Plans are underway for a concert “Celebrating Ben Bailey” scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Two of the three program directors, Ken Cox (left) and Monte Clason (center) along with choral director Kirk Carson (right) recently presented the plans to Ben Bailey (seated at piano). Literally dozens of Bailey’s musical friends from far and near are joining together to pay a musical tribute to Bailey. The public is invited to attend the concert and join the celebration.
On Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m., the musical friends of Ben Bailey will present a concert at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church to honor him for the musical contributions he has made to the Altus community over the past thirty-some years. Three of Bailey’s music colleagues, Monte Clason, Ken Cox, and Nancy Cox, are serving as the program directors for the concert which will feature both instrumental numbers as well as choral numbers.
“Ben has generously shared his love of music and his talent for performing music with our community for over three decades,” commented co-program director Nancy Cox. “He’s entertained us in roles ranging from playing keyboard for the Main Street Jazz group to performing his annual The Organ Plays for Christmas program. This concert, which we’ve titled “Celebrating Ben Bailey,” is our opportunity to honor Ben and to show our appreciation for all he’s given to our community.”
“We chose St. Paul’s Episcopal Church as the location for the concert for two reasons: Ben is currently the organist at St. Paul’s and it has a magnificent pipe organ,” explained Monte Clason. “It’ll be like entertaining Ben at home.” Organ selections will be performed by Tom Cotner, Donn Rowlett, and Clason. The concert will also feature Clark Huey on piano and Russell Weber on trumpet.
“As a life-long church musician, Ben has always enjoyed choral numbers. We’ll present a number of celebratory works including Creation Will Be at Peace, the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and Joyfully Sing,” explained Ken Cox. Directing duties will be shared by Kirk Carson, Ken Cox, Nancy Cox, and Larry Duffy. “Through the years, Ben has supported each of us as the accompanist for our choirs. This is our chance as choral directors and choral singers to say thank you for that support,” Cox added.
Concert-goers will also be treated to performances by traveling guest singers including Dr. Jeanne Ann King who is now at the OU School of Medicine, Neurology, in Oklahoma City; Margy Muenchow who is now working at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City; John Michael Morrow who is currently a student in International Relations at the University of Oklahoma and music intern at MacFarland Methodist Church in Norman; Daniel Yates who is currently Advertising Account Executive at Oklahoma Today magazine and living in Stillwater, and Leah Nellis who is a children’s music educator in Norman.
“Ben has enriched our musical lives in so many ways. Just to name a few: he’s been an active member of the Shortgrass Arts and Humanities Council, he served as an officer of the board of directors for the Quart Mountain Music Festival, he’s been an annual guest performer for the MacDowell Club of Allied Arts, and he’s spent almost every Sunday on the organ bench at one of our local churches,” Nancy Cox said. “We’re hoping that this tribute to Ben at least begins to thank him for the richness he’s brought to our lives and the nourishment he’s provided for our souls.”
The concert is free, and the public is invited to share this celebration. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is located at 721 N. Thomas in Altus.