A rare piece of music highlights upcoming Community Band concert

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The Flathead Valley Community Band plays duing Heritage Days in this file photo.

Columbia Falls residents will get the opportunity to hear music with local roots next week as the Flathead Valley Community Band presents its fall concert.

The concert, titled “Music of Montana” will take place at the high school’s auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 and will feature music from a number of Montana composers, including long-time Columbia Falls High School Band Director and founder of the Columbians Jazz Band, Don Lawrence.

Lawrence’s piece, “Glacier Fantasy,” is based on a chorale written by Eugene Weigel, who was Lawrence’s composition instructor and mentor at the University of Montana. Weigel wrote the piece in just two days while visiting Lawrence in Columbia Falls and dedicated to “my beloved Glacier National Park.”

The piece premiered with Lawrence’s Columbia Falls High School band in 1963, but has not been performed again since. As current Flathead Valley Community Band Conductor Allen Slater was selecting pieces for this year’s fall concert, he decided it was time for Lawrence’s piece to be heard once again.

“Don did a lot of arranging, mostly for groups and ensembles, but he has done very little arranging for the concert band setting. I really didn’t want to see some of his work disappear, so I offered to help store some of his pieces. This was my chance to help share one of them with the public,” Slater said. “I started talking with Don about a year ago about bringing the piece back and we got together and edited it a little bit and we are excited the people are going to get the chance to hear it again.”

Slater’s program for the “Music of Montana” features a number of pieces by Montana composers, including Craig Naylor, David Maslanka and Daniel Buckvich.

The concert begins with Ron Nelson’s “Mayflower Overture” as the music selections attempt to tell the story of those who came to America and found their way to Montana.

Naylor’s “Hi-Line Express” pays tribute to the great steam locomotives on Montana’s past and leads into David Bobrowitz’s “The Big Sky.”

Buckvich’s “Buffalo Jump Ritual,” written for the Montana All-State Band in 2000, aurally describes a buffalo hunting experience while Roland F Seitz’s “Anaconda Copper Mines March” was written for and dedicated to Sam H. Treloar’s famous concert band, which was composed of 48 Butte miners at the turn of the century.

Those pieces and more will be performed at the concert, which is free to the public, but the organization will be accepting donations. Visit the Flathead Valley Community Band’s website at www.fvcband,org for more information.

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