For the past forty years the Symphony Show House has been the primary fundraising project for the Oklahoma City Orchestra League (OCOL) and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. The Show House project was started in Oklahoma City when the OCOL was known as the Women’s Committee of the Oklahoma City Symphony Society. The project remained the heart of the organization through more changes as the orchestra was restructured as the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra. Finally in 1987, the Women’s Committee was incorporated as the Oklahoma City Orchestra League, Inc. Changes in structure as well as the name of the symphony, from the Oklahoma Federal Symphony Orchestra to the Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestra, then The Oklahoma Symphony and now the Oklahoma City Philharmonic have occurred with occasional upheaval. The struggles and the re-launch of the orchestra have resulted in a healthy and exceptional agency in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma City Philharmonic is recognizes as the largest and one of the most successful performing arts groups in the state. It is important to note that even when the orchestra was silent, from June 1987 until January, l990, the Women’s Committee continued to raise money with the goal of keeping an orchestra in Oklahoma City. Some who have supported this project from the first year are still contributors today. Studying the homes, the neighborhoods, and leaders of this project, the extraordinary feeling of community, loyalty and enthusiasm for the symphony is overwhelmingly evident. These supporters made possible the forty years of success for the Symphony Show House.
It all began when two young leaders of the Women’s Committe, Lela Sullivan and Rita Moore, went to the American Symphony Orchestra League convention in Montreal, Canada, and heard a dynamic speaker, Shammy Lawrence, talk about a new concept in fund raising. Her expertise was invaluable to the Women’s Committee when she came to Oklahoma City to help formulate plans for this new project. In 1974 the Women’s Committee of the Oklahoma City Symphony Society opened the doors at 7205 Nichols Road to the first Decorators’ Show House. Owned by the Kerr Family Trust, this exceptional home was designed and built by Raymond Carter in 1963 for the William P. Morrison, Jr. family. The project tradition began of choosing unique homes created by talented architects and builders, owned by community leaders, and decorated by exceptional interior designers. The first Show House chairman, Jean Gummerson, worked with project co-chairmen Rita King Moore and Ann Dowling and more than one thousand volunteers to create and staff the Show House. The president of the Women’s Committee was Jose Freede. Committee members recall the first Show House raised about $36,000.
The second Show House in 1975, at 1625 Camden Way, was for sale by Stewart Van Cleef Realtors. It had six bedrooms and eight baths, a game room, dining room, den, and two living room areas. It was originally designed and constructed in 1951 by architectural engineer Ralph Bradshaw as a residence for his family. In 1957 it was sold to Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Magness, who remodeled the house and resided there for the next seventeen years. In 1974 the Magnesses traded a house with Jack L.Clark, who then loaned the Show House the Women’s Committee. George Seminoff created the outstanding sketch of the house exterior and Darnell Gepford did the interior sketches. The musical director and conductor of the Okahoma City Symphony Orchestra in l975 was Ainslee Cox. The Show House chairman, Vonda Henderson, vice-chairman, Jose Freede, and president of the Women’s Committee, Jane Harlow, praised the home owners, designers, volunteers and patrons for accomplishing the goal of significant funds for quality music in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma History is almost always linked in some way to the Decorators’ Show Houses by its politically connected owners, its financial leaders, its exceptional builders, or the historical significance of the location. In 1976 the Mediterranean mansion at 1602 West Wilshire Boulevard was the Bicentennial Decorators’ Show House. It was built in 1931 by Charles Gunter, with Raymond Smiser the contractor, and had twenty-five rooms. This impressive property was the residence of the B. D. Eddie family for thirty one years and then donated to Oklahoma City University, owners at the time of the Bicentennial Show House. The chairman, Ann Dowling, led a team of Show House committees, including the operation of the very first Tea Room with president of the Women’s Committee, Jane Rogers.
In 1977 the Show House was located at 420 N.W. 14th Street, built in 1921 for Hugh and Mary Johnson, who became known as the Pearl Mesta of Oklahoma City. The house was designed for their active social life. She left the estate to Historic Preservation, Inc. and in 1977 the home was loaned to the Women’s Committee for the fourth Decorator’s Show House. It was later sold to Larry and Darlene Parman, who made much needed repairs. The chairman of the 1977 Decorators’ Show House, Marilyn Morrison-Case, led the Show House Board and hundreds of volunteers. League president, Joyce Bishop, and dedicated League committees provide Oklahoma City exceptional music education projects and events.
