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Sample performing arts from 17 acts for free at MPAC conference

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Queen Nur is one of 17 performing artists set to play a sample of their act on Saturday in Great Falls
Queen Nur is one of 17 performing artists set to play a sample of their act on Saturday in Great Falls

On Saturday Great Falls gets the chance to watch 17 performing acts play samples of their shows as part of the 32nd annual Montana Performing Arts Consortium regional booking conference.

Think of it as an entertainment buffet presented to you throughout the day for free. You’re welcome to attend all of the sets or pick and choose which ones you’d like to attend.

The first performances go down starting at 9 a.m., and the final set of five artists start at 3:30 p.m. at the Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts Theater in Great Falls.

According to the event’s press release, “These showcases are an opportunity to sample a wide variety of media and entertainment form some of the finest performing artists in Montana and across the continent.”

A jury of MPAC members selected the artists who met certain standards in their performances in order to participate in the showcase. The performers who play at this event will be booked around Montana in different community concert events.

Saturday’s event also features a keynote address titled “National Perspective on the Frontier” by Douglas Sonntag, the interim director of performing arts at the National Endowment of the Arts, which takes place Friday at 7:45 p.m. in the Great Falls commission chambers. Then on Saturday he will present a one-hour National Endowment for the Arts grants workshop at 10 a.m. in the Gibson Room.

Anyone interested in attending that workshop must contact Dona Hughes at  455-8495 to be included on the guest list.

MPAC is a statewide non-profit arts organization that that brings professional artists to Montana Communities and promotes education through the arts. Representatives from 19 community organizations in Montana and Idaho will attend the conference to select artists for their performing arts series.

The artist showcase and conference are made possible in part through a legislative grant from Montana’s Cultural Trust, Montana Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts, and Western States Arts Federation.

Below is a schedule of performers along with more information on what they will be presenting and a video of their performing if one is available.

Showcase I

9 a.m. Chinook Winds

As the only professional wind quintet in Montana, the Chinook Winds serve as the resident chamber ensemble for the Great Falls Symphony.

9:17 a.m. Norman Foote

Norman is a singer-songwriter, humorist from Vancouver, B.C. who recently won a Canadian Juno Award and Parent Choice Award. His humor focuses on his youth and his own family today that all ages can relate to.

9:34 a.m. Bridges Home

Bridges Home is Tami and Dave Gunter—dual lead vocalists, multi-instrumentalists and purveyors of tasty Americana, Roots, Celtic and original music.

9:51 a.m. Queen Nur

A flavorful seasoning of tales from African and African-American oral tradition that will ground you in tradition, butter you up with joy and delightfully sweeten your mind.

10:08 a.m. Scott Kirby

“Main Street Souvenirs” is a multi-media stage performance featuring live piano music, a spoken narrative, and a video presentation. The theme is small town America with a focus on The Great Plains, from eastern Montana to Illinois.

10:25 a.m. GT Hurley

GT Hurley, singer/songwriter, breeds ranch-raised Quarter Horses under the shadows of the Crazy Mountains in Montana. His first album, “Tough Horses,” reached #1 on the Top 30 Album Play List for Western CD’s in the spring of 2013.

Showcase II

12:30 p.m. Bear Bait Dance

For this production they will present excerpts of original evening-length contemporary dance concerts, including “Wall City News” and our upcoming “Happier With a Hoover.”

12:47 p.m. Andre Floyd with David Griffith

“Careers in Music” takes music from inception to finish—emphasizing songwriting, recording, design and distribution of product, with a special section on performance.

1:04 p.m. Mary Kaye

The audience’s attention will be captured with her award-winning three octave vocals, amazing musical dexterity, singing well-loved classics along with her award-winning originals, her magnetic stage presence, beautiful guitar playing, great song introductions, and a healthy dash of humor thrown in.

1:21 p.m. Tom Catmull & Radio Static

This group is known throughout the Northwest for compelling songcraft, creative high level musicianship and the ability to fill quiet rooms with the kind of storytelling and sounds that stick with you long after the lights go up.

1:38 p.m. The Great Kaplan

Illusion, music, juggling and deadpan comedy collide in this hilarious vaudevillesque spectacle. David Kaplan plays “The Great Kaplan,” an earnest vaudeville performer, who inexplicably gets caught in the crosshairs of the universe.

1:55 p.m. Wylie & The Wild West

Singer, songwriter, rancher, horseman, and the original, world-famous Yahoo! ™ yodeler, Wylie Gustafson is a real-life cowboy born into a 4th generation ranching family on the empty sprawl of northern Montana.

Showcase III

3:30 p.m. Swiftcurrent

Innovative and energetic, Swiftcurrent overflows the boundaries of Celtic music to find inspiration in styles from the Americas and beyond.

3:47 p.m. Bryan Bowers

Bryan Bowers is an award-winning autoharp player and his family program includes instrumentals, singing and stories. He is happily bemused by life and it comes through in his program.

4:04 p.m. Todd Mosby: American Landscapes

Mosby’s American Landscapes is an intimate instrumental solo guitar set featuring virtuoso flat picking, finger picking, along with stories about the music, audience participation.

4:21 p.m. Vince and Mindi

Vince and Mindi are a musical duet performing Western and American Roots music. They draw from swing, cowboy, bluegrass and old-time with some original material, humorous, and interesting stories.

4:38 p.m. Robbi Kumalo

Robbi returns to Montana to launch her one-woman show called The RH Factor—Be Positive! This new show is a little bit theatre with visuals and music. Robbi’s musical journey includes her stories seamlessly interwoven into her music for a rhythmic chuckle and grin.

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