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Michael and Anne Greenwood at the Greenwood School of Music grand opening celebration.

Celebrating in the key of Greenwood

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Media Contact: Mack Burke | Editorial Coordinator | 405-744-5540 |

The grand opening celebration for the Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music was a long time in the making.

Oklahoma State University marked the milestone on Sept. 11 with a standing-room only crowd nearly four years after the Greenwoods announced their lead gift in 2017. But a new building has been needed for at least the last decade to alleviate the strain on the Seretean Center, which served both the music and theatre programs.

“OSU Music has always been so very talented and done so much, but with limited resources. Now, with the addition of this state-of-the-art facility, they at long last have all they need to be even better and to grow professionally,” Anne Greenwood said at the event.

She wore a gold treble clef pin with pearls marking the Key of G.

“This is a dreams-come-true day,” she said.

While guests were arriving for the celebration, a jazz quartet played in the lobby, showcasing the talented students the building benefits.

From left: First Cowboy Darren Shrum, OSU President Kayse Shrum, Anne and Michael Greenwood, Dean Glen Krutz, OSU Foundation President Blaire Atkinson and Greenwood School of Music Director Jeff Loeffert
From left: First Cowboy Darren Shrum, OSU President Kayse Shrum, Anne and Michael Greenwood, Dean Glen Krutz, OSU Foundation President Blaire Atkinson and Greenwood School of Music Director Jeff Loeffert.

Student involvement extended into the event with a surprise performance by a small ensemble from the Cowboy Marching Band, which played “Ride ’Em Cowboys” hours before Oklahoma State went on to beat Tulsa during the second home game of the season.

Many members of the Cowboy Marching Band have experienced the Greenwoods’ generosity through their consistent support. Johnn McCray, a junior music education major and baritone section leader in the marching band, said he was fortunate to be assigned to the event for the weekend.

“While I know that my individual job was small, as a group it was important for us to show appreciation for the generous gifts of the Greenwoods and all the other amazing people,” McCray said. “The Cowboy Marching Band is only able to exist as an organization with the support of fans and alumni. By playing at the opening, we were able to say thanks in more ways than I think words would be able to express.”

McCray said his excitement for the new building will boost his experience as a student.

“The fact that I get to rehearse in ensembles, practice my instrument and go to class in modern and acoustically sound spaces is very important not only for my growth as a musician, but also my mindset,” he said, adding that he has seen an improvement in morale among students and faculty since the building partially opened last spring. “Attending classes in a building that has a growth mindset designed into it is very rewarding and pushes me to be better because I know there are people like the Greenwoods who are investing in my success.”

Students from the sciences, business, engineering, education and many other disciplines also play in the school’s music ensembles and comprise the celebrated OSU Marching Band, said Glen Krutz, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

A Game Changer

Since 1970, OSU’s music students have called the Seretean Center home, but crowding has become more of an issue. With 12 practice rooms to be shared among thousands of students, the young musicians practiced outside or in the hallways, bathrooms and any other usable space they could find.

Senior vocal education major Martha Beaty received raucous applause at the grand opening event when she spoke about the new building’s 28 practice rooms, which can accommodate small and large groups.

Anne Greenwood
Anne Greenwood

The building also includes 35 studios, three large rehearsal halls, two chamber rehearsal rooms, a state-of-the-art recording studio and flexible classroom spaces, each finetuned with the necessary tools to help students succeed. And the facility’s lobby connects to The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, where students will get the chance to perform and have access to unique experiential learning opportunities alongside some of the world’s top performers.

Beaty added that the facility would have blown her away on her audition day four years ago.

“Over the past decade, the Cowboy family has intentionally woven visual and performing arts into the fabric of OSU's identity,” said OSU President Kayse Shrum. “The Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music is the latest example of how we continue to elevate the arts as an integral part of OSU's land-grant mission.”

Jeff Loeffert, director of the Greenwood School of Music, said the trajectory of the performing arts has been profoundly improved.

“The Greenwood School of Music enables our students to achieve at levels we never dreamed possible and be prepared to meet the ever-changing landscape of the workforce in the performing arts,” he said.

Faculty members like Brant Adams, professor and coordinator of music theory, are looking forward to their students having attractive and high-functioning spaces for their learning and development. He sees this new environment as one that will attract future students.

In addition to the Greenwoods, more than 100 people contributed to the new facility, including 19 major gift donors.

Many people, like Bob Spinks, pooled their gifts with other alumni to honor music school leaders both past and present.

“As a proud graduate of the OSU music program, I am always interested in and supportive of the music program. However, for me it runs a little deeper,” said Spinks, who worked as an undergraduate and graduate assistant for former band director Paul Montemurro through much of the ’70s. There he met his wife, Pam, and forged lifelong friendships with mentors and music professors.

Senior vocal education major Martha Beaty speaks at the grand opening event.
Senior vocal education major Martha Beaty speaks at the grand opening event.

“A common phrase one hears today is ‘taking something to the next level.’ Music requires this all the time through ever-improving performance skills — but music is also about humanity and inspiration,” he said. “I found those things at OSU 50 years ago, and they have been at the core of my personal and professional life ever since.”

Donors and family members have ensured that Montemurro, Margaret Nichols, Z. Randall Stroope, Hiram Henry, Max Mitchell, Boh Makovsky and dozens more are honored with named spaces or busts in the new building. These tributes honor and memorialize loved ones.

At the grand opening, Dr. Shrum thanked the donors who made the dream of the Greenwood School of Music a reality.

“I look forward to building upon the significant ways the visual and performing arts integrate into OSU’s long-term vision,” she said. “This arts corridor was once just an idea. I cannot wait to see what the future holds.”

The university and OSU Foundation continue to work with donors to name the remaining prominent spaces and reach the project’s $15 million fundraising goal. As of this magazine’s printing, $1.4 million is still needed to complete the campaign.

Photos By: Lauren Knori and Phil Shockley

Story By: Kyle Stringer | STATE Magazine

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