The Fifth Show House, located at 1415 N. Hudson, was built in 1907 for Ed. H. Cooke. The house, an example of Elizabethan architecture, had oak and mahogany woodwork, fifteen rooms, a grand staircase, a spectacular stained glass window, and a large ballroom on the third floor. The next owners, Mr. and Mrs. W. Frank Wilson, remained in the house until 1946. The house changed hands several times, without receiving the needed repairs. After a threat of demolition and years of litigation, it was loaned in 1978 to the Women’s Committee for the Decorators’ Show House. The Co- Chairman, Jane Harlow and Jane Rogers, worked with League president, Ann Taylor, and hundreds of devoted volunteers to make the house presentable. The next several owners made needed improvements. Eventually Mayor Kirk Humphreys and his wife restored the home to its current beauty. In 2010 the Humphreys loaned their home to the Oklahoma City Orchestra League for an exquisite fund raising dinner honoring Maestro Joel Levine. Gregory Lee, concertmaster, donated his time and exceptional talent to entertain the patrons of the fundraiser in this historic home.
In 1979 the Show House, called Red Rock Manor, was located at 1501 North Highley, built in 1937 for Mr. and Mrs. Mont F. Highley on about five acres. Mrs. Highly participated in designing the house with builder Charles Suttle and included a private chapel and featured fine, rare woods used throughout the home. Across the ravine the Highleys built a spacious and well-equipped stable to house their pleasure horses. The home was loaned to the League by owners Mr. and Mrs. Richard Galloway. The co-chairmen, Jackie Carey and Jane Van Cleef, presented this successful Show House to the city in a unique location, giving promise to the longevity of the project. The Women’s Committee president was Ann Taylor in 1979 when Maestro Louis Herrera became Musical Director and Conductor of the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra.
In 1980 the home at 3605 N. McKinley Avenue, loaned by the owners, Jean and Jim Oldner, became the seventh Decorator’s Show House. The house was built by Mr. and Mrs. Allen Street who lived in the house for twenty five years. He served as mayor for two terms. One of the outstanding features in this house was the third floor ballroom. The co- chairmen, Dottie Lammerts and Berta Faye Rex, directed the team of volunteers operating on a zero budget, using donations, volunteer energy and creativity. Stories continue about how very cold the house was with lights that went off and on again. President of the Women’s Committee was Virginia Cerny. The estimated hours of volunteer time was 26,055 hours, an amazing donation from the League and the community. Attendance had increased in 1980 to 11,835.
In 1981 the Show House Co- Chairmen, Vonda Henderson and Betsy White chose the home at 1701 Drury Lane to redecorate with the expertise of outstanding designers. The home was built by A. J. Kavanaugh and owned by Dr. Alfred and Mrs. Last at the time of the Show House. There were impressive donations to this project with Lil Ross, president of the Women’s Committee, encouraging community volunteers and corporations to support this fund raiser. The house was eventually torn down and a unique home was built at this location. It is interesting to note that this address was the location of the thirty-eighth Symphony Show House in 2012. It is worth noting that many of the Show House locations have exceeded 15,000 visitors.
In 1982 the Decorator’s Show House chairmen were Virginia Cerny and Ann Sims. The home, located at 327 N.W. 14th Street, in Heritage Hills Historical Preservation Area, exhibited 6,500 square feet of New Orleans style architecture. The original home was moved off the lot and this one built by Smiser Construction Company in 1911 for Samuel and Elizabeth Gloyd. They remained in the ornate home until 1927 when it was purchased by Judge Samuel W. Hayes, who was elected a delegate to the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention, a member of the first Oklahoma Supreme Court, served two terms as Democratic State Chairman and was regent of OU. The house sat vacant for many years and sold at auction in 1981 when it was loaned to the Women’s Committee for the Show House. Leading the Orchestra League was president, Berta Faye Rex.
