Walk the paths of the internationally renowned Heart In the Park labyrinth from the cast-iron pausing stone at the entrance to the red heart-shaped goal in the center. As you depart, touch the wheat on the stone, to leave a bit of yourself with Heart In the Park. Located in Centennial Park in the historic district of downtown Tonkawa, the labyrinth is bordered by an historical timeline of the area. Picnic facilities are available.
Our little town of Tonkawa, OK, in 2006 was looking for a project to honor our state centennial celebration which would be coming up in 2007. Local artist, Audrey Schmitz, was challenged to come up with an idea for such a project. Tonkawa, is known as the Wheatheart of Oklahoma. To Incorporate both the wheat and the heart she conceived the idea of a heart shaped labyrinth, with a pausing stone embellished with a stalk of wheat. The labyrinth would also be surrounded by an historical timeline of the city of Tonkawa. After much discussion and other project proposals being presented, the labyrinth idea was voted on and approved.
After researching the construction of labyrinths, our committee of 15 dedicated and hardworking volunteers, consulted with and hired labyrinth builder, Marty Kermeen of Illinois, to continue the design process and turn the idea into an actual labyrinth. Marty is one of the best, if not the best, labyrinth builders in the world. He and his wife Debi own and operate the company Labyrinths In Stone, a division of their parent company, Artistic Pavers.
We found out that it is one thing to talk about a heart shaped labyrinth, and another thing to design one that can actually be built, while retaining the inherent heart shape. Marty made many drawings and they were narrowed down to one. With the assistance of labyrinth historian and author, Jeff Saward, of the UK, Marty presented us with a beautiful design that met all of the requirements.
Marty and his assistant Jorge Puga, arrived in Tonkawa on May 17, 2007, and 18 days later, the labyrinth was completed. Marty and Jorge are truly amazing to watch. They don't know the meaning of a day off once they start the construction of a project. After seeing them produce this beautiful labyrinth, in only 18 days, and with such care and meticulous perfection, everyone who comes to see the project, during its construction and since its completion, have come away with respect and admiration for what Marty and Jorge have done.
The images showing the construction of the labyrinth were taken by local photographer, Ken Crowder. After realizing the importance of documenting a project of this magnitude, he showed up for parts of each day during the process. His philosophy was, “It isn’t going to happen again, so we’ve got to document it now.” He also realized the importance of showing as much of the community support for the project as possible. As they say, “It takes a village.”
We hope that after viewing the photographs of the construction of the Heart In the Park labyrinth, you come away with an understanding and appreciation of all of the effort and hard work that went into turning a dream into reality!
The Guys featuring NOC Roustabout Alumni will headline the Full Moon Concert on Thursday, August 31 in Tonkawa Centennial Park, 301 East Grand, Tonkawa, OK. The musically eclectic band features four NOC Roustabout alumni including Brandon Haynes (lead-vocals/piano), Brad Matson, (auxiliary percussion), John Shwayat (bass), Hunter Vogele (drum-set), and Erik Willadsen (guitar) who is also a NOC graduate. The audience will enjoy a broad selection of covers including pop, rock, and some good ole’ oldies! Roustabout alumni include Krista Hembree, Tim Muniz, Christopher James, Taryn Pruett, Kenneth Thomas, Alyssa Baker, Faith Crum, Regan Clapper, and more!
Haynes teaches music and is the vocal director and musical arranger for the Roustabouts at Northern Oklahoma College (NOC). He is also the director of music and worship arts at First United Methodist Church in Tonkawa and the artistic director for the Choral Arts Society of Northern Oklahoma (CASONO) Ponca City community choir. Haynes also performs frequently at TS Fork Restaurant in Tonkawa. His debut album entitled Brandon Haynes: With a Little Help from my Friends is soon to be released! The album features many of Haynes’ musician friends and local artists including Ciara Brooke of Five-Year Gap and Broadway-performing friend Isaiah Bailey.
Vogele (aka Hunter Grant in the music realm) connected with Haynes through church praise-band collaborations and the NOC Roustabouts. In 2019, he co-produced his debut solo album with Haynes entitled Hunter Grant: Pieces and is available on various streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple Music. Shwayat is a music graduate from NOC and frequently performs bass guitar in the area for various groups. Outside of music, Shwayat is a deputy treasurer at the Kay County Treasurer’s Office. Willadsen is a personal banker at Gateway First Bank in Tonkawa and also works as a ranch hand. He relishes performing guitar with The Guys and also in the band Hambone.
