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Oakland University Pontiac Initiative

North Foundation Hall, Room 121
318 Meadow Brook Rd.
Rochester, MI 48309-4454
(location map)
(248) 370-4455
[email protected]

choir of singers in white robes with a woman and man in black in front of them

Arts and Culture

The Arts and Culture pillar works to promote performance arts to elevate Grizzly and Pontiac Pride. Pillar leads consist of locally recognized musicians that work to connect and heal spirits through the arts.

Pillar Leads

Headshot of Mark Stone
Mark Stone
OU Lead
World Music and Percussion
[email protected]
Irma Hayes head shot
Irma Hayes

Pontiac Lead
Pontiac Arts Commission
[email protected]
Audra Pieknik head shot
Audra Pieknik
Community Partner
The Art Experience
[email protected]
  • Increase the presence of, and access to, arts events in Pontiac
  • Promote and build a community that supports arts education in Pontiac
  • Provide community-engaged learning opportunities for Oakland University students in the fine and performing arts field
  • Elevate the spirit of our communities through the unifying power of the arts
Gospel Explosion
The Project Upward Bound Gospel Explosion is an annual event in which PUB scholars present their self-authored/choreographed/produced artistic expressions in conjunction with performances by local singers, dancers, mimes and more. The OU-Pontiac Initiative looks forward to hosting Gospel Explosion II to benefit Project Upward Bound Scholarships.

For more information contact Project Upward Bound Director, Geraldine E. Graham at [email protected].
Soul Food Concert
In order to celebrate the oneness of humanity with artists of varied cultural, spiritual and faith backgrounds, Pontiac Arts Commissioners Dwayne Lyons and Mark Stone initiated the Soul Food Concert Series in 2017. In December 2018, Soul Food received the OU-Pontiac Initiative Community Impact Sponsorship Award for its inspirational music and words to nurture the soul and elevate the spirit.
  • OU Jazz and World Music with Regina Carter
    Wednesday, March 30 - Saturday, April 2
    Residency at the Flagstar Strand Theatre

  • Akwaaba, Ngoma, and Pan-Jumbies with Regina Carter
    Wednesday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m.
    OU African Ensemble (Akwaaba) will present Dagara gyil xylophone music of Ghana; World Percussion Ensemble (Ngoma) will perform Dagomba praise drumming of Ghana, along with original arrangements; and Steel Band (Pan-Jumbies) will feature Caribbean music arranged for the steel pan. Mark Stone and Patrick Fitzgibbon, directors. 

  • Oakland Jazz Singers, Golden Grizzly Jazz Singers and Jazz Band with Regina Carter
    Thursday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m.
    The Oakland Jazz Singers and Golden Grizzly Jazz Singers, led and accompanied by Scott Gwinnell, are close-mic vocal jazz ensembles dedicated to performing contemporary and traditional jazz vocal arrangements. The OU Jazz Band, led by Tim Blackmon, continues to uphold the American Big Band Tradition with a collection of fine soloist and ensemble players performing jazz music from the past, present, and the future.  

  • Latin Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo and Creative Jazz Ensemble with Regina Carter
    Friday, April 1 at 8 p.m.
    The Latin Jazz Ensemble, directed by Enrique Rios-Ellis, performs dynamic selections featuring a variety of Latin rhythms, celebrating the breadth of the Americas, spanning from the United States to Mexico, Cuba, and Brazil. The Creative Jazz Ensemble, directed by Mark Stone, explores improvisation within the American experimental jazz tradition, taking an organic approach to musicking that transcends but includes jazz. The Jazz Combo is directed by Marion Hayden and performs jazz styles from traditional to contemporary in a small ensemble setting. 

  • Community Jazz Workshop with Regina Carter
    Saturday, April 2 from 12 - 2 p.m.
    This interactive workshop will give students and community members an opportunity to engage with Regina Carter on the fundamentals of musicality and improvisation. Participants are strongly encouraged to bring their instruments as there will be opportunities to play.
    To attend, RSVP via email to [email protected].

  • Oakland University Jazz Collective with Regina Carter
    Saturday, April 2 at 3 p.m.
    The OU jazz faculty — including Mark Stone, Tim Blackmon, Scott Gwinnell, Mark Kieme, Marion Hayden, Gayelynn McKinney, Terry Kimura, and Enrique Rios-Ellis — will perform with OU artist-in-residence and acclaimed violinist Regina Carter. Featuring compositions by Djavan, Geri Allen, Sara Cassey, Thad Jones, Mark Stone and Scott Gwinnell.