MURRAY, Ky. — The Town & Gown Partnership at Murray State University is hosting a holiday concert as well as “An Oakhurst Centennial Celebration” open house to put the Murray community in the holiday spirit and celebrate the centennial anniversary of Oakhurst.
“Town & Gown strives to support events that bring the University and community together,” said Carol Brunn, coordinator for Murray State Town & Gown. “The holiday concert and Oakhurst centennial celebration are a great way to welcome the community into the heart of our campus in a warm and friendly atmosphere.”
The annual Town & Gown Community Band and Choir Holiday Concert will take place Friday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Murray. The free event is open to the entire community.
The 80-member Town & Gown Community Band is led by Dr. Todd E. Hill, professor and director of jazz studies at Murray State. The group will perform a mixture of traditional and modern holiday songs. A children’s choir of 30 third grade students from Murray Elementary’s Holiday Choir will perform alongside the Town & Gown Choir. Dr. Bradley Almquist, director of choral activities at Murray State, will then lead the chorale and band in a Christmas sing-along for the audience that includes “Deck the Halls,” “O Christmas Tree” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
“Murray is lucky to have maintained a tradition of amateur music-making with its long history of community bands and choirs,” Almquist said. “There is a long-standing Christmas tradition of gathering around the piano and singing carols as families. This concert gathers the Murray State and Murray community to sing and celebrate the holidays.”
The President’s Office at Murray State and the Town & Gown Partnership will also sponsor “An Oakhurst Centennial Celebration” to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of Oakhurst, the president’s home (1510 Main St.), on Monday, Dec. 3, from 4 to 6 p.m. The 1920s themed event will feature vintage photographs of Oakhurst, portraits of past presidents and performances by student musical groups. Light refreshments will be served. Murray State faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members are invited to take part in the celebration of this historic site.
“It was in Oakhurst that the idea of Murray State was envisioned by the University’s founder, Dr. Rainey T. Wells,” Brunn said. “Celebrating the 100th anniversary is remarkable for many reasons — from the historical perspective to the dedication Murray citizens felt in establishing a Normal School that would later turn into the legacy of Murray State University.”
Wells and his family built Oakhurst, then named Edgewood, on their 21.7 acres of land in 1918. In 1939 when Wells left the University to become the general attorney for Woodmen of the World in Omaha, Nebraska, the Murray State Board of Regents unanimously purchased the home for $20,000 and renamed the building Oakhurst. On its 60th anniversary, Oakhurst was named to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Town & Gown Partnership at Murray State enhances the quality of living and learning in the community by fostering improved communication between the University and local citizens, facilitating the discussion of community concerns, organizing educational events that promote the history, culture and commerce of the region and investing in collaborative partnerships with philanthropic and community service organizations.