In 1983 the Tenth anniversary Decorator’s Show House was located at 3115 N. Harvey Parkway. When this house was built in l934 by Sam Raybourn Smiser, Sr., it was the cornerstone of Edgemere Park. The family of John B. Charles, Jr., enjoyed entertaining and allowed the home to be used for many civic occasions. After a fire in l956 it was purchased by Arthur Holiday and in l958 sold to Dr. Joseph and Ann Funnell. They made the home available for cultural and service organizations. The Edgemere Park Preservation Association allowed the Women’s Committee of the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra to use this historic home for the tenth Anniversary Decorator’s Show House. The Show House chairmen, Til Smith and Bobbie Robbins, noted that the past nine Show Houses had raised over $700,000. Berta Faye Rex continued as president of the Orchestra League.
In 1984 the Decorator’s Show House moved to 1604 West Wilshire Boulevard. This French Chateau style architecture was built by Walter Stallings in l976. The owners Mr. and Mrs. Larry Wolfberg loaned the house to the Women’s Committee for the eleventh Decorator’s Show House. The co-chairs, Carol Robertson and Carol Williams led the designers and volunteers to show this exceptional home to the community. President of the Orchestra League, Sandy Meyers, additionally worked to provide the many education opportunities for children and adults in Oklahoma City.
In 1985 the Decorators’ Show house at 433 N.W. 15th Street was located again in historic Heritage Hills. This was the oldest Show House, built in 1907 by David McKinstry during the year of the Oklahoma Statehood. It has been owned by several early leaders of Oklahoma City, including Dennis Flynn, the first postmaster in Guthrie in 1889. He also served four terms as the territorial delegate to Congress. Several subsequent owners made additions to the house. The home eventually sat vacant until the Women’s Committee of the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra chose it as the twelfth Decorator Show House led by co-chairs Priscilla Braun and Virginia Springall. The president in 1985, Mona Preuss, led the Women’s Committee to become the Oklahoma City Orchestra League, Inc.
In 1986 the Show House at 1521 N. Hudson Avenue was built in 1916 for William T. Hales. The house was designed by the architectural firm of Hawk and Parr to be largest in the state and was built by Robert G. Maidt for $125,000. This grand Neo-classical mansion was the result of a fortune built by a man who came to the city in 1890 and built mule and horse barns on West Main Street. He was to become the richest man in the state. Hales invested in real estate, subdividing new additions for housing and also sold thousands of mules and horses to the Allies during World War I. The Phillips Oil Company eventually purchased the house and donated it to the Catholic Church. In 1984 it was sold to Mr. and Mrs. J. Ross Brown, who made plans to preserve this landmark home. In 1986 it was loaned to the Women’s Committee as the Decorators’ Show House, allowing thousands of people to see one of the city’s most outstanding homes. The Co-chairs were Libby Hammon Templin and Peggy Cummings with Mona Preuss serving as president of the Oklahoma City Orchestra League.
In 1987 the Decorator’s Show House, located at 3703 N. McKinley Avenue, was completed in 1914, and is now in the Putnam Heights Historical Preservation area. The house exhibits a third floor ballroom, five staircases and five remaining fireplaces. Twenty- nine designers and hundreds of volunteers made this project possible, including the owners, Eric and Pat Chancellor. The co-chairs, Marge Duncan and Gretchen Hatley, reported that Show House funds have contributed over one million dollars to our Oklahoma City Symphony, which celebrated in 1987 fifty years of music in Oklahoma City. The Orchestra League was led by the president Iva Fleck.
The fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Women’s Committee in 1988 was also the fifteenth year for Symphony Decorators’ Show House. The impressive features of the home at 1704 West Wilshire Boulevard include the Italian marble fireplace, imported French banister, beautiful oak floors and extensive landscaped gardens. The architecture was described as mid-Atlantic Georgian and was built by its first owner, contractor and developer John J. Culbertson, Jr., in 1936. His father, one of the early developers of our city, gave the state the land on which the State Capitol and Historical Building are built. The chairmen of this impressive Show House were Phyllis Stough and Tony Wizenberg. The president of the Orchestra league in l988 was Iva Fleck.
In April of l989 the home at 6900 N.W. Grand Boulevard was the sixteenth Decorators’ Show House. This house was built for Mr. and Mrs. Sylvan Goldman in 1951. Mr. Goldman, known for designing the grocery cart, purchased the lot and waited for ten years to start building because of wartime restrictions on materials. The League dedicated this Show House to be part of the Oklahoma Centennial celebration. The co-chairs, Dixie Gordon and Gay Bartley, depended on 3,000 volunteers to create and staff this year’s Show House. Proceeds again benefitted orchestral music performance and music education in the Oklahoma City area led by president, Priscilla Braun.
