COVID-19 Updates

Update: March 19, 2020

Dear Symphony Friends,

We sincerely hope that this finds you in good health. The Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale greatly appreciates the outpouring of support we have received while navigating this uncharted territory and we look forward to when we can once again enrich lives through live music—whether on stage or out in our community.

Many of you have asked about the status of the BSOC’s programs and collaborations. The staff and Board of Directors are grateful for your patience as we evaluate our options in this rapidly-evolving situation with COVID-19. We hope to have more information for you within the week.

In the meantime, we invite you to visit billingssymphony.org for free access to our archive of audio-recorded performances. Music heals and inspires no matter the circumstances! Continue listening to free classical music around the world here.


Our way of life is changing every day, and the BSOC is working hard to adapt in the best interests of our musicians, patrons, staff and volunteers. We’re in this together, we are as committed as ever, and will do everything in our power to take care of one another.
Thank you for your continued patronage and support of the
Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale

March 23, 2020

The Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale Cancels or Postpones
Remaining Events for the 2019-2020 Season

Billings MT- The Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale has canceled or postponed all remaining concerts, events, and outreaches until future notice, following the directive of Montana Governor Steve Bullock, that recommends limiting public gatherings to no more than 10 people to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The BSO&C’s highest priority remains the safety and well-being of our patrons, musicians, and staff. We are disappointed that we cannot perform for you, and are examining different opportunities to continue to Enrich Lives through Music during this time.

The following performances have been canceled or postponed:

March 14, 2020- West Side Story: Symphony Concert Version-Postponed, date TBD

April 18, 2020- Rachmaninoff-Canceled

April 19, 2020- 2020-2021 Orchestra Auditions-Postponed

May 2, 2020- The Who Cares Symphony Benefit-Canceled

Ticket Information

Tickets for postponed performances will be honored on the rescheduled date. Patrons with questions are encouraged to call the BSOC Box Office at 406-252-3610 or email symphony@billingssymphony.org. Please be aware, while our physical office is closed until future notice, the staff are working remotely and your inquiry might take longer than normal to answer. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Exchanges, Refunds, and Donations

As a community-supported symphony, the BSOC needs your support now more than ever. We ask that you consider donating your ticket back to the BSOC for a tax credit. You can also exchange your ticket for another performance during the 2020-2021 season, exchange your ticket for house credit to use at a later date, or request a refund to your original form of payment. Exchanges and refund requests must be made in writing or sent by email no later than fourteen days after the canceled scheduled performance and may take up to 90 days after said event to process. No refunds will be given on transaction fees.

We here at the BSOC want to thank all of our patrons and supporters during this unprecedented time. In an on-going effort to Enrich Lives through Music, we will be regularly posting music education and other content to our social media platforms to help those with school-aged children at home. Like and follow our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages to keep up to date.

What’s coming?

The BSOC is looking forward to announcing our 2020-2021 season. Our 70th Anniversary season celebrates the 250th birthday of Beethoven and showcases local and national talent. New season brochures are coming soon. To get on the BSOC’s mailing list, visit https://billingssymphony.org/contact-us.

Mark your calendars for our main summertime event, Symphony in the Park. We have joined with the Yellowstone Art Museum and SummerFair, turning this event into the ultimate Fun Family Friendly weekend at Pioneer Park. SummerFair begins Friday, June 26th and ends Sunday, June 28th. Symphony in the Park is Sunday, June 28th from 4-9 pm. We are excited to bring live music to the Billings Community once again!

We are working on an alternative virtual benefit to replace the Who Cares Symphony Benefit. Details coming soon.

Same Symphony, New Look! The BSOC is rebranding!

What can you do to help?

Consider a donation in lieu of a voucher or refund. We are also deeply grateful to donors’ continued contributions even without a spring production. Tell your friends about the important role we play in the fabric of our community and ask them to join you in supporting us during this challenging time.

The Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale (BSOC) is the largest professional orchestra in Montana. Established in 1951, the BSOC strives to enrich lives through music. Consisting of over 135 musicians, the BSO&C serves a regional population of 400,000 people located throughout South Central and Eastern Montana, and Northeastern Wyoming by introducing music to children, youth, adults, and seniors through Explore Music!, the BSOC’s community engagement program. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

March 26, 2020

Dear Symphony Friends,

The BSOC greatly appreciates the outpouring of support we have received while navigating this uncharted territory and we look forward to when we can once again bring live music to our community. The safety of our BSOC family and our patrons is our top priority, so at this time we are announcing the postponement or cancellation of all concerts and events through May 15.

  • March 14, 2020- West Side Story: Symphony Concert Version – Postponed, date TBD
  • April 18, 2020- Rachmaninoff – Cancelled
  • April 19, 2020 – 2020-2021 Orchestra Auditions – Postponed, date TBD
  • May 2, 2020 – The Who Cares Symphony Benefit – Cancelled

If you have a ticket to any of the above events, you can contact the BSOC office to:

  • Donate your unused ticket for a tax-deductible donation. Right now, your donations to the BSOC are more critical than ever. As we navigate our way through this unprecedented shutdown, please consider donating your ticket(s) to provide the vital support needed for the music and musicians that inspire and connect our community.
  • Exchange your ticket for future performance. Exchange your ticket(s) for full-value, which can be applied towards any future Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale concert, including the rescheduled West Side Story: Symphony Concert Version (Based on availability.)
  • Receive a credit on your BSOC account. We’ll put the funds on your account to use toward another performance next season. These funds can be used toward single ticket or subscription purchases, bases on availability.
  • Receive a refund. If you have tickets to an above event, you may choose a full refund.

Many of our supporters have kindly asked, “What can I do to help?” Here are a few things:

  • Consider a donation in lieu of an exchange or refund. We are also deeply grateful to donors’ continued contributions even without a spring production.
  • Tell your friends about the important role we play in the fabric of our community and ask them to join you in supporting us during this challenging time.

Please continue to stay in touch with us through our email updates and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you know a BSOC patron who does not have email, please relay our updates and pass along our greetings and well-wishes.

Thank you,

The BSOC Office Team

P.S. Listen to Billings Symphony Live until we can perform live for you!

The Who Cares Symphony Benefit

The Who Cares Symphony Benefit

Due to COVID-19, The Who Cares Symphony Benefit has has been canceled. We appreciate your understanding.

If you would like to donate to the BSOC, please follow the link below.

billingssymphony.org/support-your-symphony/

Who Cares about the Billings Community?
Who Cares about music education in the schools?
Who Cares about providing music to nursing home residents?
Who Cares about providing positive musical influence to inmates in the Montana Women’s Prison?
Who Cares about pediatric and cancer patients?
Who Cares about long-term care patients at St. Vincent & Billings Clinic?

WE DO!

We know you do too!

Join us for our first Annual Who Cares Symphony Benefit on Saturday, May 2, 2020, in the Grand ballroom at the Northern Hotel and show us exactly how much you care!

Featuring special guests John Roberts y Pan Blanco!

Come for Dinner, stay for the music! Featuring Mexican fare with all the fixings, and of course dessert!
Tickets $150
Starts at 6:00 pm

Not in the mood for dinner and just what to listen to John Roberts y Pan Blanco? You can do that too!
Tickets $50
Starts at 8:00 pm

Great Food, Drinks, Live & Silent Auction, and Exceptional Music!
What more could you ask for in a benefit?

The Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale participate in more than 100 free education and outreach programs each year! Not only do we serve the above-mentioned areas, we also do so much more!

Musicians in the Schools, Adventure in Music Days (AiM Day),  Master Classes, and our Rural Rhythms, programs are just a few ways the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale are using the power of music to inspire and teach our community, students, and music lovers throughout Southeastern Montana and Northeastern Wyoming.

We believe in the power of music. Music heals. Music soothes. Music teaches. Music inspires.

Help us share the music by supporting The Who Cares Symphony Benefit.

