ARTS COUNCIL OF BIG SKY
BIG SKY – Warren Miller Performing Arts Center on Aug. 28 will play host to singer-songwriter Chuck Suchy of North Dakota and pianist and visual artist Scott Kirby of Colorado. The two will join forces in Big Sky to present a unique program of music called “Open Spaces: Music of Our Neighbors,” that truly represents the northern Plains region.
Chuck Suchy is one of the foremost musical voices of the American Great Plains. A working farmer, born and raised at home in the blue hills along the Missouri River south of Mandan, N.D., Suchy has a love for making music that goes back to his childhood.
Throughout his youth and young adult life, he found time to perform in the area’s halls, clubs and lounges, singing and playing guitar and accordion. In 1982, an acquaintance gave him a tape of Canadian troubadour Stan Rogers singing his classic “Field Behind The Plow.”
“It was at that moment that I realized that the life I was immersed in was worthy of song,” Suchy said.
He began writing his own ballads and songs, slipping them into his performances and it was soon obvious that he was on to something unique: sensitive and honest portrayals of contemporary American farm life, but from an insider’s point of view.
Suchy has continued to write, sing and record songs evoking and extolling the Great Plains region and lifestyle. His themes have expanded to include human relationships, spirituality, motorcycles, and sailing. The Plains have seen a lot of change over this time, including farm crises, loss of population and a major restructuring of the agricultural economy.
Suchy remains an astute observer of it all, and his songs chronicle not only the events, but also the emotions and feelings that accompany such upheaval and change.
A native of Ohio, Scott Kirby began his study of music at the age of 6, and continued formal piano instruction for 17 years. After obtaining an English degree from Ohio State University, Kirby moved to New Orleans and began his professional music career as a street performer. In the following four years, he recorded the complete rags of Scott Joplin, and made his debut at all of the major ragtime festivals in the U.S., as well as festivals in Belgium, France, Norway, New Zealand and Hungary.
Kirby has served as Musical Director of the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, Mo., and of the Rocky Mountain Ragtime and American Music Festival in Boulder, Colo., as well as director of the San Juan Islands Ragtime Institute.
Kirby’s artistic passion grew to include to visual art, and in 2005, while living in France, he completed 75 paintings and 28 piano compositions, including “The Prairie Devotionals.” The paintings and the new musical works set the groundwork for his new multi-media project “Main Street Souvenirs.” Kirby now lives in Boulder, Colo. and divides his time between composing, painting, performing and teaching.
Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are available at warrenmillerpac.org.