In September of 1989 the Oklahoma City Philharmonic was born from an interesting past. In 1938 the Oklahoma Federal Symphony Orchestra, created by the federal government, had its first concert. The next year it moved to its permanent home in the Municipal Auditorium, now The Civic Center Music Hall, with a new name and Conductor Victor Alessandro. In 1951 The Oklahoma City Symphony Society invited Guy Frazier Harrison to become the music director and conductor of the new Oklahoma City Symphony. He happily remained for twenty-two years. In 1973 the orchestra was led by Dr. Ray Luke, yet with the opening of the first Decorators’ Show House, a new season with a new director for the 1974-75 season, Ainslee Cox, was about to begin. By 1976 the orchestra was named The Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra, reflecting the expansion of its musical services throughout the state. In 1978 the new music director and conductor, Maestro Louis Herrera, began his first season. Community leaders recognized the changing needs of the city and ended the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra in 1987. Determined to have an orchestra, a group of devoted music lovers launched the Oklahoma City Philharmonic which had its first concert in October 1989, with Maestro Joel Levine Music Director and Conductor. Levine had served as Associate Conductor of the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of Lyric Theatre. The Oklahoma Philharmonic Society, Inc., the governing body, provided plans for an excellent symphony orchestra and interaction with educational institutions as well as providing for the cultural environment of Oklahoma City and the state.
In 1990 the home at 1644 Queenstown Road was loaned to the Oklahoma City Orchestra League by Local Federal Savings and Loan for the seventeenth Decorators’ Show House. Raymond Carter was the architect of this 6,000 square foot Georgian –Style home, built for Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Hales, Jr. It was reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson’s home in Monticello, Virginia, and very different from the 1986 Show House on N.W. 15th Street and Hudson Avenue, built by his father, thirty six years earlier. The Show House Chairman, JoRene Sherburne led the thousands of volunteers working on this project. The president of the Oklahoma City Orchestra League, Priscilla Braun, reported past Show House projects had raised one and one half million dollars to support music in Oklahoma City.
In l991 the home of Governor and Mrs. David Walters at 3825 N. McKinley Avenue, was the eighteenth house presented by the League. This historic home located in the Putnam Heights Historic Preservation District, was built in 1926 by Mr. Hulbert Clark, and occupied by William Morgan and his family until 1966. Lloyd Hardin and his family lived in the home until it was purchased by Governor and Mrs. David Walters in 1978. The Walters finished the third story and added a pool and cabana. This home, described as Georgian, American Colonial and English Rural, was redecorated by talented designers for the eighteenth Decorators’ Show House, co-chaired by Yvette Fleckinger and Georgiana Weisner. The president of the Orchestra League was Susan Robinson.
In 1992 the Show House, located at 2307 Grand Boulevard, was a contemporary home built for Dr. and Mrs. Robert C. Brown in 1974. Responsible for the building of this exceptional home were architect Raymond Carter, and contractor, Billy Arnold. The home was often the scene of beautiful parties, including one honoring Maestro Louis Herrera, following a concert by the Oklahoma City Symphony. The most recent owner, Ted Gummerson, made numerous additions to the house. This unique Show House, which included color photographs of designers’ rooms, was chaired by Susan Marshall with president Minna Hall leading the Orchestra League.
The 1993 Show House was the Nichols Mansion on Avondale Court. It was the Twentieth Anniversary Show House led by chairman Dixie Jensen and huge numbers of dedicated volunteers. The Show House Tour Book contained a tribute to the chairmen of the past nineteen Show Houses and included a sketch of each house. The two million dollars raised in the past nineteen years supported the symphony and music education led by Orchestra League president, JoAnn Arneson.
The 1994 Decorator’s Show House was located at 1708 Drury Lane in Nichols Hills. It was built in 1950 for Dean and Dorothea McGee and bought by Dr. Jerry Lucas in 1971. The home was then purchased by Betty and James MacKeller, who decorated this beautiful home, featured in Southern Living Magazine. The Show House chairman, Ann Taylor, added the Trolley pick up in Nichols Hills Plaza to facilitate the traffic caused by outstanding attendance. Ava Wheaton led the Orchestra League’s many activities.
