For Nancy, sharing music with the Bozeman community is a real joy.
Settling into Bozeman in 2002, Nancy Ojala has been an active music educator in the community. After retiring from Bozeman High School, she still participates as a substitute teacher for the music department and as an accompanist for some of the middle school programs. Outside of the Bozeman Symphonic Choir, Nancy can be found singing in her church’s gospel choir, as a KGLT DJ on the first and fifth Sunday of each month for the Sunday Classical Show, and as a Stephen’s Minister at Bozeman's United Methodist Church. Aside from these fantastic community commitments, the most important thing she gets to do, Nancy says, is to babysit her three-year-old granddaughter. Nancy is also a big supporter of the Symphony, generously donating her time to serve on the Board of Directors and on the planning committee for the Symphony's 50th Anniversary Birthday Bash held this past January.
Upon moving to Bozeman, Nancy started singing with the Symphonic choir and her contribution hasn’t gone unnoticed assisting with sectionals as the choir learns new music for concerts. Of her accomplishments Nancy shares: “my high school choir sang with the Symphonic choir and Symphony orchestra on Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Last December I was privileged to conduct a small ensemble as part of the collage concert.”
Nancy began singing as a small child. She sang in school and church choirs all the way through high school. Her high school choral director was very influential in her decision to major in music education in college. Additionally, she took piano lessons from 4th grade through college and dabbled in the violin from 4th through 9th grade. About her involvement with the Bozeman Symphony, Nancy says: “being able to share inspiring music with the Bozeman community has been a real joy for me personally. Music is such a great and expressive way to communicate with all age levels of people.”
Having been involved with 2 other collage concerts, Nancy shares that “these concerts are simply a magical way to weave together many different styles of musical selections into one beautiful experience with light and sound. All ages of people can enjoy the fast-paced movement of this concert and be surprised and inspired by the various small ensembles and large group selections which fit together so perfectly." Her participation in upcoming performances of 50th Anniversary Collage on March 3rd and 4th, 2018 will include conducting a small acapella vocal ensemble. The ensemble will sing a Czech folk song about springtime.
In Nancy’s words about the performance: "the pacing of each song and the melting together of one piece with another is truly unique in the collage concerts. You will be “blown away” by the exciting light and sound show the collage concert offers. It showcases so many wonderful small ensembles and the whole Symphony and Symphonic choir. The variety of musical styles and tempos of the pieces is really captivating for all ages of people. The addition of the amazing light show in combination with the extraordinary music really makes the concert an experience you don’t want to miss.”
Principal timpanist Jeff Vick and why the percussion section has become the "stars of the show" over the years.
Principal timpanist Jeff Vick moved to Bozeman in August 1989 from Tucson, AZ and joined the Bozeman Symphony shortly after. Jeff brings a vast amount of orchestral playing experience to the organization which has included performing with the Tucson Symphony, Denver Municipal Band, numerous community orchestras, in addition to performing in church settings.
As an educator in the public schools, Jeff currently teaches at Anderson School celebrating his 25th year, at Montana State University and LaMotte School (celebrating his 7th year) as well as teaching a private percussion studio.
Starting with piano lessons in Kindergarten, Jeff continued his musical interests by joining band in the fourth grade. It was with this ensemble he had some great experiences playing in select city wide honor groups and was led by a very inspirational band director in Junior High School. By seventh grade, Jeff had decided that being a band director and player was “what I wanted to be when I grew up.” He then started sitting in on big band gigs with his private teacher in Junior High, working up to paying gigs (combos, community theater shows) in high school.
The Bozeman Symphony was the first musical group Jeff became part of after moving to Bozeman. Jeff shares: “[the Symphony] helped lead to working with other organizations in the community (opera later that first year, Montana Ballet when they used primarily BSO members for the first Nutcracker with live music instead of a recording in 1993, Montana TheatreWorks for their first several shows starting in 1995 (the first couple Matthew was conducting), before taking a break & returning a few years ago to their summer productions. Some of my closest friendships have been made through connections either playing or socially through the symphony.”
If you’ve attended collage performances (or really any performance) with the Bozeman Symphony you know that the percussion section can easily become the stars of the show. The percussion section has had a piece or two featured on every collage concert since the first one in 1998, as well as having the opportunity to be a part of other mixed ensemble works featured as part of the collage concerts.
For upcoming performances on March 3rd and 4th, three different pieces and group combinations will feature the percussion section. These include “Dream Catcher” for marimba, vibraphone and other percussion featuring players Stephen Versaevel, Kris Olsen, Mark Brown and Micah Jastram. PercOrchestra (the Far Afield ensemble) has been doing this one for a few years.
