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Vince Gill plans concert at former OKC elementary school



The auditorium at an 80-year-old Oklahoma City elementary school will be renovated thanks to a concert performed by one of its former students Thursday night.


Country music star and Oklahoma native Vince Gill will play the Cleveland Elementary School auditorium 7 p.m. Thursday. Hosted by Oklahoma Today magazine, the benefit is designed to "raise enough money to renovate the 228-seat auditorium in one evening," according to Oklahoma Today Publisher Joan Henderson, in a release.


By 1 p.m. Wednesday, 17 of the $495 tickets were left, Cleveland Principal Mary Coughlin said. The funds raised will go toward adding a new sound system, lighting, curtains, paint, chairs and musical instrument storage, and refinishing and sealing the concrete floor " about $75,000 to $100,000 in projects, depending on how much is made, she said.


Students use the auditorium often at the arts-integrated school, which features full-time art, science and music teachers.


"We do music performances in there and we do assemblies every week in there," Coughlin said, adding students get to "strut their stuff" in the space to demonstrate to each other what they've been learning.


In the past, Gill was one of them: The "Vince Gill: Back in Class" concert will find the 18 Grammy-winning performer on the first stage he ever played.


Cleveland, 2725 N.W. 23rd, was built in 1928. It underwent renovations and reopened in 1994 as an art and science specialty school, garnering A+ School designation in 2002.


"We strive to make Cleveland the lighthouse in our community," Coughlin said, in a message on the school's Web site. "What a wonderful job I have working in a school where expectations are high and excellence is rewarded."


For ticket information, call Oklahoma Today at 230-8450. "? Gazette staff

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