Brand new, high-class Armstrong Auditorium hopes to be cultural jewel in Edmond 

The Armstrong Auditorium has one main goal for its new $20 million luxury concert hall: Make the experience equally as enjoyable for the patrons coming through the front door, as the performers entering from the back.

The 823-seat performing arts center is slated to open Sept. 5 near the intersection of Waterloo Road and Bryant Avenue, and was part of the master plan for Armstrong College, which was established in 2001 as part of the Philadelphia Church of God.

Lined with American cherry wood from floor-to-ceiling and adorned with more than a dozen Swarovski crystal-laden chandeliers, the Armstrong Auditorium will also house a pair of seven-foot Baccarat crystal candelabras that were used by the Shah of Iran in 1971 during the 2,500 anniversary of the Persian empire.

"This is going to be a magnificent cultural jewel in the crown of Edmond," Shane Granger said. "Each individual piece would be terrific to have, but to have them all in one place, the sum of the cards really magnifies the impact."

The building will also host a sculpture created by world-renowned British artist David Wynne. His piece, "Swans of Flight," will greets guests from a 40,000-gallon reflecting pool at the entrance to the building. The sculpture depicts the stages of flight with five, three quarter-ton bronze swans.

Several high-profile acts " including the Russian National Ballet, the Vienna Boys Choir, The 5 Browns and Grammy-nominated Eroica Trio " are all scheduled to perform during the 2010-2011 inaugural season. Granger said Armstrong's first-class treatment will be extended to its performers, too.

"We go through great pains to make sure our artists are taken care of and to make sure they have the very best and finest facilities," Granger said "Our artists' dressing rooms are five-star, with Swarovski chandeliers and fantastic granite and marble bathrooms. All their needs are met, and that means when they get out onstage, they will shine brighter here because of all those things they are experiencing."

Season tickets, which range from $178-$403, are now on sale. For more information, call 285-2011 or visit www.armstrongauditorium.org. "Adam Kemp

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