Bozeman, April 2020 – The Bozeman Symphony will present a Livestream House Concert Tour scheduled for Saturday, May 2nd at 7:30 PM available to view on the Symphony’s website at bozemansymphony.org.
This performance is one way the organization is fulfilling its mission outside the concert hall due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The event is aimed to show appreciation to ticket holders who would have attended the final performance of the Symphony’s 2019-2020 concert season in May, thank individuals who donate the Symphony as part of Give Big Gallatin Valley and to express appreciation to those on the front lines by providing access to these individuals in the community.
The event will feature the Symphony’s Executive Director, Emily Paris-Martin as she takes viewers on a house concert tour presenting musicians of the Bozeman Symphony. Included in the tour are Concertmaster Carrie Krause, principal clarinet Wendy Bickford, principal timpani Jeff Vick, Bobcat Brass Trio, and special guest Daren Small. Small was one of two soloists to be featured as part of the Symphony’s Te deum performance in early May. Each musician will join in a short discussion regarding unique aspects of the work they do in the community and their performing careers in addition to presenting musical selections of their choice.
Despite changes to the end of the Symphony’s concert season, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. “It speaks to the community here and how much this community loves its Symphony,” said Executive Director Emily Paris-Martin. “I greatly admire my colleagues of the Bozeman Symphony and everything they have been through and everything this community has been through over the past several weeks. The musicians know how music speaks to all of us, how healing it can be, they are really giving this their all. It has been a lifelong passion for all of them.”
Wendy Bickford who will be featured on the tour is one of many Bozeman Symphony musicians who has been working remotely, offering online lessons for students and presenting free daily warm-ups and weekly workshops online for clarinetists and teachers. “For everyone, it has been a trial and error of what works and what doesn’t since most of us haven’t been online,” said Wendy. “If I can help one person through this, that’s awesome. It’s really about keeping the students playing and engaged in some kind of way.”
Although this time is difficult, Wendy says “no matter what there is always a silver lining.” Her silver lining consists of more time to spend with family, challenging herself with new repertoire, and putting together clarinet videos with her new webcam for her local online community. Like other musicians, this situation has given her the ability to join other professional musicians and teachers in their online studio classes as well as masterclasses being presented from around the world. “It is fun being able to share my insight and knowledge with other teachers’ students as well as be able to continue to learn from my colleagues and gracious legends,” said Wendy.
Bozeman Symphony principal trumpet Sarah Stoneback has had a similar COVID-19 experience to Wendy. As Montana State University’s trumpet professor all her classes have moved online, including a very successful virtual “MSU trumpet hangout” with guests from all over the world. “It’s really gone beyond the brick and mortar of MSU and my students have been able to connect and be a part of a larger event on a weekly basis,” said Sarah. “One of my goals is that the students I get to work with are feeling connected and seen and I think that’s the most important thing when you are doing online instruction.”
As a professional musician, Sarah has remained creative through exploring different styles of music, primarily jazz, and performed two new works for trumpet unaccompanied and written specifically for her on a local virtual platform, bozemanarts-live.com. In just a few weeks, the platform has already seen over 10,000 site visits. Sarah feels very grateful for the support she’s received from the Bozeman Symphony and MSU. “I think the challenges in this time made me realize how much more I value not only the institution of both the Symphony and the University but the people within them,” she said.
Unlike Wendy and Sarah, Bozeman Symphony Bassist Cortney Bury has a full-time career outside of music as Head Distiller at Bozeman Spirits Distillery. “Our business has been affected by COVID-19, in which we haven’t been able to have customers come in to enjoy cocktails,” said Cortney. However, to combat the pandemic, Cortney and her team have redirected spirit production toward making hand sanitizer.
“Hand sanitizer orders have been non-stop and the most I’ve been able to do with music is listen because I’ve been so busy,” Cortney said. “I’m sad that our final concert has been canceled, but understand that we as a community need to stay safe and healthy.” Everyone at the Bozeman Symphony has had their own unique COVID-19 experience but each member takes comfort in knowing we are all in this together and music will move us forward.
In the coming weeks, the Symphony has plans to host additional virtual events, and will launch a new podcast series featuring musicians and friends of the Bozeman Symphony called “Tuning In to the Orchestra.” The Symphony will soon announce more information about the 2019-2020 Music Director Search and the schedule and programming for the 2020-2021 concert season.
The Livestream House Concert Tour will be available on the Symphony’s website with access provided to current ticket holders for the canceled performances scheduled to take place at Willson Auditorium in May. Additional access will be given to donors who participate as part of Give Big Gallatin Valley and to individuals working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. If you are a front-line worker looking for access to the performance, please contact the Bozeman Symphony. For individuals looking to purchase tickets to the event, tickets starting at $5.00 are available online at bozemansymphony.org. For questions regarding the house concert tour, please contact the Bozeman Symphony at 406-585-9774 or email@example.com. •