The inaugural Montana Troubadour Series, featuring local and national performers, will kick off this weekend in Bigfork. The series is a benefit fundraiser for Glacier Hope Homes, a local nonprofit that provides support services to veterans in need.
The first show of the series, at 7 p.m. Nov. 4, will feature a performance by violinist Wai Mizutani. According to a press release, Mizutani and friends “will be bringing to the stage his eclectic infusion of classical music with the oldies and classic rock covers in an electrifying and dazzling display of lights and rocking instrumentals.”
Mizutani now lives in Kalispell, performing around the valley and teaching at Flathead Valley Community College. He graduated from the Juilliard School of Music and his career has included orchestral performances with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and served as a soloist for various orchestras across the globe, including the West Coast Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Korean Symphony Orchestra, Taipei Sinfonietta in Taiwan, Puccini Sinfonietta in Italy, Moscow Chamber Orchestra and Manhattan Symphony Orchestra.
Mizutani has been recognized for his performances in Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, as well as for securing top honors for the Taiwan International Competition and Five Towns Violin Competition. Throughout his career, he has performed with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Arnold Steinhardt, Glenn Dicterow, Kurt Masur and Zubin Mehta.
The Montana Troubadour Series continues at 7 p.m. April 2 and 3, with performances by Michael Martin Murphey and Rob and Halladay Quist. These shows were rescheduled due to the early November winter weather. All non-refundable tickets for the originally scheduled shows will be honored at the April performances.
These concerts will be performed in a round-table format, giving audiences the opportunity to get an inside look at the songwriting process.
“[The format] is very loose and a lot of fun,” Murphey said in an interview with This Week in the Flathead. “It allows us to just snatch things out of the air.”
Murphey said he is looking forward to performing in Bigfork, an area he’s visited and played in before.
“I met Rob [Quist] back in the ’70s with the Mission Mountain Wood Band. I played a lot of shows with those guys,” Murphey said. “I guess we’ve probably known each other for about 40 years.
“I’ve known Halladay since she was a little girl, but this will be the first time I’ve played a show with her. I’m looking forward to it.”
Murphey added that playing a benefit show for Glacier Hope Homes, an organization that provides services to veterans, is something he is happy to support.
“I was raised by veterans and I’ve always supported veterans,” Murphey said. “It not only fits in with what I believe in, but it’s the essence of what I believe in.”
Murphey is an American singer-songwriter whose career has reached multiple genres, including Western, country, bluegrass and popular music. A Grammy-nominated artist, Murphey has six gold albums, including “Cowboy Songs,” the first album of cowboy music to achieve gold status since “Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs” by Marty Robbins in 1959. Some of his well-known hit singles include “Wildfire,” “Carolina in the Pines,” “What’s Forever For,” “A Long Line of Love,” “What She Wants,” “Don’t Count the Rainy Days” and “Maybe This Time.”
Murphey is also the author of New Mexico’s state ballad, “The Land of Enchantment.” He has become a prominent musical voice for the Western horseman, rancher and cowboy.
His newest album, “High Stakes: Cowboy Songs VII” was released in 2016.
“When I first started with ‘Cowboy Songs,’ it was very traditional; you might say that it was pretty much nostalgia,” Murphey said. “But as I recorded more I realized there were important issues going on now that need to be addressed.
“This album represents how proud I am of cowboy culture and how hopeful I am for cowboy culture.”
Murphey plans to continue touring through the rest of this year, and hopes to begin recording his next album early next year.
For more information about Murphey, visit https://www.michaelmartinmurphey.com.
Rob Quist, born in Cut Bank, is a singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He has toured extensively throughout his career, both as a solo artist and with various groups, including the Mission Mountain Wood Band. His songs have been recorded by Murphey and Loretta Lynn, among others. His daughter, Halladay Quist, is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist as well. Both reside currently in the Flathead Valley area, frequently performing for local and regional audiences.
Tickets are $21 for the Nov. 4 show, and $51 for the April performances. All performances will be at the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts, 526 Electric Ave., Bigfork. Advance tickets are available at Electric Avenue Gifts or by calling 837-4994.
For questions, contact Donna England with Glacier Hope Homes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-858-0204.
Arts and entertainment editor Stefanie Thompson can be reached at 758-4439 or ThisWeek@dailyinterlake.com.