In 1995 the home at 7316 Nichols Road was selected as the twenty-second Decorator’s Show House. This exceptional home had been The Oklahoma Museum of Art for twenty years. With the new museum relocated at State Fair Park, the home was made available to the League. This house, begun in 1937, was the home of geologist Frank Buttram and his wife Merle, an accomplished violinist and one of the original founders of the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra. Their home was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in l990 and featured in National Geographic, Holiday, and Town and Country. It is believed to be the first air conditioned home in Oklahoma with 20,385 square feet, including caretakers quarters, a bowling alley, shooting gallery, game room, bar, and dressing room for the pool. In addition to the challenging work of preparing this historic home for three weeks of tours, the volunteers remember the Oklahoma City Bombing, the tragedy and heartache, and feeling the unbelievable tremor in this part of Nichols Hills. The League president was Yvette Fleckinger during this difficult year.
In 1996 the Decorator’s Show House at 1505 Buttram Road was the home of Leonard and Phoebe Savage. This Nichols Hills home, designed by Raymond Carter, was impressive with 7,728 square feet of living space and an English Country look. The co-chairs Glenda Talbot and Joanne Harrah led the League to another successful fundraiser. June Parry was president of the Oklahoma City Orchestra League.
The 1997 Decorators’ Show House, known as the Dolese Mansion at 729 N.W. 38th Street displayed Georgian architecture with 48 rooms on three floors, and elevator and a ballroom with mahogany walls which doubled as a bomb shelter. The house, built by C. E. Duffner, was enlarged and renovated three times for the growing family of Roger and Ardith Dolese. A large team of interior and landscape designers prepared the 12,000 square feet of living space for public viewing. This twenty-fourth Decorators’ Show House was led by co-chairs Sally Dasovich and Meg Salyer. They reported the how Show House projects had raised more than two million dollars to support the symphony and music education. Nancy Apgar was president of the Oklahoma City Orchestra League.
In 1998 the Silver Celebration Decorator’s Show House was located at 2303 N.W. Grand Boulevard with 15,000 square feet of living space. This California contemporary in Nichols Hills was designed by Arthur Elrod for Jack Clark in the late 1960s. The twenty six outstanding designers and the owners, Dr. and Mrs. John Harvey were instrumental in the success of this endeavor. Marge Duncan was president of the Orchestra League. The co-chairs Carol Gilliland and Bette Jo Hill noted that the previous Show House projects had raised $2,500,000 since its inception.
In 1999 the home located at 1515 Lincoln Boulevard in the Lincoln Terrace Historical District, was the twenty-sixth Decorators’ Show House. The Italian Renaissance-style home, acquired by oilman and attorney Wirt Franklin in 1929, had about 6,000 square feet of living space. Mr. Franklin founded the Independent Petroleum Association and served as its first president. The splendid stairway led to a second floor ballroom, which was converted to a master bedroom suite. The co-chairs, Judy Austin and Lil Ross, thanked the owners Jean and Steve Semmler for lending the home in l999 to the Oklahoma City Orchestra League, celebrating fifty years of service to Oklahoma City. President of the League, Jean Hartsuck, noted $2,800,000 had been raised through this project to benefit the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and music education.
In the year 2000 the Symphony Designer’s Show House number twenty seven was located at 3205 N.W. 19th Street in historic Linwood Place. The home of Oscar Perry Workman was designed by the firm of Solomon Andrew Layton, the architect who also designed the state capital and the Skirvin Hotel. Co-chairs Jill Mizel and Noreen Lyman noted that in the past twenty-six years the Show House had raised nearly three million for the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and music projects. President Grace Ryan led the Orchestra League members providing music education programs throughout the city.
The 2001 Designers Show House located at 12301 Dutch Forest Place in north Oklahoma City. Titled "Grandeur in the Gardens" was the first Show house presented in a recently constructed home, a unique mansion built in 1996 with 11,000 square feet of living space and extensive gardens. Co-chairmen Glenna Tanenbaum and Marcia Crook with Judy Austin, president, noted that the Oklahoma City Orchestra League's annual Symphony Designer’s Show House has been designated as one of the top three most successful Show House projects in the nation. Over the past twenty-seven years the League had raised over three million dollars to benefit the Philharmonic Orchestra and the League’s many music educational programs.
