The Arts in Montana

If you had any doubt about how arts and culture are doing in Montana you need only spend some time at the 31st Annual Montana Performing Arts Consortium artist showcase held this weekend in Fort Benton.

This morning, with a to-go cup of coffee, I pointed my car towards Fort Benton and when I drove up to the elementary school I realized this event was going to be well attended.

The format for the artist showcase – each artist was allowed 12 minutes for a live performance and there were 5 minute breaks between the performances to reset the stage.

The variety in each performance was amazing.

First up was Sax 5th Avenue (OK, I was late and missed that one!). Great Falls-based Cascade Quartet was next followed by the Mud Bay Jugglers. There were three jugglers and a four piece band playing to their antics.The audience loved this slap-stick comedy.

Spencer Bohren, performer and music educator, started his 12 minute set with a lap guitar and finished with a song while playing banjo.

My favorite group of the morning session was Two Bit Franks, a five-piece group of guys who hail from Big Sky, Bozeman and Livingston. Bluegrass and good old blues were their options and the crowd loved them. This photo shows only two of the group. The unique instrument on the left is a mando-cello.

Also interesting was an actor who portrayed Theodore Roosevelt while mixing education, history and humor.

Eleven additional performances were spread throughout the day. Many folks were there to book artists for community concert series and some were booking for schools. People like me went to enjoy the variety of music and culture and we were not disappointed.

One final comment – this was all free to the public!

It was a great day and I’m glad I was able to enjoy the performers.

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