 

 

Symphony in the Park 2020

 

 

 

June 28, 2020, at Pioneer Park

Join us for the 49th annual Symphony in the Park! The largest concert, and most visible component of Explore Music!, wraps up another season and introduces many to live, symphonic music. This is a favorite Billings tradition-bring your blanket or lawn chair and relax to an evening of music under out big Montana sky while enjoying picnic fare from participating food sponsors.

Guest Artists

John Roberts y Pan Blanco

Food Trucks and other Refreshments:

 

Program

  • 4 p.m. Instrument Petting Zoo
  • 5 p.m. Billings Community Band Concert
  • 6:45 p.m. Young Conductors’ Contest
  • 7 p.m Billings Symphony Orchestra Concert

Reserved Seating Area: Enjoy our reserved creek-side seating area with picnic tables so you can have it Made in the Shade! Purchase your $10 wristband at the BSO&C office in downtown Billings (2721 2nd Ave. N. Suite 350) or at Symphony in the Park Seating is limited – first-come, first-served.

Reserved Parking: For only $5 (Cash Only) get a reserved parking spot located in the Senior High parking lot. The golf cart shuttle will be available to drive you right to the action! Limited spots available – first-come, first-served. Handicapped parking (with proper permit) available for free.

 

Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective

Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite
Saturday, December 7 | 7:30 pm
Petro Hall | MSU-Billings

The MSU-Billings Music Department and The Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective Present: A Performance of Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite. Directed by Dr. Scott Jeppesen.

Special Guests: Skyview High School Choir, directed by Amy Schendel
Doug Nagel, vocals
Ian Vo, Saxophone, Los Angeles, CA
Josh Aquiar, trumpet, Los Angeles, CA
Joe Gilman, piano, Sacramento, CA
Also Featuring Big Band Christmas Favorites!

The Nutcracker Suite

Arr. by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, by Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky
  1. Overture
  2. Toot Toot Tootie Toot (Dance fo the Reed-Pipes)
  3. Peanut Brittle Brigade (March)
  4. Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy)
  5. Entr’acte
  6. Volga Vouty (Russian Dance)
  7. Chinoiserie (Chinese Dance)
  8. Danse of the Floreadores (Walts of the Flowers)
  9. Arabesque Cookie (Arabian Dance)

Intermission

Deck the Halls (from Cool Side of Yuletide)

-arr. Francisco J. Nunez & Jim Papoulis
Skyview Choir

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Hugh Martin/Ralph Blane, arr. Scott Jeppesen
Skyview Choir

Nutcracker Jingles

Words & music by James Pierpont, additional music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, arr. Chuck Bridwell
Skyview Choir

White Christmas

Irving Berlin, arr. Scott Jeppesen

Angels We Have Heard on High

arr. Craig Courtney
Skyview Choir

Christmas Time Is Here

Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi, arr. Scott Jeppesen

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Johnny Marks, arr. Scott Jeppesen
Skyview Choir

 

ROCKY MOUNTAIN JAZZ COLLECTIVE BIG BAND

Saxophones
Ian Vo | Alto Saxophone/Clarinet
Amy Schendel | Alto Saxophone/Clarinet
Scott Jeppesen |Tenor Saxophone/Clarinet
Matt Austin | Tenor Saxophone/Clarinet
Mady Johnson | Baritone Saxophone/Bass Clarinet

Trumpets
Mark Fenderson | Trumpet, Tamborine
Josh Aquiar | Trumpet
Tully Olsen | Trumpet
Tyler Hancoop | Trumpet

Trombones
John Roberts | Trombone
Eric Richards | Trombone
Chris Fite | Trombone
Aaron Schendel | Bass Trombone

Rhythm
Joe Gilman | Piano
Alex Nauman | Guitar
Michael Steele | Bass
Matt Devitt | Drums

 

ABOUT THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN JAZZ COLLECTIVE

The Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective is an organization started in 2019 by highly respected members of the jazz community in Montana.

Through education outreach in the community and regular performance in an environment that is best suited for listening, the mission of the RMJC is to create a greater awareness and appreciation for jazz music and history in the Rocky Mountain region.

RMJC aims to increase appreciation and awareness of jazz music through the performance of themed programs consisting of material with cultural and historical significance to the history and development of jazz.

SCOTT JEPPESEN
Artistic Director Saxophones, Clarinet, Flute

Scott Jeppesen is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at Montana State University Billings teaching Music Theory, Ear Training, Music History, Jazz Combo, and private lessons on saxophone, clarinet, and flute.

Scott is an alumni of the University of Southern California where he earned Bachelor of Music (BM), Master of Music (MM), and Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degrees in Jazz Studies.

Prior to accepting the position at MSUB, Scott lived in Los Angeles for seventeen years. In that time, he performed with Maria Schneider, Bobby McFerrin, Burt Bacharach, Lalo Schifrin, Alan Pasqua, Bill Watrous, Shelly Berg, Manhattan Transfer, Stevie Wonder, Nancy Wilson, Artie Shaw, Bob Mintzer, Dave Brubeck, Natalie Cole, Louis Bellson, Al Jarreau, Steve Miller, Randy Brecker and James Moody…just to name a few. Scott has composed and arranged for many different artists including Steve Miller, Ramsey Lewis, Natalie Cole, Ruben Studdard, Dave Koz, Ledisi, Burt Bacharach, Monica Mancini, Scott Martin, and the PBS Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, which aired in the spring of 2007.

In 2009, he cofounded Cultivating Creative Minds along with his wife, Roxanne, which provides art instruction to elementary school-aged students throughout Santa Clarita, CA.

Scott has also performed clinics for many colleges, high schools, and middle schools around northern and southern California including University of Southern California, Cal State University Sacramento, Brubeck Institute at University of the Pacific, Cal State University Northridge, Cal State University Sonoma, American River College, West Ranch High School, Canyon High School, and Saugus High School. In addition to clinics, Scott is in demand as a featured guest artist. In 2014, Scott was the featured artist with California State University Sacramento jazz ensembles where they performed the music of the Joe Henderson Big Band. In the same year, Scott was the guest artist for the SuperJazz at the Ranch festival in Stevenson Ranch, CA where he performed a duo set with Russell Ferrante of the legendary Yellowjackets.

JOHN ROBERTS
Trombone

John began playing the piano at the age of 5 while living on an isolated ranch in Southeastern Montana. At age 11, he picked up the trombone to play in the grade school band. After graduating in 1996 from Montana State University Billings with a BA in Music Performance, John moved to Los Angeles to earn his Master of Fine Arts in Western Orchestral Trombone Performance from California Institute of the Arts.

Feeling equally comfortable in orchestral and commercial music realms, John has been touring, recording, and performing in Los Angeles, around the U.S., and around the world, including Mexico, India, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia and Africa. Tours include Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca (Congolese/Cuban), Bobby Womack (Soul), Los Pinguos (Argentine), The Temptations, The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and others. Other performances and recordings include multiple American and Latin Grammy concerts, Fallout Boy, Chris Botti, Feist, Sting, Dr. Dre, Jill Scott, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, Frank Sinatra Jr., Chaka Khan, Burt Bacharach, The Ojays, Cher,Beverly Crawford, Christina Aguilera, NPR, PBS, Disney, and others.

After 17 years based in Los Angeles, John is currently on staff at MSU Billings teaching Jazz, music theory, low brass, and world music. He regularly works and performs as a clinician and guest artist in schools, continuing to hone his skills as an educator by sharing the “real world” of music with his students.

John is active in the Montana and Los Angeles performing and studio scenes as an arranger, bandleader, session player and composer. Recent projects include: “Straight Outta Compton”, Ricardo Lemvo’s new Cuban-West African album, and John’s own world-fusion record “Soul y Pimienta”, which blends Cuban, African and American soul and jazz elements.

When not dabbling in the world of music, John is likely found (or not found!) gallivanting about the mountains or prairie via foot, 4WD, skis or mountain bike.

MARK FENDERSON
Trumpet

Dr. Mark Fenderson is the Associate Professor of High Brass at Montana State University Billings. Dr. Fenderson also conducts the Symphonic Band.

