Ending the 75th Season on a Celtic Note

By Beacon Staff

With a final performance on March 29, nonprofit Flathead Valley Live on Stage will close out its 75th season of bringing family-friendly musical acts to local audiences.

The 2013-2014 season was relatively successful, Live on Stage president Betsy Wood said last week, though it has been a bit of a challenge getting the word out about the organization’s name change.

Live on Stage was formerly known as the Flathead Valley Concert Association, and before that it was the Community Concerts Association.

Regardless of its name, the organization has been bringing entertainment to the Flathead for more than seven decades, Wood said.

“It’s always a little bit difficult when you rebrand, because for probably over 60 years we were Community Concerts,” Wood said.

Along with the name change, the organization has a national booking agent – Live on Stage – which gives it about three dozen performers and groups to choose from when constructing its new season lineup, Wood added.

With so many options in various genres, the concert series has moved toward its new identity of more mainstream-type music, Wood said, while also retaining the community feel.

“We try really, really hard to pick what we think people here would enjoy the most,” she said.

One of those acts is the Gothard Sisters, a highly energetic trio of sisters – Greta, Willow and Solana – who play Irish and Celtic music and perform traditional dances as well. They are scheduled to perform as the final act of the 2013-2014 season, on March 29 at the Flathead High School auditorium. The show takes place at 7:30 p.m.

In 2007, the sisters were on a Seattle-based Irish dance team that placed second at a world competition in Scotland, and their latest of six albums, “Story Girl,” won Celtic Radio’s Album of the Year award in 2011.

“They are so incredible,” Wood said of the group. “They are just really high energy.”

Tickets to the Gothard Sisters show are $30 for adults; however, if a potential audience member purchases an all-show pass for the 2014-2015 season before March 29, they get free admission to the Gothard show.

“It’s a deal,” Wood said. “It’s a heck of a deal.”

Flathead Valley Live on Stage already has an idea about its lineup for next season, which will include master violinist and Flathead Valley
Community College instructor Wai Mizutani; pianist, composer and arranger Mark Herskowitz, who has worked with international philharmonics; saxophonist Mark Verdi, who plays rare instruments in his show “SAXsational” and will share the stage with local high school concert and jazz bands; and nationally ranked fiddler Alex DePue along with Mexican guitarist Miguel de Hoyos.

The shows should start in late September or early October, depending on the artists touring availabilities, Wood said.

Each show costs $30 for adults at the door, though Wood said a season pass for all four shows is considerably less. An all-show pass purchased before May 15 for an adult is $65; $55 for seniors ages 62 and older; and $35 for students.

A family pass is $150 for all four shows, and Wood said family can be defined as anyone who lives under the same roof.

All of the proceeds from ticket sales go toward allowing the nonprofit to keep bringing shows to the Flathead, Wood said.

“We’ve been doing this for 75 years without any paid staff,” she said. “No one gets paid one cent, it’s all volunteers. Even me.”

Season passes for 2014-2015 and individual tickets to the Gothard Sisters can be purchased online at www.flatheadvalleyliveonstage.org. Anyone with questions or seeking more information on the organization can call 406-752-0605 or 406-837-1026.

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