The Nichols Hills home at 1503 Buttram Road was owned by golfer Charlie Coe and sold to Vonda and Mike Henderson. The next owner, Dr. James Baker, loaned it for the Symphony Designers Show House - "A House for All Seasons," in 2002. The Gala party presented as part of the project was memorable for all who attended, held in the street under tents on a freezing, rainy night. Remembering this surprisingly successful event, one is impressed with the dedication, determination, and loyalty of the patrons and leaders who stayed for the dinner without complaint. Co-chairs Lois Salmeron and Ellen Jayne Wheeler led the Orchestra League and the community to another successful Show House. President, LaDonna Meinders, described in the Tour Book the impressive educational programs provided to the city by the Oklahoma City Orchestra League and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2003 the thirtieth Symphony Designers Show House, the John A. Brown Estate, was 1601 Guilford Lane in Nichols Hills. The architect was Attlee B. Ayres who designed this Spanish inspired manion in 1931 which became the center of Oklahoma City society of the day. Co-chairmen, Debbie McKinney and Karen Vollbrecht, led talented designers to return this historic home to a spectacular Show House. The three-story Mediterranean Mansion was owned by Jim and Robin Meyer. The sixty-member Show House Board and thousands of volunteers contributed time and energy to this successful project with the president of the Orchestra League, Dixie Jensen.
The 2004 Symphony Designers Show House, named "Hollywood on Grand" at 2301 N.W. Grand Boulevard, was built by Luke Rogers, for sale at $1,395,000 by Marilyn Torbett Realtors, and owned by Judy and Jack Hodges. The sprawling French contemporary house was first owned by movie theater mogel Farris Shanbour and he inspired the Hollywood glamour theme of this year's design teams. The Tour Book, large and informative, provided color photographs to present the forty-five professional design teams. Co-chairs Cathy Wallace and Jean Hartsuck led the volunteers with the president, Lois Salmeron.
In 2005 the beautiful Neo-Classical house at 1815 N. Hudson Avenue, named “Heritage on Hudson,” was built in 1918 by G. A. Nichols. The co-chairs were Cindy Raby and Ann Taylor. Owners, Natalie Shirley and Russ Harrison purchased the house in 2004 and allowed the League to use it for the thirty-second Symphony Designers Show House. President Glenna Tanenbaum reported the League’s education programs benefitted almost 36,000 students and adults annually.
The 2006 Decorator’s Show House, 1504 Huntington Avenue in Nichols Hills, was built for Walter and Alice Hunzicker in 1935. The home was reminiscent of a French Chateau and overlooked Kite Park. The architect was Jerome Picker and the builder was A.C. Redds with interior designer Warren Ramsey. The McCunes bought the house in l996 making additions to the 12,000 square foot home. Co-chairs LaDonna Meinders and Cathy Leichter led a team of designers and volunteers with the president Debbie McKinney. Tickets for the thirty-third Decorator’s Show House cost $15.00 at the door.
In 2007 co-chairs Jean McCown and Lucy Cheatwood chose the home at 1510 Dorchester Drive for the thirty-fourth Decorators’ Show House. The house was built in 1951 at a cost of $100,000 for Verna and Raymond Young of TG& Y stores. Warren Ramsey was the interior designer. The indoor pool, built later, was featured in l974 issue of Architectural Digest. The owner, Drew Braum, president of Braums Ice Cream and Dairy Stores, loaned the house to the Orchestra League. The president was Anna McMillin.
In 2008 “Downtown at the Brownstones” was the theme for the 2008 Show House at N.E. Third Street and Walnut Avenue in an area called “Deep Deuce.” The unique project presented four newly constructed townhouses, with three- and four-story units within walking distance to downtown Oklahoma City. The design themes: Southwest Santa Fe, SoHo Metropolitan, Sophisticated European, and Urban Contemporary, were creative and unique for Oklahoma City. The chairman, Linda Patton worked with outstanding design chairmen and talented decorators to pull off this challenging project while it was being constructed by Ron Bradshaw. The president, Sue Francis, reminded guests that the League was able to sponsor a major concert, provide more than $250,000 to the Philharmonic, and support 18 music education programs annually. Membership in the Oklahoma City Orchestra League is open to both men and women who work together in these challenging projects to enhance the quality of community life.
