Carolina Chocolate Drops
Credits: Julie Roberts
Great news, guys! The Carolina Chocolate Drops are bringing their “Genuine Negro Jig” to Oklahoma as part of OK Mozart!
“It’s more important than ever to remain culturally relevant and financially stable. We’re expanding to other genres and art forms,” said Shane Jewell, executive director of the annual OK Mozart International Music Festival. “People assume by the name that we’re only a classical festival. This combination of groups is extremely diverse and gives OKC a good idea of where we’re headed for the future.”
Oklahoma City may need telling, because this is the first in the Bartlesvillebased OK Mozart’s 27 seasons to have a metro presence.
“This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time. We decided this was the year,” Jewell said. “The arts are well-represented in Central Oklahoma, but we haven’t sold many tickets in the central part of Oklahoma. There’s no better way than to bring the festival to their doorstep.”
Starting Monday, four events will be signed, sealed and delivered by the time it’s all over on June 19: the three-man Alloy Orchestra performing accompaniment to Fritz Lang’s other wise silent 1927 film “Metropolis” on Monday, Turtle Island Quartet re-envisioning Jimi Hendrix songs on classical string instruments, the aforementioned Carolina Chocolate Drops playing roots music, and violinist Joshua Bell with the New York Amici Orchestra.
“What put OK Mozart on the map is our orchestra,” Jewell said. “You can’t see anything like it anywhere else in the region.”
But you can see it at Rose State College’s Performing Arts Theatre in Midwest City, where all four performances will take place. And you may be surprised to find out which one has Jewell most excited.
“I heard Carolina Chocolate Drops a year ago on NPR, and what they’re doing impressed me. They took a genre that was all but dead and they’re breathing life into it,” he said. “It’s always a treat to book some of your favorite musicians.”
But it’s not just his enjoyment of them that got the Drops on the bill. Several other staffers mentioned the act to Jewell. It worked because of the high skill level of the recent Grammy winners. (Bell and Turtle Island Quartet also have Grammys.)
“It’s extremely important that we keep the quality of musicians high,” Jewell said. “We follow emerging artists and try to book them before they win a Grammy. This time, it worked out.”
8 p.m. Monday — Alloy Orchestra, $20
8 p.m. Tuesday — Turtle Island Quartet, $15-$35
8 p.m. Wednesday, June 15 — Carolina Chocolate Drops, $15-$35
2 p.m. Sunday, June 19 — Joshua Bell with Amici New York Orchestra, $70-$90