After an hiatus due to the Sars CoV2 pandemic in the Spring of 2021, next Saturday on September 25, 2021, the Bozeman Symphony resumes its concerts with a live performance in The Wilson Auditorium, featuring the world premiere of the piece they commissioned by composer in residence, Scott Lee, THE LAST BEST PLACE. In addition, internationally acclaimed Cellist Julian Schwarz, will be the soloist performing Samuel Barber’sConcerto for Cello and Orchestra.
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 provides a profound and portentous finale for this first concert of the new season, and provides a perfect platform for new music director, Norman Huynh, to share his gifts as an interpreter of music ranging here from the 19th to 21st centuries.
We spoke with Norman Huynh, music director, and Emily Paris-Martin, Executive Director, of the Bozeman Symphony on September 14, 2021 about the current realities of the symphony, as well as their visions for its future.
What do you call it when a deacon from a local church gets to thinking about how to solve a problem, in this case, chronic homelessness, learns of other communities building tiny houses, goes to the Bozeman city offices to find out about building code requirements, and meets an Architecture Professor, who just happens to direct the MSU Community Design Center? Coincidence? Synchronicity? Serendipity? A God Moment? Whatever you call it, that meeting in the Fall of 2016 led to a collaboration involving local churches, Montana State University’s School of Architecture, the non-profit, HRDC, local businesses and individuals culminating in the creation of The Housing First Village, which is being built on the north 7th area of Bozeman. It is part of an innovative plan to centralize services for those chronically challenged with issues such as homelessness, food insecurity, etc.
We spoke with three members of the Gallatin Valley Interfaith Association, Rev. Connie Campbell-Pearson, who was the St. James Episcopal Church deacon who went to the city offices on that fateful day in 2016, along with Rev. Jody McDevitt of First Presbyterian Church and Amanda Cater of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman. They organized other local religious groups to raise $139,000 to build tiny homes in the Housing First Village.
In part two, we spoke with the head of the MSU School of Architecture, Ralph Johnson, about how graduate and undergraduate students in their Community Design Center contributed to the project.
It has now grown under the aegis of HRDC, which is working to build the Food and Resource Center, a nearly 32,000-square-foot building that will become the new home of the Gallatin Valley Food Bank and Fork and Spoon restaurant, along with other HRDC programs. Of the planned 19 tiny homes to be constructed, 12 are nearing completion with occupancy hoped to begin in the Fall of 2021.
On March 13, 2020, 16 young Montanans filed their constitutional climate lawsuit against the state of Montana, asserting that, by supporting a fossil fuel-driven energy system, which is contributing to the climate crisis, Montana is violating their constitutional rights to a clean and healthful environment; to seek safety, health, and happiness; and to individual dignity and equal protection of the law. The youth plaintiffs also argue that the state’s fossil fuel energy system is degrading and depleting Montana’s constitutionally protected public trust resources, including the atmosphere, rivers and lakes, fish and wildlife.
On August 3, 2021, these 16 young plaintiffs secured a critical victory when Judge Kathy Seeley denied the state’s attempt to prevent their case, Held v. State of Montana, from proceeding to trial.
Now, the Montana court has joined others, including courts in Washington, Texas, Oregon, and Colorado, in exercising the court’s role to declare the constitutional boundaries of what governments must and must not do when it comes to climate change. This is a watershed moment for all the science-based youth climate lawsuits supported by the non-profit law firm, Our Children’s Trust, including Juliana v. United States, La Rose v. Her Majesty the Queen, Sagoonick v. Alaska and many more.
In this zoom briefing recorded on August 13, 2021, attorneys Roger Sullivan of Kallispell with Melissa Hornbein and Nate Bellinger of Our Children’s Trust are joined by youth plaintiffs Ricki Held of Broaddus and Grace Gibson-Snyder of Missoula in discussing the significance to their case, Held v. Montana. Erin Barnhart moderates.
Perhaps you have heard of The Martel Construction Company headquartered in Bozeman, MT. Beginning with a spec house in 1960, this family owned and operated business has become one of Montana’s premier general contracting firms. They also specialize in green building, including the LEED Platinum MSU Norm Asbjornson Hall, the LEED certified Element Hotel, The LEED Silver Bozeman Public Library and other green built structures, such as Morningstar and Emily Dickinson Elementary Schools, Chief Joseph Middle School and The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.
Before their arrival in Bozeman during a wild late Spring storm in 1956, however, they had lived through harrowing experiences as refugees fleeing the Red Army from their farmstead in the Ukraine, across Eastern Europe, through separation and reunion in the final year and aftermath of World War II.
Their incredible story of that time is brought vividly to life by award winning local Gallatin Valley writer, Mark Sullivan, in his latest book, THE LAST GREEN VALLEY.
Mark is the best selling author of 18 previous novels, most recently BENEATH A SCARLET SKY, which has sold about 3 million copies and has been translated into dozens of foreign languages, and which was also an astounding true story from World War II.