In 2009 the thirty-sixth Symphony Show House and Gardens at 431 N.W. 17th Street in Heritage Hills, was reminiscent of an Italian Villa, with seventeen rooms and 4,600 square feet of living space. Co-chairmen Glenna Tanenbaum and Mike McAuliffe told the interesting history of the house, built in 1919 by oilman and banker Walter D. Caldwell. The next resident was a controversial figure. John “Jack” Walton, a pro-union mayor of Oklahoma City, supported by farmers, labor, and the KuKluxKlan, bought the house in 1923 with questionable finance deals from his supporters. After he declared martial law and was involved in other illegal practices, he was impeached, convicted and removed from office. Other owners include Clarence E. Trosper, William K. Veazey, and Dr. and Mr. Grover Harrison. The house was loaned to the Oklahoma City Orchestra League by Denise and John Bode. Peggy Lunde, League president, led the League’s volunteers coordinating many activities and education projects.
In 2010 another break from tradition led the Symphony Show House and Gardens to Lake Overholser. The house, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Lewis McGinnis, had 17,000 feet of living space as well as extensive gardens. In addition to many unique features, the home had a private chapel. Co-chairs for the project were Jean McCown, Anna McMillin, and Kirstin Reynolds. The Orchestra League president, Cathy Wallace, stated that the past Show House projects had netted more than four million dollars $4,000,000, providing support for the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and the combined education programs of both organizations. In 2009 the Oklahoma City Orchestra League presented a check for $175,000 to the Philharmonic for the operating budget and completed a pledge of $250,000 for the Philharmonic Endowment Fund.
The thirty-eighth Symphony Show House returned to Nichols Hills in 2011 for the second Show House at this location, 1701 Drury Lane, also the address of the Show House in 1981. This house with massive rooms and 15,000 square feet of living space was built with the style of a French Country Chateau. The house was owned by Dan Frioni, who loaned it to the League. Co-Chairs Cindy Raby and Yvette Fleckinger led outstanding interior and landscape designers to create another successful fundraising event. President, Sharon Shelton, guided the League’s many projects.
The “Jazz Age Manor,” 440 NW 15th Street in Heritage Hills, was selected in 2012 for the thirty-ninth Symphony Show House. The English Tudor Revival style home, owned by Dr. and Mrs. Marvin Peyton, was built in 1925. Once again hundreds of volunteers worked on committees, staffed the house, planned parties, dusted and cleaned, and worked together to present this magnificent home. Twenty-nine designers transformed the interior and exterior of the home. The co-chairs, Debbie Minter and Polly Worthington, led the project with the goal of enriching the lives of thousands of children and adults. The president, Rhonda White, worked with the many committees of the Oklahoma City Orchestra League to present the projects and programs to Oklahoma City.
Three homes in a new development in Edmond, OK, were selected for a unique opportunity to present "A Trio In The Abbey." Located inside Fairview Farm neighborhood, The Abbey offers homeowners luxury style in a modest footprint. Three styles of homes were presented by the Orchestra League for the 2013 Symphony Show House -- Contemporary, Mediterranean and Traditional. This gave the designers myriad options in design styles. Co-chairs Teresa Pope and Dana Galiga, together with League president Cindy Raby, created one of the most successful projects to date.
The past 40 Show Houses have been located all over the city. Although most have been in Nichols Hills, eight were in Heritage Hills, and others were in Putnam Heights, Edgemere Park, Dutch Forrest, Linwood Place, Lake Overholser, Lincoln Terrace, Deep Deuce, and Edmond. When preparing for a Show House unexpected challenges often occur. Due to the age of the homes, issues with heating and air conditioning, plumbing, garbage removal, flooding, electrical power failures and other exciting surprises occur frequently, yet with brave determination and hard work by dedicated volunteers, the doors open on time for thousands of guests and fundraising continues. All 40 Symphony Show Houses have been successful projects benefitting the orchestra and music education in Oklahoma City. The Show House projects led by the Orchestra City Orchestra League, Inc. have raised almost $ 5,000,000, an impressive contribution to this city.