He earned his B.A. from the University of Southern Maine, his M.M. from the University of South Florida, and his D.M.A. in trumpet performance from the University of North Texas.

He is the principal trumpet of the Billings Symphony and the Rimrock Opera Orchestra as well as a member of the Yellowstone Chamber Players and the Billings Brass. During the summer Dr. Fenderson is on the faculty of the Red Lodge Music Festival.

A native of Maine, he was a member of the Portland Symphony Orchestra before moving to Florida where he taught at the University of Tampa and was a staff musician at Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay.

ERIC OLSON
Piano

A native of Powell, Wyoming, Erik Olson has proven an exciting new addition to the Billings, MT music scene. His talents as a pianist, woodwind specialist, composer, and educator have kept him busy performing in the northwest region.

Having two musicians as parents, Erik took to music at a young age. He began taking piano lessons at 5 and was performing for crowds by the time he was 8.  Upon entering high school, Erik quickly gained recognition as one of the best young musicians in the state and was already playing regularly with some of the most prominent performers in the rocky mountain region. During his secondary education at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, and at University of Wyoming, Erik won awards at numerous classical and jazz competitions around the country.

Currently, Erik plays in a number of well known Montana groups, namely Parker Brown and the Bleeding Hearts, Alex Nauman Organ Trio, Kyle Shobe, and the Walk ’em Boys, The Walkers Trio, and The Big Sky Trio. He has also performed and recorded with various Country, Classical, Funk, Rock, R&B, Hip Hop, and Soul groups around the area. At only 28 years old, Erik has performed with jazz legends Stefon Harris, Steve Turre, and the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Other notable artists that he has performed with include Nick Mancini, Ronnie Bedford, Kansas, Dave Pietro, and Eric Reed.

In 2013, Erik accepted a position at Sheridan College as a Piano and Saxophone instructor. Erik also is one of the founders of Allied Music, which is a well known performing arts academy located in Billings, MT.   For the past 5 years, Erik has played and taught in and around the Billings area where he continues to expand Montana’s music scene through his playing and teaching.

PARKER BROWN
Bass

Specializing in double bass, electric bass and guitar, Parker Brown is a private instructor, songwriter, and freelance and studio musician.

At his private studio in Allied Music, he manages a full studio of bassists and guitarists with skill levels ranging from beginner to advanced. Parker also works as an adjunct faculty member at Rocky Mountain College and Montana State University Billings, and currently performs with well-known projects in the region such as:
Parker Brown and the Bleeding Hearts, Big Sky Trio, Grant Jones Band, Whitney Center Jazz Orchestra, Kyle Shobe and the Walk ’em Boys; Wordsongs with Poet Dave Caserio, and The Hellroaring.

As a freelance musician Parker has performed with jazz musicians Jeff Hamilton, Ronnie Bedford, Jack Walrath, John Stowell, Ronnie Blake, John Harbaugh, and Nick Mancini.

As a studio musician Parker has recorded bass and guitar on over twenty albums, and his first solo album, We Were Young, won best album in 2016 for the Billings music awards.

MATT DEVITT
Drums

Matt Devitt has been an active musician and instructor in the Northwest area for more than 20 years. He is a founding member of END ever, Outpost Tuney Hall of Fame winner for the Hard Rock category. He also is a member of John Roberts Y Pan Blanco. Devitt performed with the Billings Symphony Orchestra for over 15 years. He has played with several big bands and is well known in the musical community of Montana.

Devitt was a featured clinician at the Montana Day of Percussion in 2007 and 2015. He has been teaching drums at Hansen Music for 18 years and has been an applied percussion instructor at Montana State University Billings since 2005 and Northwest College from 2014-2018.

LUKE KESTNER
Percussion

Luke Kestner is the Instructor of Percussion Studies at Montana State University-Billings.

He completed his Bachelor of Music from MSU Billings and received his Masters of Music from UNLV. Luke served as Principal Percussionist for the Billings Symphony for 8 years and has also performed with numerous ensembles including the Las Vegas Philharmonic, Henderson Civic Symphony, Rimrock Opera Company, Billings Studio Theatre, and Venture Theatre. Luke has been a clinician and adjudicator for many music festivals throughout Montana. He was a national finalist in the collegiate division of the 2005 MTNA competition, received outstanding soloist awards for festivals in Los Angeles and New Orleans, and has been a featured soloist with the Billings Symphony. Luke has performed throughout the United States and Australia.

Upcoming Events

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Symphony Sneak Peek

Symphony Sneak Peek: Wed 9/18/19 | 6:00 – 7:00 pm

Join Maestra Anne Harrigan and members of the BSO&C in the Taproom at the Pub Station for a sneak peek of the BSO&C’s 2019-2020 Symphony Season Live at the Lincoln Center. Maestra Harrigan will focus on the jazz-inspired opening night, including stories and histories of Gershwin and Ravel. She will also provide insights into the whole season. This is an opportunity to learn about what the symphony has to offer beyond the concert hall this upcoming season. This is a Free event with a no-host bar and light snacks provided.

The Staff

Ignacio Barrón Viela: Executive Director
ignacio@billingssymphony.org

Brad Constantine: General Manager
brad@billingssymphony.org

Candy Holzer: Director of Education
candy@billingssymphony.org

Michelle Dawson: Manager of Marketing & Public Relations
michelle@billingssymphony.org

Sandy Cantesano: Manager of Development & Events
sandy@billingssymphony.org

Holly Robinson: Office & Bookkeeping Coordinator
holly@billingssymphony.org

Lisa Bollman: Orchestra Librarian/Operations Manager
librarian@billingssymphony.org

Matt Glover: Manager of Artistic Operations
production@billingssymphony.org

Tyler Menzales: Social Media Coordinator
tyler@billingssymphony.org

Robin Aalseth: Chorale Librarian

Rachmaninoff

Due to COVID-19, Rachmaninoff has has been canceled. We appreciate your understanding.

If you would like to donate to the BSOC, please follow the link below.

billingssymphony.org/support-your-symphony/

Lincoln Center
April 18, 2020  | 7:30 pm
Concert Cues | 6:45 pm
The symphony season ends with one of the finest pianists of his generation and the last great Russian composer, Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Featuring the return of MASO winner, Tanner Jorden playing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with special side-by-side performance with the Billings Youth Orchestra.

Tanner Jorden
16-year-old Tanner Jorden’s current teacher, Dorothea Cromley, is the former Professor of Piano at Montana State University–Billings. In 2015, the Billings native began participating in—and winning—competitions locally and internationally. He competed in the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition in November 2016.

Tanner won the state Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) competition in 2016, 2017 and 2018, receiving honorable mentions in the Junior and Senior divisions at Northwest regionals. In January 2019, he won the Northwest regional competition and competed in the National MTNA competition in March 2019. In January 2017, he received first place in the Junior division of the Montana Association of Symphony Orchestras (MASO) Concerto Competition, and in April of that year performed a debut recital at MSU–B as a Connections student. Tanner made his orchestral debut with the Great Falls Symphony in February 2017, and has since performed with the Billings, Helena, Glacier and Northwest College (Powell, WY) Symphonies. In January 2019, Tanner again received first place in the 15th biennial MASO Young Artist Competition, this time in the Senior division.

 Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2
Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto was the first piece he composed after his long bout of depression and writer’s block. It was his great comeback that became a smash hit, bringing Rachmaninoff back to his former self. Dedicated with gratitude to Dr. Dahl, the Piano Concerto No. 2 premiered on November 9, 1901, with Rachmaninoff performing and his cousin, Alexander Siloti, conducting, and is considered by many to be the greatest piano concerto ever written.

 Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No 2. In E Minor
After the disaster of his first symphony, Rachmaninoff was hesitant to begin composing again. The success of his Piano Concerto No. 2, however, instilled him with confidence, but not so much that he was ready to let the world know he was back at it. He wrote the Symphony No. 2 in secrecy for about a year, when word of his newest composition leaked out in the press. He confessed to a friend: “I have composed a symphony. It’s true! … I finished it a month ago and immediately put it aside. It was a severe worry to me and I’m not going to think about it anymore.” But think about it he did, and the hard work and turmoil paid off. A year later, Rachmaninoff conducted the premiere in Saint Petersburg in January 1908, with great, reassuring success.

