Rockers, Friends Return for OCLA Reunion
Musicians and friends from all over America came home to campus in August to celebrate their shared experiences at the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts.
USAO was known by that name from 1965 through 1974. The reunion event was focused on music, said planner Martin Reding, because “music was an important part of campus life at that time – just as it is now.”
“Wow! We are all still saying wow. What a great reunion we enjoyed!” said Kay Meadows Stockbridge, who graduated from OCLA in 1971. She returned to the campus from South Carolina for the weekend.
Friends took the stage who hadn’t played together in 30+ years, but who put together a top-notch festival of rock tunes from the 60s and 70s. Their secret was a four-day rehearsal jam just before the start of the reunion, Reding said.
Today three members of the reunion band own their own recording studios in different cities and have continued professionally in music since they started out at OCLA.
Among the performers was Doc Holiday of St. Louis on piano, drums and percussion, Bill Barton of Boston on guitar and vocals, Gerry Moore of Santa Anna, Calif., on guitar and vocals, Jim McCaughtry of Oklahoma City on guitar, and Steve Wood of Anadarko on drums.
The band played classic rock by The Beatles and other period bands.
Guitarist Steve Van Landingham of Norman got his start at OCLA. He performed solo numbers on guitar (see photos in web gallery) for about 70 alums and friends who came from all over America for the event.
“We really felt special and it was just a great time,” said Suzanne Lazenby Maryeski, also a 1971 alum. Maryeski came from Niceville, Fla.
“It was a wonderful reunion and I loved hearing stories about all the spades tournaments, making a peace sign in the oval, and all the music on campus,” said Julie Bohannon, director of alumni development. “One of my favorite moments of the weekend was when Kay Stockbridge presented me an honorary Be Si Ta t-shirt telling me that I would have made a great Be Si Ta!”
A video presentation on OCLA memories was created by Kathi Ambrogi, which is available at YouTube with a password – available from Julie Bohannon, director of alumni development. More information about that show is available from Ambrogi at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Martin Reding, who now works as theater manager at USAO, described the event as a great tribute to the short-lived OCLA name and era.
“I think the event was a huge success. I’ve heard nothing but positive remarks about the whole reunion, Reding said. “The high point of the concert for me was the song “Turn, Turn, Turn” by the Byrds. I am very happy that Bill chose to play it. The song was very appropriate and seemed to sum up the whole experience. ‘There is a season. A time to every purpose under heaven.’ It seemed as if it was the time and the season to reunite with old friends and remember the unique education that we received at OCLA.”
As part of the event, friends gathered on campus in Grimsley Gardens for a ceremonial releasing of doves to remember fallen classmates and friends. Dr. Ingrid Shafer, now teaching in her 41st year at the college, was a featured speaker, sharing her memories of the OCLA students, the events of the time, and her personal growth through those years.
The evening banquet was emceed by Marilyn Feaver of Chickasha, first lady of the USAO, who attended OCLA. Another featured speaker was Dr. Dex Marble, now retired, who taught for 25 years at OCLA and USAO before he moved on to launch a second career in law.
Originally founded as a women’s college in 1908, the university’s name was changed from the Oklahoma College for Women to the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts when it became a coeducational institution in 1965. State regents changed the college’s name once more in 1974 to the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.
PHOTO GALLERY AVAILABLE HERE.