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Arts council readies for performance season


August 9, 2018

The Sanders County Arts Council (SCAC) is gearing up for the annual Tapestry performing arts series. This year, the SCAC will present six performances.

Karen Thorson with SCAC said that performers are chosen through the Montana Performing Arts Consortium. The consortium hosts a conference early in the year allowing presenters from across the state, including SCAC, to preview performers. Thorson said that the conference this year had about 17 performers.

“To see how the audience responds to a performer is really important for us to make our choices,” Thorson said, noting that many of the representatives at the conferences are from smaller communities in Montana. She said that once SCAC chooses performers, the challenge is to block book them with other venues in northwest Montana so that they can get the best rate for the performers. Thorson said that performers not chosen at the consortium conference are recommended by other presenters in the state.

Thorson is excited about the 2018-2019 season and the diversity of the performers.

“We feel like our role is to offer some things that are familiar to people, but also to bring in things people would otherwise not have an opportunity to see,” Thorson said. “Every performance in the series is totally different.”

Along with bringing the performers to The Rex Theatre in Thompson Falls and the Paradise Center in Paradise, SCAC also makes an effort to welcome the performers. From lodging and pre-performance meals to gifts and snack bags, Thorson said they want to make performers “feel welcome in our area.”

The performers also do outreach in local schools. Thorson said that the outreach includes a short demonstration on their style of performance, and education about what their professional life is like, as well as answering questions from students.

“The performers love it here and appreciate what we’re doing to bring performances here,” Thorson said.

The Tapestry series kicks off later this month with two First Thread events. Friday, Aug. 24, at Big Eddy’s in Thompson Falls and Saturday, Aug. 25, at Dog Hill Bistro in Plains, the SCAC will have a preview of the upcoming season, including videos of the performers. Both events will begin at 5:30 p.m., and season tickets for the Tapestry series will be available. The season passes are $75 and include a ticket to each of the six performances, as well as a flex ticket that can be used for any of the performances.

Tickets for individual performances are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Individual tickets are available two weeks prior to each performance and available at First Security Bank in Plains and Thompson Falls, D&D Liquor in Thompson Falls, or Garden Gift and Floral in Plains. Season tickets will be available at the ticket outlets beginning Aug. 27.

“What we’ve found is that if people come to one performance, they tend to come back to others,” Thorson said. “We encourage people to pick one. Choose something that’s a little different than what you know you like.”

The Tapestry series performances for the 2018-2019 season will include:

Saturday, Sept. 22: Rebecca Folsom, contemporary country, at The Rex Theatre in Thompson Falls.

According to Folsom’s website, she is a true renaissance woman. Along with her recording career, she has published two books of poetry and is an oil painter with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. “Whether performing solo, or as a duo, trio, or the full band, Rebecca’s music lifts you up for a truly heart-opening and inspiring musical ride.”

Saturday, Oct. 20: Scott Kirby, piano, at The Paradise Center.

Kirby is a composer, pianist and visual artist. He began his professional music career as a street performer in New Orleans, and has played at ragtime festivals across the globe. Kirby now lives in Boulder, Colorado, and divides his time between composing, painting, performing and teaching.

Saturday, Nov. 17: Okaidja Afroso, rhythm, at The Rex Theatre.

Okaidja was born into a family of musicians and storytellers in the village of Kokrobite on the west coast of Ghana. He began his career as a dancer with the celebrated Ghana Dance Ensemble. He became well known for his energetic stage presence.

Saturday, Feb. 2: Sound Exchange, a cappella, at The Paradise Center.

Sound Exchange presents dazzling harmonies, great stage presence, and wisecracking audience interaction, all in a whirlwind a cappella extravaganza. The group brings the goods with joy and humor, and covers soulful ballads, blistering rock anthems, jazz standards and chart-topping singles.​​ They were crowned champions of the 2017 Harmony Sweepstakes a cappella festival.

Saturday, March 9: Cowboy Poets of Montana, at The Rex Theatre

A variety of cowboy and cowgirl poets will converge upon The Rex. Thorson said this is not something that SCAC has done before. “We want people to understand that poetry and writing are performance arts as well,” she said.

Friday, April 12: O Sole Trio, Broadway, at The Paradise Center.

The trio met in New York City in 2012, creating an exhilarating and uniquely talented classical crossover ensemble that has been taking concert halls by storm all over the world. According to their website, “From deliciously witty to incredibly moving, O Sole Trio’s shows have it all; they breathe new life into familiar toe-tapping favorites with their unique and innovative arrangements.”


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