Upcoming Events

 

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West Side Story in Concert

West Side Story: Symphony Concert Version is postponed until further notice.

Lincoln Center

Postponed | TBD

First time in Montana! Witness the forbidden love, feuding families, and rival gangs in this modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.

Based on a Conception of Jerome Robbins
Book by Arthur Laurents
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Originally Produced on Broadway by Robert E. Griffith and Harold S. Prince by Arrangement with Roger L. Stevens.

West Side Story is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI)
All authorized performance materials are supplied by MTI www.MTIShows.com

Featuring Jerome Robbins’ award-winning adaptation with music from Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and book by Arthur Laurents with a cast of Broadway professionals.

The creative dream team of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim challenged the status quo with their release of West Side Story on Broadway in 1957. It became a morality play an entire generation could relate to. It dared to talk (sing) about the social issues that were prevalent all over the nation. Issues like acceptance, tolerance, racism, and the American Dream. Does everyone have the right to live their lives as they see fit, or does that right only belong to those who are already living in America? Issues that still ring true today. The release of West Side Story was so against the norm of the Rogers and Hammerstein saturated Broadway musicals, the producers had a hard time getting Columbia Records to produce the original cast recording, even though it was nominated for multiple Tony Awards. It has since become an iconic coming-of-age story known the world over.

Jessica Soza (Maria)
Jessica Soza has had the pleasure of singing in 10 cities and 7 countries all over Europe. Her most notable credits involve playing Maria with the international tour of West Side Story in 152 performances. She graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles and obtained her BA from CSU, San Bernardino. Upon graduation, she moved to New York, during which she left to tour Europe with West Side Story. She returned to the United States after the tour closed and is now pursuing her MFA in Acting and Pedagogical Performance at CSU, Long Beach.

Marc Koeck (Tony)

A native of Fargo, North Dakota, Marc was most recently seen co-starring on the CBS hit show “Madame Secretary” and new series “The Code.” Other credits include:  ‘Oggle’ in John Rando’s production of “High Button Shoes” off-Broadway at NY CityCenter Encores, featured soloist in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, staring as ‘Tony’ in the 50th-anniversary international company of West Side Story, as well playing “Tony” in critically acclaimed productions at The Guthrie Theatre, Florida’s Asolo Repertory Theatre, and Orlando Shakespeare Theatre.  Proud Boston Conservatory Graduate.

Beau Hutchings (Riff)

Beau is honored to be a part of this wonderful concert experience with the Billings Symphony Orchestra. Originally from Southwest Michigan, he is a graduate of Western Michigan University’s Music Theatre Performance Program. Beau currently resides in New York City. Beau’s professional theatrical credits include Riff in the International Tour of “West Side Story’. Snowboy in the Broadway National Touring production of “West Side Story”. Riff in Fireside Theatre’s “West Side Story”. Action in New Bedford Festival Theatre’s “West Side Story”. And Diesel with the Abilene Opera Association’s “West Side Story”. The Tinman in NETworks Touring production of “The Wizard of Oz”, and ensemble/Tinman and Scarecrow Understudy in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s re-orchestrated National Tour of “The Wizard of Oz”. He has enjoyed a tour of the Caribbean in the Broadway Musical “Chicago” on Royal Caribbean’s ‘Allure of the Seas’. Along with numerous regional theatre credits, Beau is also a professional choreographer and dance instructor. He is currently in his third season sitting on the judge’s panel for “Applause Talent”, a nationally recognized dance competition circuit. Beau would like to say, “Thank you to my mom and dad for their constant love and support and thank you for supporting the arts!”


Aline Mayagoitia (Anita)
An award-winning actress, Aline Mayagoitia attended the prestigious Musical Theatre program at the University of Michigan. In her college years, she discovered a love for writing and directing, as well as working extensively in the film department. In her four years, she performed/produced/wrote/ directed/choreographed over 20 live shows and screen projects, and also served as creative director of the MOSAIC: Intercultural Performance Ensemblea student-led organization dedicated to increasing diversity and representation in the theatre community. Aline toured Costa Rica with a bilingual version of Evita, doing community engagement activities and serving as the main translator for the project.

 

Upcoming Events

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A Celebration of Mozart

Tickets for Saturday performances at the Lincoln Center are available online or in-person at the Lincoln Center (auditorium entrance located on N. 29th St. across from the Dude Rancher Lodge) the day of the performance.

Lincoln Center
February 15, 2020 | 7:30 pm
Concert Cues | 6:45 pm

The Billings Symphony Chorale joins the orchestra to pay homage to one of the classical music’s greatest composers, with Mozart’s Requiem and Symphony No. 35.

Mozart’s Requiem
The Requiem was secretly commissioned by Count Franz von Walsegg to commemorate the passing of his wife. Once Mozart received the first half of his commission—paid by messenger—he began writing, never knowing who he was writing for. Incredibly ill at the time, Mozart is said to have been convinced he was writing the Requiem for his own funeral. Indeed, he passed away on December 5, 1791, at the age of 35, leaving the work unfinished. Mozart’s wife recruited his student, Franz Xaver Süssmayr, to complete the Requiem in secrecy, and 100 days after Mozart’s death, it was delivered to Count Franz von Walsegg. Many believe von Walsegg tried to pass it off as his own work, as he was known to do. However, Mozart’s wife was very vocal about the commissioned project and was able to quash his claim.

Mozart’s Symphony No. 35
Also known as the Haffner Symphony, Symphony No. 35 was Mozart’s second work commissioned by the Haffner family of Salzburg, Austria. After the success of his Haffner Serenade for the wedding of Marie Elizabeth Haffner, the family again sought Mozart to commemorate the ennoblement of Sigmund Haffner the Younger. This second Haffner serenade was later reworked by Mozart into a full symphony, making its debut performance as Symphony No. 35 on March 23, 1783, at Vienna’s Burg Theatre.

Amy Schendel

Amy Schendel is thrilled to be on stage with the Billings Symphony. A versatile performer, she is usually found in the clarinet section, but has been a vocal soloist with Symphony numerous times. Amy’s operatic credits include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, the title role in Floyd’s Susannah, Mimì in La bohème, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Despina in Così fan tutte, the title role in Sister Angelica and others. Some of her favorite musical theatre roles have been the title role in Evita, Velma in Chicago, Missy in The Marvelous Wonderettes and Ellen in Miss Saigon. Sometimes she can be found around town singing jazz standards with local jazz musicians, a passion she has held for many years.

Amy is a dedicated music educator, serving her fourteenth year as the Director of Choirs at Billings Skyview High School and as co-conductor of Yellowstone Valley Voices. She travels around the state and beyond conducting honor choirs, adjudicating at festivals and teaching at summer camps. Amy holds bachelor’s degrees in Clarinet Performance and Music Education, as well as a Master’s in Music Education from the University of Montana. She is a certified member of the VoiceCare Network and is currently serving as the President-Elect of the Montana Music Educators Association.

Sara Ponder

Hailed as “Deeply expressive” (Chicago Sun Times) and a “first-class soloist” (Chicago Classical Review) Sarah Ponder, mezzo-soprano, enjoys a busy career as a soloist and ensemble singer with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grant Park Chorus, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Chicago a cappella, Music of the Baroque, and many others. Sarah holds a faculty position at Loyola University. In addition to training voices, Sarah has helped to establish many outreach programs with CSO’s Negaunee Music Institute, specializing in original composition workshops through The Lullaby Project and Notes for Peace, where she is featured prominently as both a vocal coach and interpreter of these moving tributes. Her work as a technique model is also featured in the award-winning pedagogy book by Dr. Julia Davids, Vocal Technique: A Guide for Conductors, Teachers, and Singers

Clayton Parr

Clayton Parr, tenor, is Professor of Music at Albion College in Michigan.  His professional experience as a performer has included the Cincinnati Opera, Whitewater Opera, Oregon Bach Festival, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and Music of the Baroque, Grant Park Music Festival, and Bella Voce in Chicago.  Solo concert performances with orchestra have included the Cincinnati Ballet, Billings Symphony, Midland Symphony, Middletown Symphony, the Janus Ensemble in Chicago and the National Music Center Orchestra of Tbilisi, Georgia, where he was a Fulbright scholar at the Tbilisi Conservatoire.  He leads the Alioni Georgian Choir of Chicago and has edited publications of Georgian folksongs in print with Hal Leonard and earthsongs Publishing.