“Number 2” is for Steel Drums (the hammered oil drum barrel instruments from Trinidad strongly associated with Caribbean music) again including the members of the percussion section: Stephen Versaevel, Kris Olsen, Mark Brown and Micah Jastram, along with Cortney Bury on Bass.
Additionally, Jeff will be playing one movement of Astor Piazzolla’s “Histoire du Tango” on marimba with Sue Makeever on flute. Jeff has played this piece for smaller audiences in the past and is very much looking forward to having the opportunity for a wider audience to hear this work and the combination of flute and marimba.
In Jeff’s words: “The variety of pieces and fast pacing – large and small groups, many “musical snapshots” that represent both the large ensemble experience (orchestra and choir) as well as showcasing smaller chamber music groups and the individual musicians who make up the BSO and Symphonic Choir make collage performances exciting."
Sue Makeever shares why collage is a unique experience.
Jerry and Sue Makeever have both dedicated many, many years, to the Bozeman Symphony with Jerry currently celebrating 43 seasons and Sue, celebrating 29 seasons with the orchestra! Jerry and Sue settled into Bozeman in 1987 after spending a year living apart. Sue had been teaching at the University of North Texas while Jerry was teaching here at MSU. The couple decided Bozeman was a better place to live and raise a family which includes their two children Megan and Matt. Their family has contributed greatly to the Symphony with each of them participating over the years with Matt on trumpet, and Megan on flute and piccolo.
Sue has been immersed in Bozeman’s musical community teaching flute, coaching a flute choir, playing in the woodwind quintet at MSU, a private studio, and playing in the Bozeman Symphony, Intermountain Opera, and Montana Ballet. She recently retired from the Billings Symphony after 22 years!
Sue's musical interests were sparked early on. At the age of five, her grandmother took her to the Philadelphia Orchestra where she heard flutist William Kincaid, and at that moment, knew she wanted to play. This experience inspired her passion for playing music and later as a music educator in her professional career. Her involvement with the Bozeman Symphony first began by subbing in the symphony when she first came to Bozeman, then moving into the piccolo spot and now as the current principal flute. Players in the Symphony, along with Sue, know that the concert season keeps them very busy from September to April. Sue shares: “I love orchestral music, and even though my earnings from the symphony don't financially support me, I am lucky to be doing what I love. I still enjoy the process and challenge.”
Carrie Krause on Great Repertoire & the Collage Experience
As part of the the Holiday Collage concert in December 2016, Carrie performed a moving tribute to the late Leonard Cohen in an arrangement of “Hallelujah” alongside violinist Pico Alt and cellist Chandra Lind. About the performance she shares “last Christmas’ collage was a brilliant way to program what can sometimes feel a bit over-familiar repertoire. Instead, we presented works that represented African, Klezmer, folk, and everything in between for a fast-paced and exciting holiday celebration.”
As part of this year’s collage performance, Carrie will be playing the Shostakovich Polka from his set of 5 pieces for two violins and piano which she describes as tuneful, virtuosic, and bouncy, with a nice mix of humor and irony. In addition, she’ll be playing part of the last movement from Bartok’s Contrasts, for violin, clarinet, and piano. This piece is fiendishly difficult, and starts with a macabre bashing of open strings, using a second fiddle tuned in tri-tones.
The Shostakovich trio will be played with Pico Alt, a violinist who also attended Juilliard, and with whom Carrie collaborates a great deal in teaching private and chamber students. Clarinetist Greg Young joins for the Bartok and pianist Laurel Yost is especially brilliant with ‘new’ music, and brings a great ear to this repertoire.
If you haven’t been to a collage performance before, or perhaps you’ll remember the exuberance you’ve felt after attending in the past, in Carrie’s words: “It’s tremendously exciting to see my amazing colleagues on stage have a chance to shine. In the orchestra we operate as a team, but collage highlights individual player’s hidden talents and intriguing personalities. I love the variety of repertoire and getting to hear many pieces I’ve never experienced. Overlapping the last note of one piece with the first of another highlights the captivating elements of these different styles.
It’s a tremendous showcase for our talented community. It’s also a great introduction to the orchestra for anyone who isn’t familiar with the symphonic scene, with shorter works and a myriad of grooves and moods. There’s truly something for everyone.”
Clarinetist Greg Young shares his excitement for upcoming performances of Collage!
Celebrating 21 seasons with the Bozeman Symphony, clarinetist Gregory Young has been immersed in the Bozeman community since 1988. As a professor at the MSU School of Music, you can find Greg performing regularly as part of the University’s artistic and musical programs, with the Bozeman Symphony, in addition to Intermountain Opera and Montana Ballet.