Out of adversity comes creativity and diversity. When the Covid 19 pandemic shut down just about everything, Thomas Thomas created a website to be a performance platform for local artists, https://www.bozemanarts-live.com/
In this interview, Thomas Thomas describes his steep learning curve in creating bozemanarts-live.com and supporting not just the artists who appear there, but the performance arts starved shut-in, shut-down Gallatin Valley community, as well.
We spoke with Thomas Thomas on March 19, 2021, about his journey into creating this platform, and the upcoming first collaboration between Intermountain Opera and Baroque Music Montana, “Into the Light: A Musical Celebration of Spring” that will be streaming on March 20 at 7 PM on https://www.bozemanarts-live.com/
In this edition of Ecotones, award winning Livingston author, Jamie Harrison, discusses her latest book, THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING, published by Counterpoint Press.
It’s a multi-generational saga set in Livingston in 2002 and the north shore of Long Island in 1968. The main character, Polly, is recuperating from a serious head injury, as a long awaited family celebration for her Great-Aunt Maude’s 90th birthday and the annual fourth of July extended family get together is overshadowed by the disappearance of her young friend, Ariel Delgado, who was swept away in the flooded Yellowstone River under mysterious circumstances.
While maintaining suspense as the Livingston community comes together to search for Ariel, Jamie Harrison explores in mellifluous, spellbinding prose, the nature of memory, the complexities of family heritage and secrets, and how children see and understand the world. Above all, The Center of Everything is about the different kinds of love, interweaving idiosyncracies and experiences through her extended family and community.
Listeners who enjoyed her penultimate book, THE WIDOW NASH, will recognize a continuation of Dulcey’s tale down the generations from the 19th to 21st centuries.
Jamie Harrison is also the author of the Jules Clement/Blue Deer Mystery series, which are slated to be reissued this year by Counterpoint Press. We spoke with her on Jan. 8, 2021.
Dr. Arash Babaoff recently retired from his career at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where he worked in the Adolescent Medicine Division, Transport team and the Emergency Department since 1993.
Believing that medicine is an international language that should be practiced as such, Dr. Babaoff began his volunteer work abroad in November of 2001. Since then, he has made volunteering a way of life.
In addition to the many medical missions with international organizations such as Operation Smile, which have taken him to such countries as the West Bank of Palestine, Nepal, Chechnya, China, Cambodia, Rwanda, Malawi, Morocco, Myanmar, Mali, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and many others, Dr. Babaoff is the co-founder of an NPO providing healthcare to the people in the Bolivar Province in Central Ecuador.
We met Dr. Babaoff at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where he was also a volunteer. We found his work so inspiring, we asked him to join us on Ecotones, which he graciously found time to do.
In this interview with Bozeman octogenarian, Jo Anne Salisbury Troxel, recorded on Jan. 12, 2020, she recounts her and her family’s lives from before her birth in Plentywood, MT to the present in Bozeman, which she wrote about in her memoir, WAITING FOR THE REVOLUTION: A Montana Memoir.
Her father, Rodney Salisbury, was the Communist Sheriff of Sheridan County, who ran unsuccessfully for governor of Montana in 1932. Her mother, Marie Chapman Hansen, was a journalist. Wed to other spouses, who refused to grant them divorces, they defied small town conventions to live their free love, while organizing farmers and ranchers to resist foreclosures and other inequities of “Main Street”.
Through the lens of her ancestors’ and her own experiences, she illuminates the way things were in Montana from the 19th century to the present.
What happens when a family decides to devote themselves to creating a more healing world and gathers materials from nature and engage their own creativity to make toys for children bychildren? What if this is part of bringing into reality a vision of community healing the harm of generations of trauma experienced by First Nations people? What if the busy parents ask for assistance from a local church group, and a group of elder women joins in?
In October of 2019, some of those Elders from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman, “Kaalas” in the language of the Crow, brought us to the home of Drs. of Education Megkian and Shane Doyle, where we were welcomed by four of their five children: 6 year old twins, Blake and Quanah, 9 year old Lillian, and 11 year old Ruby. They shared with us their vision of the Family Healing Center, and why they created The Native American Children’s Toy Company.
Every 10th toy the children make is given to a Native American child currently in foster care with this letter: “…. No matter what happens, you will always have a home and a homeland with your people…”
Megkian (center), Quanah (left) & Blake (right) write words in English & Crow on stones to create “Story Stones”. Players pull stones from a bag & then make up stories from them. Kaalla, Ita Kileen, in the background works on a hoop for “Sticks & Hoops”.
Quanah Doyle works on a project. A bag of “Story Stones” are in front of him.
Lilian (left) & Ruby (right) Megkian (back)
From left to right: Ruby, Brooklyn, Kaalas Robyn Lauster & Kitty Donich (photo by Megkian Doyle)
From left to right: Blake, Lily’s friend, Elizabeth, Lily, Ita Killeen, Kitty Donich in back. (photo by Megkian Doyle)
Ruby (left) & friend, Brooklyn, (right)
Lilian (left) & friend, Lia, play “Story Stones”.
Quanah demonstrates “Stick & Hoop”
Unless otherwise credited, all photos courtesy of Kaala, Robyn Lauster. The family photo at top is by Arnica Spring Rae.