Daren Small

Daren Small is a distinguished bass-baritone soloist in the American Northwest. He enjoys sharing his passion for singing on stage as well as in the classroom and voice studio. Small is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). As a native of Billings, MT, Small earned his Music Education and Master of Education degrees from Montana State University and was formerly the Director of Choirs at Billings Senior High School. He has enjoyed opportunities to share his “clear and rich-timbred voice” with all audiences in a growing list of venues and locales including: Ohio, Indiana, California, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. Many reputable soloists and educators have and continue to influence his career including Tom Baresel, Dennis Rupp, Lowell Hickman, Dr. Jon Harney, and Dr. Steven Hart. Additional information about Daren Small can be found at darensmall.com

Upcoming Events

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Family Concert: Flat Stanley

Tickets for Saturday performances at the Lincoln Center are available online or in-person at the Lincoln Center (auditorium entrance located on N. 29th St. across from the Dude Rancher Lodge) the day of the performance.

Lincoln Center
January 25, 2020 | 12:00 pm
Adventures in Music Day
Billings Public Library | 9:00 am – 11:30 am

Flat Stanley travels the globe with the orchestra! Discover the cultures of the world through musical stories, instruments, and songs, featuring the return of Tim Marrone.

We are featuring music from all parts of the world! Selections include classics: Glière’s Russian Sailor’s Dance, Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5, Offenbach’s Can-Can, and Copland’s famous “Hoe-Down” from Rodeo. 

First published in the 1960s, Flat Stanley is a classic, fun tale of a boy with a difference. The story is timeless and still just as relevant – with its messages of acceptance, jealousy and good versus evil – in the modern world. As Arthur learns to understand his brother’s situation and the family adapts to this new version of Stanley, children see that being different or standing out from the crowd is not always easy.

Tim MarroneTim Marrone
Tim Marrone received his training at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City and has appeared on stage throughout the Northeast, most recently in the Baltimore/Washington DC area. For ten years, Tim served as a founding member of the Maryland-based clown/theatre troupe Theatricks. He has appeared as a silent comic character for the Washington National Opera, The Maryland Lyric Opera, The Summer Opera Series at Catholic University, and has toured as a clown with the George Carden Circus. Tim has co-written and performed productions with: The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; The Baltimore Chamber Orchestra; The Lafayette Symphony Orchestra; The Billings Symphony Orchestra; The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra; The Lincoln Symphony Orchestra; The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

Ever want to test out a trombone? Beat on the drum or pluck on a bass? Adventures in Music Day and the Instrument Petting Zoo is the perfect opportunity to try them out. This event is FREE to the public! Thanks to Eckroth Music, Hansen Music, Kirk’s House of Music,  Billings Public Library, and Galt String Gallery for making this day possible!

Upcoming Events

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Celtic Christmas

Tickets for Saturday performances at the Lincoln Center are available online or in-person at the Lincoln Center (auditorium entrance located on N. 29th St. across from the Dude Rancher Lodge) the day of the performance.

Lincoln Center
December 21, 2019 | 7:30 pm
Concert Cues | 6:45 pm

Back by popular demand, award-winning Jeremy Kittel, Billings’ favorite fiddler, violinist, and Celtic-influenced composer, is bringing some friends to celebrate the Holiday season.

Jeremy Kittel
An American violinist and fiddler, Jeremy Kittel just received a Grammy nomination for best arrangement /composition. He has been placed in the community alongside many prevalent composers such as Alan Silvestri and John Williams. Fluent in multiple music genres, Kittel composes original music that draws from traditional roots, jazz, Celtic, classical, electronic and more.

Kittel performs with his group, Kittel & Co., as a soloist with orchestras, and in collaborative and supporting roles with many of today’s leading artists. He has worked with Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck, My Morning Jacket, Aoife O’Donovan, Jars of Clay, and Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. He was also a part of the Grammy Award-winning Turtle Island Quartet for 5 years.

This is Jeremy Kittel’s second appearance with the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale, having performed in December 2015’s Celtic Christmas.

Quinn Bachand
Kittel & Co.’s guitarist Quinn Bachand began performing the acoustic guitar around the world at age 11. By 17 he played over a dozen different instruments, recording and producing albums with his sister Qristina. The duo quickly rose to the top of the international Celtic music world, and together they have won two Irish Music Awards: 2010 Top Traditional Group and 2011 Top Duo.

With diverse musical talents and a bottomless pool of creativity, Bachand has been dubbed the “Young Lion” of the Celtic guitar (Daniel Lapp) and “Canada’s top Celtic guitarist” (Ashley MacIsaac). His contemporary edge to traditional Celtic music has sparked worldwide attention. An in-demand sideman, Bachand has toured nationally and internationally. He is also the frontman of the gypsy jazz band Brishen, singing and playing lead guitar, violin, and tenor banjo.

Cillian Vallely
Cillian Vallely is the uilleann pipes and low whistle player of the renowned Irish band Lúnasa described as “the hottest Celtic band on the planet” (Irish Voice). In recent years, he has played and recorded with Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Merchant, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tim O’Brien, and Riverdance, in addition to recording as a guest on over 50 albums. With Lúnasa, he has performed at the Hollywood Bowl, Glastonbury Festival, WOMADelaide, Edmonton Folk Festival, as well as multiple tours of Asia, Australia, the US, and Europe. “Vallely, whose family has played a seminal role in piping and Irish music in the north of Ireland for years, shows why he is one of the most respected pipers playing today” (Irish Voice).

Erin Small
Erin Small is a prominent teacher, conductor, and performer within the Billings community. She is an elementary music teacher for the Billings district, and joyfully serves over 750 children per week. She is also the director of Yellowstone Valley Voices, which is an advanced choral program for young singers throughout the valley. Over the last decade, Erin has performed with various local organizations such as; Venture Theatre, Billings Studio Theatre, Rimrock Opera and the High Plains Chamber Singers. In 2016, she made her debut with the Billings Symphony performing as a guest artist for the Holiday Pops performance. She is thrilled to perform once again and considers it an honor to work with such amazing musicians.

Elizabeth (“Zee”) Ní Bhraonáin, TCRG
Zee Ní Bhraonáin hails from Grand Rapids, Michigan where she owns and operates her own CLRG certified Irish dancing school Scoil Rince Ní Bhraonáin. Not only is Zee a certified TCRG, but she has taught Regional winning, National, and World qualifying dancers. When she isn’t teaching, she absolutely adores performing! Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Zee grew up performing with groups such as the Black Brothers, Culann’s Hounds, and Tempest. After moving to the mid-west, she has had many performance opportunities, including having the pleasure of dancing with the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra as well as choreographing for Cathie Ryan, formerly of Cherish The Ladies. Growing up in a household with a 9th generation Dublin-born father meant that there was no shortage of Irish music. In her 25 years of dancing, she has always carried these words in her heart, “If it weren’t for the Irish music, we wouldn’t be Irish dancing.”

Jacqueline Curtis Low, ADCRG/Claddagh Irish Dance Academy
Dublin, Ireland native Jacqueline Curtis Low started dancing at the age of 9 and immediately fell in love with it. After 25 years of teaching dance professionally in Ireland, Jacqueline and her husband relocated to Billings, where she opened the Claddagh Irish Dance Academy in 2014. In addition to being the teacher, artistic director, and choreographer of her school, Jacqueline is a member of the largest Irish dance organizations in the world—Comhdháil na Múinteoirí le Rincí Gaelacha Teoranta (Congress of Irish Dance Teachers)—and currently serves as Chairperson of the Branch of the Americas.

