Quartz mountain magic


Students at Quartz enjoy the view walking to class with friends.

Avery Hamlin, Memorial Staff Writer

Oklahoma Arts Institute (OSAI) is a non-profit organization, that provides high school students with the opportunity to practice art in a professional setting. The disciplines they offer are painting & drawing, chorus, dance, orchestra, acting, film & video and photography. Students throughout the state are chosen based on rigorous auditions annually. 

This year, many students from Edmond Memorial were selected from different disciplines to participate at OSAI. Alumni: Madison Leslie, Emma Mowry and Luis Tovar. Seniors: Dawson Royse, Alex Mullings, Caleb Foral and Rachel Adler. Juniors: Patience Lightfoot and Celina Zhao. Sophomores: Avery Hamlin, Raegan Alexander and Hannah White. The auditions for OSAI vary per discipline, but hold the same high standard.

“It was a bit mentally challenging and nerve racking because of the multiple sections to the audition,” said Memorial senior and second year OSAI member Foral. “There is a lot of hard work involved and you are competing against the best of the best.”

OSAI students are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with professionals, striving to help students grow. Since the summer intensive lasts two weeks, liaisons, teachers, and section leaders ensure an element of fun at each rehearsal.    

“My section leader and conductor were both really good at what they do,” said Memorial senior and first year OSAI member Celina Zhao. “I enjoyed the fact that they made rehearsal fun and tried to implement life skills along with music.” 

Connections and friendships were formed through evening activities and games, along with class and the time spent with roommates. Each year, a required activity is chosen for students to meet new people outside or within their own discipline. 

This year, OSAI brought in a professional improvisator to teach students the beauty of spontaneity and thinking off the top of your head.

“I loved being able to do what I love and meet people who enjoy the same thing as me,” said Memorial senior and first year OSAI member Rachel Adler. “Improv was fun, although I thought it was going to be a lot different; it was a surprise, but it made me more social by forcing me to expand and meet new people.”

OSAI’s unique experience gives a sense of belonging to young talented individuals looking for connections. A sense of belonging is given from spending time with others who truly want to learn and value the importance of their art.

“If you have been wanting to audition, just go for it,” Zhao said. “Even if you don’t make it, it is still a great experience to put yourself out there and go through the audition process.”

Auditions for 2020 will be held January and February in various cities around Oklahoma. 

Contact Avery Hamlin at [email protected]