NEWKIRK — April 30 was an incredibly important evening for Kay County, as crowds from across the region gathered near the Courthouse in Downtown Newkirk for the official opening of the Kay County Amphitheater. The facility was built to bring arts outdoors in the warm months, and a full schedule of performers is planned through the fall for the benefit and culture of the larger Kay County community.
The facility is located at Ninth and Main Street, adjacent to the Kay County Administration Building and Extension office.
Events are planned for the second Saturday each month through October in what is referred to as the Second Saturday Series. Kay County youth are highly encouraged to participate.
“There will be an event the second Saturday of each month, which gives us an opportunity to come together as a community,” co-organizer Kelle Cross said. “It gives children an opportunity to be exposed to the performing arts, and we’re working really hard to bring family-friendly events.”
The first performance featured area-wide choirs, along with soloists and even a little dancing. All that and more is planned for the facility this summer and this Saturday when the Mike Seals Trio takes the stage at 6:30 p.m. The band is comprised of Mike Seals, piano; Kevin Roe, bass and saxophone; and Kevin Leach, drums.
The band has performed across the globe, but has a hometown connection, as all three band members have Kay County roots.
Leach is a 1987 Newkirk graduate. He studied music at Northern Oklahoma College and the University of Central Oklahoma. He has lived and played in Oklahoma City, Austin and Los Angeles, but returned home where he still plays and teaches percussion.
Roe also has Newkirk connections. A Kansas native, he studied music at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, and taught music at all grade levels for many years at Newkirk Public Schools.
Seals has played keyboards since a child and has performed with the U.S. Army Band around the world. He had his own band, and has entertained kings and diplomats across the Middle East. He now teaches music in Ponca City.
The Amphitheater welcomes the Salt Fork Revival, Friday, June 10 at 7 p.m., the eve of the Second Saturday Series. Comprised of James Owen, Tony Hayes and Derik Cripe, the band plays a variety of rock, country and blues.
The Second Saturday Series commences at 7 p.m. June 11 with the Ponca City Federated Music Club, offering a patriotic performance that celebrates American composers and music and promotes music education and appreciation through college scholarships for students interested in studying music as a career. The organization has promoted the music arts in Kay County for more than 100 years.
Activities aren’t limited to musical performances, however. To celebrate the start of International Yoga Week on Saturday, June 18 at 9 a.m. Sarah Schoey of OM Yoga will lead a free yoga workshop on the yard of the amphitheater. Bring a mat or towel.
These family-friendly events are all free. Since seating is limited, the public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. For the latest information, check the Kay County Amphitheater Facebook page.