Home»A FEATURED STORY»Drink in tenor Scott Piper and the Great Falls Symphony on Saturday

Drink in tenor Scott Piper and the Great Falls Symphony on Saturday

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Listening to Scott Piper is, in a way, like experiencing eggnog.

No matter how many times you’ve done it, it can be just as memorable as the very first time.

On Saturday the Great Falls Symphony invites you Saturday to sip in Piper and his powerful voice as it is paired with the orchestra and a selection of beloved musical classics.

Scott Piper performs on stage on Saturday with the Great Falls Symphony.
Scott Piper performs on stage on Saturday with the Great Falls Symphony.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts Theater in Great Falls.

Additionally, Piper said in an exclusive interview with Big Sky State Buzz that any time music of this type is performed, it gives everyone in attendance the chance to either

  • A) Spark a new desire for emotional music, or
  • B) Reignite that love that may have been lost

Then, because this is Piper’s fourth time in Great Falls in the past 10 years, he said he also views this show as another part of the ongoing dialogue he’s had with the symphony and it’s fans.

“I look at it as, yes it’s a new concert, but for some of the audience members it’s an ongoing dialogue,” he said. “Some of the people who have been faithful supporters of the symphony have gone to every single concert in the past X number of years and have seen my, what will be the 4th instalment of visits to Great Falls. For those particular audience members, hopefully they see a growth or maturing, hopefully, of artistry in all of us – be it Gordon, myself and the symphony.”

Piper said at the same time, new audience members have an exciting opportunity to share what he calls, “remarkable melodies with beautiful poetry.”

Scott Piper 4 images 1“It’s wonderful in the same vein for new audience members to share what we’re passionate about,” he said.

For this show, Piper said he will be performing the well-known aria “Nessun Dorma” and other Broadway favorites.

“Nessun Dorma,” translated to “None Shall Sleep” is an aria from the final act of the opera “Turandot” from Giacomo Puccini. It is perhaps one of the best-known tenor arias in the world.

An aria is usually a word used to describe an expressive melody, usually performed by a singer. It is normally used to describe a self-contained piece with one voice, and is usually used in the context of opera.

Part of the magic of performing these arias, Piper said, is that it affects a countless number of people and that he’s been greatly inspired by the few people who have gone out of their way to reach out to him and share their stories about how it reached them.

“It’s strange, I’ve often at times had people ask me, ‘why is opera or classical music, why is it important?’ and I think that’s too big of question. The truth is I don’t know why it’s important to the greater world, but all I can tell you is what I do and what I have experience with,” Piper said.

“It reminds me of the time I received a hand-written letter from an audience member who went to a concert of mine. He was saying that the last time they heard one of the pieces I sang was when they were in Italy just as the Americans had come in and taken over and liberated the land and that the Italians got together and one of the songs that they sang at that time was the aria I did and so one of the songs at the concert brought back this memory and this gentleman shared with me in this letter this amazing story about the history of his life.”

Piper said that story in particular not only helped rekindle his passion for performing, but it gave him an better understanding about why he was doing what he does.

“I think that’s so important, and I think that’s why art and music is so important because it’s all about communicating something and in a way art and music is all about all of us doing our part to communicate something to others,” he said.

Not only does Piper perform across the globe, more internationally than in the U.S., lately, he said, he also serves as the assistant professor of voice at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theater and Dance.

Piper said serving in that role is extra special for him because he gets to help others take those with a passion for music and help craft it into something bigger than ever before.

“In essence what I do is help ignite the fire in the students who come here with aspirations and with dreams,” he said. “At a certain point people have to build that fire and ignite it and so I watch them take care of that fire and give them the tools to take care of it. They can come with those dreams, but it’s work too. … There are certain points in life where we have this big blazing experience and it takes all of our attention, but there are plenty of distractions in our world, too, or demands on our time that can extinguish that fire. Part of my job is to help keep that fire alive and keep (students) active and engaged.”

As for playing in Great Falls, Piper said he always enjoys coming back here, partly because of the relationship he’s built with conductor Gordon Johnson, but also the fact that the symphony continues to be made up of a collective of talented, local musicians.

“Firstly I like Gordon Johnson. He’s great, so that’s first and foremost and I’ll say that from the beginning, it’s been nine or 10 years since the first time I was in Great Falls, and ever since then I have really enjoyed working with him,” Piper said. “Secondly, the musicians there in the orchestra are really top notch, so having the opportunity to be in Montana and work with great musicians — that’s a combination that I can say not many people can say they’ve done, so that’s lovely for me as well.”

Piper has been a fan favorite, as well.

In a letter to the local newspaper, Carl Rostad and Nancy Luth shared a sentiment shared by a number of others the last time he came here.

They stated, “The performance by Scott Piper was brilliant, magnificent, beautiful and perfect! We left the Mansfield Theater with that bittersweet feeling you get when something truly remarkable has just happened – reluctant to let go for fear you may never see or hear it again.”

Tickets to Saturday’s show are $30 for adults and $12 for students and can be purchased online here, at the Mansfield Center or by calling 455-8514.

Check back to Big Sky State Buzz later in the week for an interview with Great Falls Symphony conductor Gordon Johnson.

Student Rush ticket for only $5 are available at the Theater Box Office only before the concert. The Box Office opens on concert night 6 p.m.

The symphony also will give an early-bird drawing for its trip raffle fundraiser, and there will be a lobby wine bar provided by Bert and Ernie’s before the show.

Then, during intermission, there will be an informal “talk-back” session following the concert where members of the audience can meet some of the musicians, including Piper.

Finally, in observance of Military Appreciation Days, all military members and their families with receive half off the price of admission. To receive the discount, military members should purchase tickets Saturday evening beginning at 6 at the box office.

Call the Symphony for tickets or information at 453-4102.

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