The family-friendly outdoor concert begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Heart in the Park Pavilion and is free to all. NOC is supporting this community event and will host an information booth with giveaways, bottled water and games.
Since bench seating in the park is limited, the public is invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Pets on leashes are welcome and restroom facilities are located across the street in the Santa Fe Depot. Throughout the evening, concert goers may walk the world’s only heart-shaped labyrinth, and the evening concludes with the traditional group howl at the full moon.
Northern Oklahoma College and NOC Foundation joins North Central Oklahoma Arts Council and Heart in the Park Committee to sponsor this event. Next month’s Full Moon Concert by the Hayes Brothers Band is scheduled for 6:30 pm Friday, September 29. In case of inclement weather or for more information, check for Full Moon Concert updates at https://heartinthepark.org/ and on NCOAC Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TonkawaArts/ or by messaging 580-628-0108.
Earth Day Labyrinth Walk
Five Year Gap took the stage for their Full Moon Concert debut on Wednesday, July 13, 2022. The talented duo, Ciara Brooke and Brody Farrow, combine elements of alternative rock and folk for a sound that is uniquely theirs. Audience members will be treated to their original music along with classic pop and rock covers from past and present. Siblings Brooke (vocals) and Farrow (drums) are five years apart in age, but are more like twins in many ways. Ciara was always singing and entertaining in her youth, and although Brody didn’t get into music until middle school, he was more of an entertainer than he thought, constantly cracking jokes and making people laugh. Their relationship grew into becoming best friends in adulthood. In January of 2021, after living together during the pandemic and making music from their home studio, the official band, Five Year Gap, was born. Please enjoy this energetic and driving rendition of Zombie! Full Moon concerts always take place in Tonkawa Centennial Park, 301 East Grand, Tonkawa, OK.
Prairie Fire took the stage for their Full Moon Concert debut on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. The talented musicians performed a blend of folk, bluegrass, country, and Newgrass, echoing the sounds of the past with a youthful vibrancy. Prairie Fire formed in 2008, comprised of siblings who grew up in the Ponca City, OK area– Hannah, Luke, Amy, Ashley, and Abigail Ballinger, family friend, Josiah Colle, and, more recently, younger sibling, Isaac Ballinger. Prairie Fire released two albums in 2015, have won awards in Bluegrass Band contests and have also performed at venues in Missouri and Texas. The Full Moon Concert featured Hannah, violin; Amy, mandolin; Ashley, guitar; Abigail, bass; and Isaac, banjo. While the group dispersed as they grew into adulthood, members of Prairie Fire have enjoyed a recent resurgence of opportunities to share their music with the community, bringing old songs back to life in revived appreciation of faith, artistry, and heritage. The Full Moon Concerts always take place in Tonkawa Centennial Park, 301 East Grand, Tonkawa, OK.
Maple Union was performing for the Full Moon Concert series, playing on the May full moon, May 15, 2022. The group members are Stephen Harwood, (keyboard and vocals), Dave Roberts, (bass guitar and vocals), Billy Thompson, (percussion) and John Bartolozzi, (lead guitar). They are from Enid, OK.
Get ready for a great drum solo!!
Holly and the Guys performed at the August Full Moon Concert, on the evening of Sunday, August 22.
Harwood, Roberts, Thompson and Bartolozzi performed for the Full Moon Concert series, playing on the July, full moon, July 23, 2021.
This is our 3rd time to have Morgan Reynolds, from Stillwater, OK, perform at our Full Moon Concert series. She usually bring her band, but this time she performed without the guys! Enjoy!
We just had to add this video to the section. This is the first time we heard the wonderful talent of Morgan when she was a guest performer with the renowned performers Edgar Cruz and Michael Kelsey. This was a performance at one of the Chair-ity event auctions. These are yearly fundraising events held by the North Central Oklahoma Arts Council, who are the tremendous sponsor of the Full Moon Concert series held at the Heart In the Park. This event was held at TS Fork restaurant here in Tonkawa.
The Hayes Brothers Band, from Ponca City, OK performs for our September Full Moon concert. Audrey Schmitz gives an introduction of the group, and talks about the North Central Oklahoma Arts Council, the sponsor of the concert series. Enjoy!