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Gladstone set to play five of his songs in a first-time-ever event

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Jack Gladstone (1)
Jack Gladstone

Montana’s troubadour Jack Gladstone this weekend will do something he’s never done before — perform in concert with the Great Falls Cascade Quartet.

The performance, titled “Tango and Rose,” features the Great Falls Symphony’s string quartet playing with Gladstone for five songs and following that up with pieces from Alexander Borodin, Felix Mendelssohn and Astor Piazzolla.

The shows are Friday at the C.M. Russell Museum at 7 p.m. and Sunday at the First Congregational/Christ United Methodist Church starting at 2 in the afternoon.

Admission is $15 for adults, $5 for students. Season/Group passes are available for purchase.

Gladstone will play his tracks “Legends of Glacier,” “Buffalo Cafe,” “To Marry the Sun,” “When the Land Belonged to God,” and will end with “The Autumn Symphony” together with Mary Papoulis and Megan Karls on violin and Thad Suits on cello.

In an interview with Big Sky State Buzz, Gladstone said he’s looking forward to playing a sample of his songs with the quartet even if it adds an extra bit of difficulty.

Playing with symphonic players, Gladstone added, is a bit of a change of pace because he’s got to make sure that he’s in sync not only the written material, but the flow of the other performers, as well.

“When I’m playing just by myself I can be a little looser (with my playing), but for this show I’m going to be in tune and in time, which makes it easier,” Gladstone said. “Because I’m the live voice and the rhythm instrument that is determining where we are at with the music, it’s a little more challenging, but at the same time these are all magnificent players that are professionally competent at the highest level.”

After intermission, the quartet will play a selection of pieces, highlighted by Piazzolla’s “Four for Tango,” which he wrote in 1989 after a lifetime of composing over 1,000 tangos. The style of his piece blends traditional and contemporary music in what he labeled “Nuevo Tango.”

The piece includes heavy rhythmic and percussive elements to the music and requires the performers to provide “advanced extended techniques,” the event’s press release states.

The Cascade Quartet
The Cascade Quartet

While sometimes taken for granted, the venue on Friday, in particular, will add an extra amount of significance to this show, also.

Gladstone said he considers the C.M. Russell Museum “hallowed ground.”

And, in 2013 the museum named him the first Montanan ever to receive the “Russell Museum Heritage Award” which honored his contributions to the “legacy, culture, life and country of Russell’s West.”

“Because of the aura and the conspicuous career of Russell in becoming the west’s premier painter, and I would say without a doubt the most authentic illustrator of Montana and Western Americana, every time I’m there I just float away into this world that Russell helped blossom,” Gladstone said.

Gladstone said making music together with the quartet in front of Russell’s paintings should make for an electric show.

“The neat thing is that these songs have been arranged before, but this is live and so there is me, the cello and two violins whose resonance will be vibrating throughout the entire C.M. Russell Museum and that’s just awesome,” he said.

Gladstone said being the Heritage Award Winner isn’t only about performing music, however.

He said, in addition, he’s continued to extend his role further into, “educating, informing, inspiring and persuading kids and people to invest themselves into an appreciation for our landscape, for our people and our heritage because this investment is unique, and the gift from this is not to be found monetarily, but this is to be found spiritually,” he said. “The spiritual essence of who we are as Montanans.”

A member of the Blackfeet Nation, Gladstone in 1985  co-founded “Native America Speaks,” an award winning lecture series.

In 1987, Jack mainstreamed into a full time performing and recording career, producing 15 critically acclaimed CD’s and presenting thousands of concerts, workshops, and school programs. He’s also garnered the prestigious “Best Historical Recording” award from the Native American Music Association for his masterpiece, Native Anthropology; Challenge, Choice, and Promise in the 21st Century.

Next week he will receive the Governor’s Award for the Humanities, as well.

For more information on Gladstone, visit his website here, and for more information on this weekend’s shows, visit the Great Falls Symphony website or call 406-453-4102


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