life, and I will never forget it.”

This is the program’s 36th year, and since its inception, many famous artists have taught at OSAI.  Former faculty include recipients of the Academy, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards. This year’s faculty artists include musician and bandleader Don Byron.

“I can hardly express how honored I am to have the opportunity to attend the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute,” said Morris, a modern dance student. “I am so looking forward to working with notably talented instructors as well as exceptional dance students from across the state.”

OSAI takes place inside Quartz Mountain state park.

Ada students were chosen to attend OSAI through competitive statewide auditions.

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