Greg’s involvement with the Symphony began when he moved to Bozeman in 1988 as a principal player in the orchestra. His passion for music began early on, at the age of five. Greg shares: “I started piano at age 5, clarinet at 14, and upon entering college I knew that if I had a regular career I would be wanting to play music ‘after work.’ Now, of course, I play music before, during and after. I love the holistic nature of playing music – physical, mental, spiritual, emotional.”
When asked about the Symphony having an impact on his life, Greg feels that the Bozeman Symphony is an important artistic pillar in the community and is happy to be part of it.
About the upcoming collage experience on March 3rd and 4th at Willson Auditorium, Greg will be performing The Bartok Contrasts, with Carrie Krause, violin and Laurel Yost, piano. The music can be described as a “Fast Dance that starts with a violin tuned down and has a primitive feel.”
We have no doubt that you’ll find the upcoming concert experience unique and exciting. The orchestra and choir musicians feel that way too. Greg describes the concert experience as “there is no time to get bored, and the variety and contrasts are compelling. There is nothing quite like it. Sort of like a musical Pecha Kucha! When it comes to programming, Matthew is a master, and this is one key ingredient!”
Lucinda Morris, Violin
Lucinda is a recent transplant to Montana, moving to the area from Illinois in January 2016. She attended school at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where she earned a bachelors degree in environmental science and played in the Philharmonic Orchestra. She worked for the University for several years, which gave her the opportunity to collaborate on and publish two research papers. Since moving to Montana, Lucinda served two terms in AmeriCorps, working with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Ennis. At the completion of her second term she took a job with Matson's Laboratory in Manhattan, pursuing her goal of working in the field of wildlife conservation.
Lucinda has been playing classical violin for 23 years, starting in the Suzuki program as a child. She joined the Bozeman Symphony last year and has greatly enjoyed getting back into music in her local community, which has also included performances with chamber groups and the Montana Ballet Company. Lucinda hopes to keep playing in the area for years to come, both in the orchestra and other ensembles, and on her own. When she's not busy practicing for the next Symphony concert, Lucinda enjoys spending time outdoors and appreciating the beautiful landscapes of Montana.
MUSIC = HOPE
The 2014 premiere of A Brasstacular Christmas caused such a sensation for Bozeman Symphony audiences that we received an overwhelming outpouring of requests to present it again. Well, your wish is our command as we present A Brasstacular Christmas, The Return! on December 9th and 10th, 2017.
Current Principal Trumpet for the Dallas Symphony and former Principal Trumpet for the world famous Canadian Brass, Ryan Anthony will join the orchestra. Ryan, is known as one of the greatest trumpeters and entertainers in the world today. Having performed many times with Maestro Matthew Savery, Ryan convinced Matthew to collaborate on a new and humorous Christmas extravaganza.
Savery and Anthony met in Michigan in 2002, while performing with the Greater Lansing Symphony Orchestra and since, they have performed several concerts together and become great friends. Upon Ryan’s request, Savery and Anthony co-wrote the “Brasstacular Christmas” show and will repeat the December 2014 performance this December. “I never have as much fun as I do when I’m on stage with Ryan. It is always an honor to be on stage with a world-class musician but even more fun when it’s a close friend” - Matthew Savery.
You’ll see them both ham it up while simultaneously being amazed at Ryan’s incredible
talent. Join the Symphony as they perform Trumpet Voluntary, The Christmas Song, Deck the Horn,
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, music from Polar Express, and much, much more.
Anthony brings a unique aspect to his music-making and performances as he has an incurable form of cancer called Multiple Myeloma. Almost five years ago, Anthony had just completed a guest appearance with The Canadian Brass, and wasn’t feeling well. After the concert, Ryan told his wife, Niki, that he felt like his entire body was “jangling” as he ran off-stage.
Chronic aches & pains had sent the 43-yr old to multiple doctors searching for the cause. Blood tests revealed abnormalities but multiple doctors reassured him that “it can’t be cancer” because Ryan was too young to be a candidate for the types of cancers that caused his symptoms. Fortunately, one doctor decided to test for cancer “just in case”. The Monday after the Canadian Brass concert, Ryan & Niki got the call that no one anticipates or is prepared for – especially with two young children in elementary school. Ryan had been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a terminal cancer of the bone marrow that most often appears in patients 70 and older.
Ryan immediately began therapy at Baylor’s Sammons Cancer Center while he and Niki researched the places for his long-term treatment. After researching hospitals all over the country, they decided to stay at Baylor in Dallas and Ryan began preparing for a stem cell transplant to be performed in the Spring of 2013.