The Claddagh Irish Dance Academy encourages and promotes the art and practice of traditional and authentic Irish Dancing. Jacqueline prepares her pupils for feiseanna (competitions), displays, and shows. In recent years the Claddagh Dancers have been busy with numerous performances, entertaining and wowing audiences with their traditional and contemporary dance routines. Visit claddaghirishdance.com to learn more about the Academy, upcoming performances or available classes!

Upcoming Events

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Holiday Tour of Homes

Various Locations around Billings
December 7, 2019 | 10 am-3 pm
Tickets: $25

Celebrate the spirit of the Holidays with our 15th annual Holiday Tour of Homes. Local families open their beautifully decorated homes for this self-guided tour.

The tour features festively decorated locations throughout Billings. All stops will feature music provided by the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale members and students of Billings Youth Orchestra. All proceeds benefit the BSO&C.

 

BALLARD HOME  4288 Brandywood Dr.

The Ballards steadily have added a few things every year to where we now have almost every room in the house completely decorated. While the outside of our house looks like a winter wonderland, the inside could definitely be considered the North Pole! We have a tree in every bedroom, as well as one in the upstairs great room and one in the downstairs living area. They love Santas and snowmen so you’ll spot plenty of those throughout the home. You’ll want to make sure you have extra time to spare in this home because there is so much to see, almost every nook and cranny!

BARR/EDWARDS HOME  4205 Laredo Pl.

Step into a truly Winter delight. The Holiday Village comes alive. Stroll from one dazzling tree to the next dazzling tree. Bringing merriment to each step of the way getting you closer and closer into the Holiday Spirit.

QUASS HOME 3175 McMasters Rd.

This home is known for its view, especially during the holiday season. This home will be decorated in traditional holiday style. This is a home that’s holiday décor is so cozy you’ll want to curl up and stay awhile.

MORRISON HOME 43 Clark Ave.

Leigh Morrison is fortunate to be the third owner of this home that was started in 1905 and completed in 1922 by B.J. Martin. It is one of the homes featured in the “Historic Homes of Billings, MT” book written by Kathryn Wright and illustrated by Carolyn Thayer. It will be decorated for the holiday season in a traditional Victorian era design perfectly matched with its historical appeal.

AVE C APARTMENTS 1607 17th. St. W.

You will not want to miss this stop on the tour…for many reasons. Avenue C is a tour all on its own. Start out through the main doors with the sights and sounds of Christmas welcoming you in. If the weather allows, take a stroll around the holiday light lit pool in the courtyard before you head upstairs. Then enjoy walking through the fully decorated model home before you join our Billings Symphony volunteers ready to serve you holiday drinks & snacks on the 4th floor in the Sports Lounge. Come see the new Modern Montana at Avenue C.

GAINAN’S HOLIDAY DREAM HOME 1603 Grand Ave.

Get ready to be inspired for your holiday décor plans. Plan to spend some time while touring the homes at this year’s Holiday Tour of Homes by visiting Gainan’s. Weave your way through the forest of trees and through the store. Don’t forget to bring your Holiday Tour of Homes ticket with you for your 15% discount.

Upcoming Events

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The Nutcracker

Tickets for The Nutcracker will be sold in the lobby of the Lincoln Center auditorium beginning at 10 am Saturday, November 30 & Sunday, December 1.

Tickets for Saturday performances at the Lincoln Center are available online or in-person at the Lincoln Center (auditorium entrance located on N. 29th St. across from the Dude Rancher Lodge) the day of the performance.

Lincoln Center
November 30, 2019 | 2:00 pm
November 30, 2019 | 7:00 pm
December 1, 2019 | 2:00 pm

Join us for this Billings Symphony Thanksgiving weekend tradition!  The Nutcracker is performed by the San Diego Ballet.

More than 100 local child singers and dancers take the stage for this charming Thanksgiving weekend tradition. With its signature theatrics and beloved choreography, the San Diego Ballet delivers a light-hearted interpretation of this holiday classic that is expressive and dramatic. Principal dancers are seasoned professionals who bring strong brilliant technique, expressive artistry and high energy to this well-loved ballet. Audiences easily connect with their inspired performances to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score performed live by the Billings Symphony Orchestra.

 

 

San Diego Ballet Company
was founded in 1990 by Robin Morgan and featuring strong contemporary ballets created by award-winning, resident choreographer, Javier Velasco. San Diego Ballet has collaborated with many organizations including the SD Symphony, SD Opera, SD Chamber Orchestra, SD Camarada, Grossmont Symphony, SD Culture Shock, and SD Dance Theater during their seasons.  SDB is also a touring company to the Midwest and Southwestern states and has been voted #1 dance troupe by The Reader’s poll of the SD Union/Tribune, Signonsandiego.com, City Beat, BestOf San Diego.com., and the only Nutcracker in San Diego included in CBS-Los Angeles top picks of “So Cal’s 5 Best Nutcrackers!”

San Diego Ballet’s large varied repertoire which continues to enjoy growth and critical acclaim with original pieces such as Mambomania (music of Perez Prado), Luna Lunera (with poetry of Garcia Lorca and music composed by David Burge), Opus Swing (to music of Ellington, Miller and Goodman), Sweet Dreams (to the music of Patsy Cline),The Brontes, (a musical based on the lives of the three historical sisters), Sweet Synergy (to jazz music composed by Charles McPherson) and Ritmos Latinos. Balanchine’s works include Serenade, Concerto Barroco, and Rubies. More classical pieces include Nutcracker, Paquita, Firebird, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sleeping Beauty, Seven Beauties, Romeo & Juliet, Alice & Wonderland, Don Juan and Giselle.

Touted as a “model in its field,” San Diego Ballet’s educational outreach program works to reach students through in-school performances, lessons, curriculum guides for teachers, scholarships and benefit theater performances. More than 300,000 children have been served since 1995. SDB travels all over San Diego City & County to help promote dance appreciation for children and working with Young Audiences and many others to provide Student Benefit Performances for K-12 and In-School Performances providing a peek into the world of the dancer-in-training.

Robin Sherertz Morgan | Artistic Director
A native of San Diego, Ms. Morgan began her dancing career with the original San Diego Ballet under the guidance of Richard Carter and Nancy Johnson and later Jillana.   She was awarded a full Ford Foundation Scholarship to the School of American Ballet, New York City Ballet’s school and later danced with NYCB under the direction of George Balanchine, toured NY with Suki Schorer’s NYCB’s Lecture Ensemble, and performed in the Virgin Islands with Helgi Tomasson and Kay Mazzo NYCB Troupe.

Returning to San Diego, Ms. Morgan developed her reputation first as a notable dancer and later as a teacher in many local studios.  After turning down a contract with PNB to stay in SD she served on the faculty of the School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) in Chula Vista, as an officer for the San Diego Dance Alliance, and was Rehearsal Assistant for San Francisco Ballet’s San Diego productions of Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.  Ms. Morgan has choreographed dances for various theater groups as well as network television, including an NBC-TV movie.  She gives master classes at studios, summer programs, and universities and was honored by the San Diego Area Dance Alliance for her leadership in the dance community.

In 1989, she founded the San Diego School of Ballet, developing talented dancers and presenting successful student performances.  San Diego Ballet was established in 1990 to provide graduating students the opportunity to remain in San Diego and work alongside other professional dancers who want to live and work in the beautiful city of San Diego.

Javier Velasco | Artistic Director
Javier Velasco has supplied dances for productions at the La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe, and has a long-standing relationship with the San Diego Repertory Theatre, where he has staged productions of A Christmas Carol, Cabaret, Hairspray, Tommy, In the Heights, Evita and many others. He has enjoyed many long creative relationships, having worked with: Luis Valdez on the 20th Anniversary production of Zoot Suit, Bandido, and Corridos.; composer Steve Gunderson on the premieres of Suds (nyc) Dixie Highway, Back to Bacharach, David (nyc), Everybody’s Talkin, and The House of Dreams.

