Explorebigsky.com Staff Writer
BIG SKY – “Some Enchanted Evening” was the 11th annual Strings Under the Big Sky event, but it offered up some “firsts.” The evening, sponsored by Friends of Big Sky Education and held at the Rainbow Ranch, once again featured music by members of the acclaimed Muir String Quartet and Friends.
More than 100 patrons attended the event, the largest crowd ever to attend the dinner and concert. In addition to the first attendance higher than 100, the Muir group introduced another first. Typically the ensemble performs traditional chamber music, which it did this year during the first two sets by Beethoven and Handel-Halvorsen. But the last set featured an accordionist, clarinetist and double bassist playing klezmer folk music, which derives from the Eastern European Jewish culture.
Strings Planning Committee member and local piano teacher, Klaudia Kosiak, gave high praise to the clarinetist’s dynamics scale and technique. “My world changed within his first few notes!” she said.
The musicians performed beside the Gallatin River, and the river itself, combined with the percussion of the rain on the tent, added unique qualities to the music.
Through this fundraiser that benefits the Big Sky School District’s classical music and dramatic arts programming, Strings patrons this year contributed $11,000 to “Complete the Vision” for the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center. WMPAC Artistic Director John Zirkle says the funds will help FOBSE pay for the curtains and rigging it plans to buy, which are priced at $32,000.
Strings event coordinators Doug and Henrietta Gale report that during the last six years the effort has raised more than $60,000 for arts programming. Last year, Strings kicked off the capital campaign for the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center.
Sponsors for the event included Big Sky Sotheby’s, ERA Landmark, Ousel and Spur Pizza (John and Jolene Romney), the Rainbow Ranch, and Friends of Big Sky Education. Individual sponsors were Doug and Henrietta Gale, Wayne and Marilyn Hill, Lew and Deb McCabe, Jerry and Anne Marie Mistretta, as well as Roger Schwer and Marjie Toepffer.
Updates and plans for next year’s event are available at stringsunderthebigsky.org.