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The Chinook Winds class up Great Falls next weekend with “A Night at the Opera”

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The Chinook WInds open their new season on Sept. 28 and 30 in Great Fals.
The Chinook Winds open their new season on Sept. 28 and 30 in Great Falls.

After a summer of wearing shorts, tank-tops, flip flops and bikinis, the Chinook Winds gives fans the perfect opportunity to pull out the evening gowns, high heels, blazers, slacks, cuff links and vests next weekend as the fivesome performs some of their favorite opera songs during “A Night at the Opera I and II.”

The two performances start at 2 p.m., on Sunday, Sept. 28 at the First Congregational Church and at 7 p.m., on Tuesday, Sept. 30 at the C.M. Russell Museum.

The winds will be performing a mixture of well-known opera songs and a few obscure classics throughout the evening. Pieces such as Gioachino Rossini’s “Overture to the ‘Barber of Seville,’ Leo Delibes’ “Flower Duet” from ‘Lakme,’ Georges Bizet’s selections from “Carmen,” selections from “Porgy and Bess” from George Gershwin, the “Mladi (Youth) suite for wind sextet” from Leos Janacek, and Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries from Act III of “Die Walkure.”

Interestingly, Rossini’s “Overture” was reused from two of his earlier operas, “Aureliano in Palmira” and Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra.”
In Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,”perhaps the most well-known selection is the song “Summertime,” along with “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “I loves You, Porgy,” “I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’” and “Bess, You Is My Woman Now.”

Finally, “Valkyries” has been used in many films and TV shows over the years, starting with the first motion picture ever created, the controversial film “The Birth of a Nation.” It’s also been used in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” and the comedies “The Blues Brothers,” and “Super Troopers.”

Joining the winds for the first two shows will be bass clarinetist Christopher Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick is the assistant clarinet professor at the University of Montana. As an orchestral musician he has performed with the Detroit Symphony, Lansing Symphony, West Michigan Symphony, Battle Creek Symphony, Brevard Music Center Orchestra, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony, and the Missoula Symphony.

UM Assistant Clarinet professor Christopher Kirkpatrick performs with the Chinook Winds on Sept. 28 and 30.
UM Assistant Clarinet professor Christopher Kirkpatrick performs with the Chinook Winds on Sept. 28 and 30.

Norman Gonzales, flute player with the Chinook Winds, said while the music they are set to perform is based in the world of opera, they purposely chose selections that even people who are not opera fans will enjoy.

“We’re using the term ‘opera’ very generally because a lot of the music we’re playing is from famous operas, yes, but not just strictly operas,” he said. “It’s stuff people recognize and music that’s just really fun, more than anything. We’ve been having a good time putting it all together, without a doubt.”

Gonzales added that they made the decision to make the shows a high-class experience where people are comfortable dressing up or even just keeping it casual.

“We’re always trying to get our audience more involved and interested not only in our music, but us as performers, also,” he said. “Hence with this first program we want to give them an experience that’s not just about them coming to listen to music, but also a full-blown experience that appeals to multiple senses and is much more fulfilling than if you were listening to a recording.”

He added that all of the Winds want to stress that just because we’re not in a big city doesn’t mean we don’t have the same opportunities to take in some big-city like culture.

“Just because we’re in Great Falls doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy live opera music,” he said. “We want to bring that to this community and feel like we’re actively entertaining people not just in Great Falls but all across Montana.”

Individual tickets to the shows are $15 Adults/$5 Students and can be purchased at the door.

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