Mr. Velasco currently serves as artistic director of the San Diego Ballet, having created over 70 original pieces for the company since its inception, including 10 pieces in collaboration with composer David Burge, to commissioned scores. His ballet set to the poems of Kenneth Fearing, LOVE: 20 cents the first quarter-mile, was given the award for Best Choreography by the San Diego Area Dance Alliance, the third time he was honored by the organization and his Mambomania won Grand Prize at the 1st Palm Desert Dance Festival.  More recently, Mr. Velasco was awarded a Creative Catalyst Fellowship by the San Diego Foundation to create new works for SDB company with jazz great, Charles McPherson.

School of Classical Ballet
Since 1970, the School of Classical Ballet in Billings, Montana, has offered high-quality dance education to dancers of all ages.  Students who have trained at SCB have gone on to prestigious summer programs, high-quality colleges and universities, and professional dance companies.

Betty Loos | Co-Director
Betty Loos directed her own school for six years before co-founding the School of Classical Ballet with former business partner Jana Stockton.  Betty received her early training from June Austin and Hungarian teachers Ildiko Perjessy and Angela Mc Alpin in Billings, MT.  She continued her training at the University of Utah under the direction of William Christiansen, and at the Teachers’ Training Program through the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and National Ballet of Canada. She has furthered her training through numerous intensive workshops with teachers such as David Howard, Fredbjorn Bjornson, and Conrad Ludlow.  She was awarded a teacher’s fellowship to attend the National Ballet of Canada. Former students have danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theater, Smuin Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, David Taylor, and apprenticed with the National Ballet of Canada. Betty has also trained in modern dance with Ririe Woodbury, Mark Morris, Bill T. Jones, Doug Varone, and Sandra Neels.

Betty has also served as a Founder, Co-Director and choreographer with the Billings children’s community dance company, Motion Arts Dance Company (MADCO) started fall of 2012.

Julia Marble | Primary Instructor
Julia Marble graduated from the National Academy of the Arts, in Champaign-Urbana, IL. While there, she was fortunate to train with Lupe Serrano, Christine Hennesy, Corey Winthrop, Michael Maule, Anthony Valdor and Gwynn Ashton. She attended the Cornish Institute of the Allied Arts in Seattle, WA. studying with Pat Hon, Noelle Mason, and others. She later moved to New York City to further her training under many great teachers. Ballet: from Marjorie Mussman, Finis Jhung; Modern: with Mary Hinkson (Graham), Milton Myers (Horton), and at the Cunningham and Limon Studios; Jazz: from various studios including the American Dance Machine Intensives with Buzz Miller, Lee Theodore, and Gemsi DeLappe. She continued special training with studies in Pilates at the Carole Treir Studio and in early-childhood development to enhance her teaching skills with younger children. She received instruction from Seattle’s Anne Green Gilbert and through another youth program in Atlanta called “Tempo, Level, Energy, and Shape”.

She danced professionally as a member of the Matthews-Masters Dance Company (Directors: Gary Masters and Fred Mathews), Sue Bernhardt and Dancers, and with many other modern dance groups in NYC.

The Nutcracker
The story takes place at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Stalhbaum and their children, Clara and Fritz during the 19th century.  One of the guests at their Christmas party is Clara’s godfather, Drosselmeyer, and his nephew.  After bringing life-like dolls to entertain the children, he presents Clara with a Nutcracker doll that she immediately falls in love with but Fritz snatches the doll away and it breaks.  Drosselmeyer fixes the Nutcracker, and everyone joins in a dance led by Clara’s Grandfather which brings the party to an end.

After everyone has gone to bed, Clara sneaks down to retrieve her Nutcracker but instead finds her brother’s empty rat cage. Suddenly, the escaped rats turn giant-size and as the clock strikes midnight, they steal her Nutcracker doll and everything in her house begins to change. The Christmas tree grows gigantic and Clara, grief-stricken over the loss of her doll, watches her Nutcracker now transformed into a Prince lead the battle against the rats along with life-size toy soldiers.  Just as he is to receive a fatal wound Clara saves him by hitting the Rat King on the head with her shoe. The Prince invites Clara to visit the candy kingdom as a reward for saving his life.

First Clara and the Prince journey through the snow and after watching the Snow King and Snow Queen dance, they finally arrive in the Land of the Sweets, where they are greeted and entertained by the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy and her retinue.

Upcoming Events

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An American Landscape: A Chorale Concert

St. Patrick Co-Cathedral
November 16, 2019 | 7:30 pm
November 17, 2019 | 3:00 pm

Join the Billings Symphony Chorale and listen as their powerful voices fill the beautiful St. Patrick Co-Cathedral under the direction of Dr. Steven Hart.

The program includes traditional shaker and spiritual melodies, and Randall Thompson’s Frostiana. The Massachusetts town of Amherst commissioned Thompson to write a piece commemorating its bicentennial in 1959. Amherst, known for its association with Robert Frost, suggested using poems written by Frost. Frost and Thompson knew each other for some time and admired each other’s artistry. It was decided that Frostiana would be a setting of Frost’s poetry, chosen by Thompson for the occasion.

Upcoming Events

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A Tribute to Ballets Russes

Tickets for Saturday performances at the Lincoln Center are available online or in-person at the Lincoln Center (auditorium entrance located on N. 29th St. across from the Dude Rancher Lodge) the day of the performance.

Celebrate the famous Ballets Russes with Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Debussy’s Prelude to “The Afternoon of a Faun”,  featuring the return of former BSO&C intern violinist and MASO winner, Rosie Weiss.

 

Rosie Weiss
Rosie Weiss is a violinist and fiddler who grew up near Billings, Montana. Fluent in multiple musical genres, she strives to break down barriers between musical traditions. Her training began with Suzuki violin at the age of 3, with teachers Laura Dalbey and Vikki Payne. Randy Tracy, the concertmaster of the Billings Symphony, later became her primary teacher and mentor. Angela Ahn (of the Ahn Trio), cellist John Kirk, Peter Zazofsky (of the Muir String Quartet), and pianists Amanda Olson, LeeHancock, and Ann Tappan also played significant roles in her pre-college education.

Rosie received a full scholarship to attend the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, where she is currently pursuing a violin performance degree with Scott Flavin. At Frost, she performs with two orchestras, including the highly acclaimed Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, and a wide variety of small ensembles; and has been a finalist in the school-wide concerto and ensemble competitions. Recently, Rosie recorded on the Grammy Award-winning album, “American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom” by the John Daversa Big Band. She recently won the 15th Biennial MASO Young Artist Competition, college division.

Krista Leigh Pasini
(choreographer)

Krista Leigh Pasini is a classically trained dance artist and postmodern choreographer working with somatically informed performative inquiries, historiography, and movement ontology research. Her research weds extensive technical training with poetic gestural patterning, which she integrates into her role as an educator and choreographic collaborator. As co-director of HaltForce Art Collective LLC—currently based in Eastern Montana—Krista facilitates and produces performance-driven artist residencies and education. Pasini’s creative versatility blends dance, performance art, theater into site-specific events and immersive installations. Krista is a University Honors Scholar with a BFA in History from Montana State University–Billings, and presently an MFA candidate at Goddard College pursuing a master’s in fine arts in Interdisciplinary Art.

Erica Gionfriddo (dancer)
Erica Gionfriddo is a dance artist, educator, and somatic researcher who believes in the intelligent body each of us occupies. She is the co-founder of ARCOS Dance, whose ongoing inquiry probes the intersection of technology and humanity through rigorous interdisciplinary experimentation. Erica’s extensive experience as a GYROKINESIS® and GYROTONIC® trainer guides her pedagogical methodology, which she brings in her capacity as lecturer in dance at the University of Texas at Austin and as a national teaching artist. Erica holds a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Shenandoah Conservatory and is currently an MFA candidate at Hollins University.