Just ten years ago, Multiple Myeloma was a death sentence with a life span of 2-3 years. While the cancer is still considered incurable and terminal, recent, rapid advances in research have greatly extended the life span of newly diagnosed patients and hope for a cure is a real possibility.
When he was diagnosed, Ryan’s goal was to survive long enough to see his children, then just 6 and 11-years-old, graduate from high school. But, because he had responded so well to his treatment and at one point was in complete remission, Ryan & Niki both dare to hope for more. Recently, Ryan has had to adjust his treatments as he continues to live with Multiple Myeloma and has been doing so by taking on new life experiences like climbing Mt Fuji with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
During his transplant, Ryan was overwhelmed with phone calls from trumpet players all over the world. Everyone asked what they could do to help and Ryan jokingly started saying “we’ll all play a concert when I am healthy again and we’ll call it “Cancer Blows.” As the weeks went by, the joke solidified into a real event with an impressive guest list. Ryan & Niki realized the event could be more than just something for fun but could be used to raise awareness and money to further the research that has helped give their family a hope for a future. Cancer Blows and the Ryan Anthony Foundation has turned music into hope.
Through exciting & unique musical events featuring the talents of brass musicians worldwide, Cancer Blows raises both awareness and money to encourage research for cancers with a focus on blood cancers & Multiple Myeloma. Maestro Savery joined Cancer Blows for the 2017 fundraising event in Dallas, Texas at the Meyerson Symphony Center on May 10th, 2017. Featured on the performance were legendary trumpet players DOC SEVERINSEN (Tonight Show Band Leader; Legendary Jazz Artist), ARTURO SANDOVAL (World-Famous, Ten-Time Grammy Winning Artist), LEE LOUGHNANE (Founder & member of the Grammy Award Winning band Chicago), RASHAWN ROSS (Dave Matthews Band), RYAN ANTHONY (Cancer Blows founder; Principal Trumpet – Dallas Symphony Orchestra), and many more.
Maestro Savery conducted alongside World-Renowned Pops Symphony Conductor, Arranger and Jazz Trumpet Soloist Jeff Tyzik. All profits from Cancer Blows events benefit Baylor Health Care System Foundation and Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. View the video capturing the 2017 Cancer Blows event here: https://vimeo.com/219893801
Please join us for A Brasstacular Christmas on December 9th and 10th to be inspired by Ryan's incredible story and talent.
Celebrating Alan Leech and 46 Years with the Bozeman Symphony
Alan Leech has been a long-time member of the Bozeman Symphony and this season, we celebrate his 46th year. After moving to Bozeman in 1972 to teach both the Bassoon and Saxophone, Alan has made a significant impact to the Symphony and community through his involvement as a player, conductor, cover conductor, program notes writer, exceptional musician, and much more.
Alan's many talents were featured during performances of The Magic of the Theater on October 28th and 29th, where audiences had the opportunity to hear his solo during Stravinsky's Firebird and his program notes printed in our concert program.
As we have been enjoying and exploring our 50-year history, we came across a photo that tells a story about Alan in a fun way. We hope you enjoy his Bionic Bassoon story as much as we do. Congratulations Alan on 46 years, and your wonderful achievements with the Bozeman Symphony!
Bionic Bassoon T-Shirt now available at our Symphony Store
Mike Nelson, Principal French Horn
Jeannie Little, Principal Trombone
Photo Credit: Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/MSU
Dr. Jeannie Little, Low Brass Professor and Director of University Band at Montana State University, fell in love with the trombone as a child, after her band director played her a recording of Tommy Dorsey’s “Getting Sentimental Over You.” Dorsey’s golden tones lured her into the world of trombone and a lifetime of musical pursuits. Jeannie earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, master’s degree from Northwestern University and doctorate from the Eastman School of Music, all in trombone performance. She has performed with symphony orchestras all over the country, a highlight of which was performing with the Chicago Symphony under Leonard Bernstein. Jeannie has also had great success as a soloist, chamber musician and conductor with recent solo appearances at the 2017 International Trombone Festival and International Women’s Brass Conference. Her teaching career spans all age groups, from beginning elementary students in the Los Angeles public schools to gifted international high school students at the Interlochen Arts Academy to university students at the University of Hawaii, James Madison University, Louisiana State University and now at MSU. Originally from Alabama, Jeannie brings her love and passion for music and the trombone to Montana’s students every day. She lives in Bozeman with her wife, two children, and two dogs, and hopes one day to fulfill her lifelong dream of being a cowgirl.