St. John's and The Hickman School of Music

St. John's and The Hickman School of Music

This past year, St. John's Episcopal Church, OKC, has been the new home of The Hickman School of Music (HSM). St. John's and HSM have created a unique partnership that surpasses a tenant and renter relationship.

St. John's has a long history of educating children. St. John's School opened its doors in the 1950s and recently closed them in 2017. St. John's educated thousands of children in and out of the Diocese, with over 15,000 square feet, two floors, and a playground. For the St. John's community, educating children is embedded in their core vision and mission of their daily life and worship. Inviting a new school to use the vacant space was just natural. The Rev. Nate Carr, Vicar of St. John's, commented on HSM hosting their school on St. John's property,

"When I first started at St. John's, I found a scrap piece of paper on my desk that read call Hickman School of Music; it was a note left from Deacon Dana Orwig, I didn't know what it meant, but I know now it was the beginning of a beautiful partnership."

Deacon Dana Orwig was instrumental in the partnership. When HSM lost the space where they hosted school, they searched for seven months for a new area and eventually found their way to St. John's. Fr. Carr explained how St. John's was ready to embrace change on their vacant property, "The church had moved to a place of prayerfully opening their hands and their hearts to what else the vacant school space could be used for."

Members of the congregation were impressed with the program's history and that it touched so many lives in the community and the Episcopal church. Fr. Carr commented on the HSM's program, "We were super impressed at their ability to transform lives in every way."

The Hickman School of Music began in the house of Doris Hickman, a mother, wife, and musician. Mrs. Hickman involved the art of music in her own children's lives; she saw the joy it brought her children, so she created a school with a central focus on music. Hickman School of Music opened its doors in 1944, providing a space for children to explore and learn about the art of music! Since 1944, HSM has successfully taught thousands of students the importance of music. Many students have gone on to have successful careers in music and theater.

HSM quickly became a family business. Mrs. Hickman's daughters Kay and Jo began to teach at HSM and eventually took over the school once she passed in 1986. Currently, Kathryn Tarr, daughter of Jo, is the Executive Director of Hickman School of Music. Jo teaches and helps direct the school as well.

 Jo spoke about her mother's passion for teaching music, "HSM is different from so many other schools or day-cares out there; my mother loved music; she thought it was important for children to have music present in their lives, especially at a young age when they are still developing."

Kathryn shared with us the importance of having music present in children's lives,

"We have discovered music is a universal language; every kid can speak it in some form or another, whether through instrument work, singing, or dancing. Kids with abilities of every nature can find a way to express themselves through music."

For HSM, this partnership surpasses a tenant and renter relationship. Kathryn described the relationships they have created with members of the congregation,

"The biggest difference between St. John's space and any other previous space we been at is that the community of St. John's deeply wants us to be here. This community has been so inclusive and welcoming, people have expressed so warmly how grateful they are that we are here, and that means so much."

"It makes us feel that we are a part of the fabric of the community, not just a tenant paying rent."

Fr. Carr commented on the spiritual transformation of the space,

"This space is sacred, and it's a space that has been set apart for years for the full formation of children. I remember walking around the corner toward the school and seeing just how seriously they were taking the transformation of the space, spiritually and physically. It was very moving for me; the building needed energy and creativity, and they bring exactly that."

Visit Hickman School of Music at St. John’s Episcopal Church property, located at 5401 N Brookline Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73112.



924 N. Robinson I Oklahoma City, OK 73102
(405) 232-4820
Hours: 9 am to 5 pm CST