New Local Nonprofit Determined to Bring Music to Every Corner of America
Organizers behind a new Norman-based cultural nonprofit are determined to bring music to every corner of America—starting with Oklahoma.
A to Z Productions, which gained 501(c)(3) status in March, is composed of the Norman Philharmonic and the Richard Zielinski Singers’ traveling 24-voice choir and incorporates educational outreach and international studies aspects into its mission.
Spearheaded by Richard Zielinski, Norman Philharmonic music and artistic director and music faculty at the University of Oklahoma, A to Z Productions aims to define a new approach to presenting music that can ignite public interest and bring people back to church, theaters and performance halls in appreciation of the arts.
As a 501(c)(3), A to Z Productions nonprofit organization now is federal tax-exempt as dictated by the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.
“The Norman Philharmonic and the Richard Zielinski Singers have been an artistic entity in the U.S. for eight to 10 years, and A to Z Productions was just the next step for us to develop a 501(c)(3) for funding,” Zielinski said. “We aim to bring more people from diverse communities together, and our goal is to produce high-quality music, but also promote American music not only in the orchestral arena, but also with singing and bringing back songs that were important to America.”
A focus on the arts is as important as ever, as non-musical plays, operas and jazz concerts experience floundering attendance, and orchestras across the country struggle to survive, Zielinski said. A to Z Productions wants to lead the charge locally to move the needle in the other direction.
The young nonprofit already has witnessed great success with the Richard Zielinski Singers and its recent accomplishments while touring in Poland in June, performing nine concerts in just 13 days. In addition to competing at the Kamien Pomorski Organ Chamber Music Festival and the Organ and Chamber Festival at Cathedral Basilica of St. James the Apostle, the Norman-based vocal group took home the Grand Pix – Outstanding Choir Award at the International Miedzyzdroje (Poland) Choral Song Festival.
While the Norman Philharmonic sets an objective to establish Norman as the center of excellence in the arts and excite area youth about symphonic music, the Richard Zielinski singers provides the people of Norman and beyond with music that often packs a message of unity in its lyrics.
“The singing aspect of it can really get into community in a way that orchestral music can’t always do,” Zielinski added. “You connect to an emotion with singing. Music can be the international language that can bring people together as it highlights important issues that should be brought to the foreground.”
The organization also intends to promote the arts and humanities through programs with Norman Public Schools and a summer music academy for underserved communities of children and adults. In addition, collaborative arts programs that incorporate music, dance, film and visual arts also will be a focal point of the organization.
Under A to Z Productions, the Norman Philharmonic and Richard Zielinski Singers will continue to have a presence at music festivals not only throughout the region, but throughout the nation and the world, increasing the organization’s reach and furthering Norman’s legacy as an arts-centered community.