Ballets Russes
The Ballets Russes, founded by impresario Sergei Diaghilev, was the premier ballet company in Paris from 1909 to his death in 1929. Diaghilev’s revolutionary collaborations promoted young artists, choreographers, dancers, and composers. The works commissioned by Ballets Russes have procured some of the most memorable and awe-inspiring art of the time. Artists and composers commissioned by Diaghilev include Coco Channel, Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, and Claude Debussy.

Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring
Stravinsky’s third full-ballet commission for the Ballets Russes (The Firebird Suite, 1910, and Petruska, 1911), The Rite of Spring tells the pagan tale of the advent of spring and the sacrifice of a young girl who dances herself to death.

Its premiere, at the Théâtre de Champs-Elysées on May 29, 1913, caused a scandal. It was not just Stravinsky’s primordial, elemental music, nor Vaslav’s Nijinsky’s exotic choreography, nor Nicholas Roerich’s bizarre settings that prompted the near-riot that ensued in the theatre. There were anti-Russian, anti-Diaghilev and anti-Nijinsky factions at work in Paris, determined to disrupt proceedings before a note of music had been heard.

When first performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on May 29, 1913, the avant-garde nature of the Stravinsky’s score and Vaslav Nijinsky’s choreography caused a sensation (by now-disputed claims, a riot). Although designed as a work for the stage, Stravinsky’s music achieved equal, if not greater, recognition as a concert piece, and is widely considered to be one of the most influential musical works of the 20th century.

Claude Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Claude Debussy’s 1894 symphonic poem was inspired by Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem L’après-midi d’un faune, which tells the story of a faun trying to recall whether his memory of two beautiful nymphs is real or a dream.

French composer Pierre Boulez considered Prelude as the beginning of modern music and a turning point in the history of music. Nearly two decades later, as part of the Ballets Russes’ 1912 Paris season, Vaslav Nijinsky translated Mallarmé’s poem to dance, using Debussy’s symphonic poem for the music. The more common version known today was choreographed by Jerome Robbins in 1958.

Upcoming Events

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A 1920’s Evening

Tickets for Saturday’s performances at the Lincoln Center are available online or in-person at the Lincoln Center (415 N. 30th St.) the day of the performance.

Lincoln Center
September 21, 2019 | 7:30 pm
Concert Cues | 6:45 pm
Spend a jazz-inspired opening night with Gershwin’s An American in Paris and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, featuring American composer and pianist, Conrad Tao. This event is part of NxNW, a collective collaboration of local arts and culture, Sept 12-22.

 

Conrad Tao
Conrad Tao has appeared worldwide as a pianist and composer, performing to acclaim from critics and audiences alike. His accolades and awards include being a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, a YoungArts gold medal-winner in music, a Gilmore Young Artist, an Avery Fisher Career Grant winner, and a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist. The former prodigy continues to emerge as a mature, thoughtful and thought-provoking artist, confidently pushing boundaries as a leading performer, composer, curator, and commissioner, championing new music while continuing to present core repertoire in a new light.

In 2018-19, Tao makes his performance debuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, and the Cleveland Orchestra, and his 2018-19 season begins with the World Premiere of Everything Must Go, commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic, as well as the inauguration of their new Nightcap series. He makes his LA Opera debut in the West Coast premiere of David Lang’s, the loser, where he plays the onstage role of the apparition and memory of Glenn Gould. In January 2019, Tao and dancer-choreographer Caleb Teicher continue to develop More Forever as part of Guggenheim’s Works & Process series.

Tao continues to perform concertos with orchestras around the world including returns to the Swedish Radio, San Diego, Baltimore, Pacific, and Colorado Symphonies, as well as with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa. Conrad also performs duo chamber music concerts with violinist Stefan Jackiw, including a debut performance at 92Y, ensemble engagements with the JCT Trio around the world, as well as solo recital programs.

Tao’s career as composer has garnered eight consecutive ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and the Carlos Surinach Prize from BMI, and he has been commissioned by the Dallas Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Washington Performing Arts Society, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, and others. Tao is a Warner Classics recording artist, and his first two albums Voyages and Pictures have been praised by NPR, The New York Times, The New Yorker’s Alex Ross, and many more.

An American in Paris
In the spring of 1928, George Gershwin took his fifth trip to Europe. Before departing, he made sketches for an orchestral piece requested by conductor Walter Damrosch for the fledgling New York Philharmonic. (This was his second Damrosch commission; the first having been the 1925 Piano Concerto in F). During Gershwin’s travels, the sketches developed into what would become one of his most popular works—the amiable tone poem, An American in Paris. Gershwin actually was an American in Paris for part of that time, and his brother Ira reported that the entire “blues” section of the piece was composed in the Hotel Majestic in that city.

Gershwin’s interpretation of Paris in the 1920s was heavily influenced by the sounds of the city. He was so taken with the sounds of Parisian taxi horns; he brought some back with him and gave them a prominent position in his new piece. Gershwin completed An American in Paris just four weeks before its scheduled December 13, 1928 premiere at Carnegie Hall. While the audience loved it, Gershwin wasn’t completely satisfied with Damrosch’s interpretation, thinking his tempos were sluggish and dragging. Some critics, despite finding it better crafted than the Concerto in F, didn’t believe it belonged on a classical program. Gershwin responded to the critics, “It’s not a Beethoven Symphony, you know… It’s a humorous piece, nothing solemn about it. It’s not intended to draw tears. If it pleases symphony audiences as a light, jolly piece, a series of expressions musically expressed, it succeeds.”

Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major
Ravel began formulating a plan for what would become his Piano Concerto in G Major in 1906 while he was traveling Europe and the United States. Due to other projects he had going at the time, he couldn’t continue working on it until 1929. He was surprised that few Americans were influenced by the jazzy sounds prevalent in Paris at the time.

His original plan was to perform the piece himself upon completion. Unfortunately, his declining health prevented him from doing so. He reached out to French pianist, teacher, and friend, Marguerite Long, to play in his stead. She eagerly agreed. Soon after the premiere in January 1932, with the Orchestre Lamoureaux, Ravel and Long embarked on a lengthy tour across Europe where they and the piano concerto were well received. Ravel would later dedicate his Piano Concerto in G Major to Long. The American premiere took place in two locations simultaneously on April 22, 1932, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Upcoming Events

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Whiskey & Wine

September 12, 2019 | 6 pm – 9 pm
Tickets: $40

Enjoy the last moments of summer while tasting fine whiskey and wine from Montana’s top distributors. Listen to live music by the Billings Symphony musicians, and indulge in hors d’ oeuvres provided by the Northern Hotel!

Montana’s top distributors gather at Henry’s Garage (12 Garden Ave,  Billings MT) for a tasting like no other in Billings. Guests enjoy samples of the region’s finest whiskey and wines provided by City Vineyard, Winegardners Wines, Geroge’s Distributing, Intermountain Distributing, Hayden Sprits, and Eagle Beverage.

Light hors d ‘oeuvres provided by the Northern Hotel.

 

 

Sponsorships are still available!

Single Barrel Sponsor: $750
Sponsorship includes logo located on all advertising (posters, eblasts, social media, & website). The logo will also be listed on all tickets and predominantly placed on signage at the venue, recognition from stage, featured on a Thank You slide in the September concert slide show, and 6 tickets to the event. Sponsors at this level have the opportunity to bring company banner to display at the event and any giveaways at the registration table.

Sommelier Sponsor: $500
Sponsorship includes text recognition on all advertising (posters, eblasts, social media), logo on website, and signage at the venue, recognition from stage, featured on a Thank You slide in the September concert slide show, and 4 tickets to the event. Sponsors at this level also have an opportunity to bring giveaways to at the registration table.

Corked Sponsor: $250
Sponsorship includes text recognition on the BSO&C website, social media, signage at the venue, featured on a Thank You slide in the September slideshow, and 2 tickets to the event.

Upcoming Events

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