All Are Welcome to the Bozeman Symphony

Abby Bradford

Christmastime is upon us. With the spirit of the season and joyful energy of change, we remember what’s precious to us: family, friends, and time spent together. Similar to this magical season, The Bozeman Symphony, a long-standing beacon of the arts in our community, brings this opportunity of change and time shared. All are welcome at the symphony, young and old, musically inclined or not; anyone can enjoy the simple pleasures of the arts both classical and new.

Classic and True
The Bozeman Symphony’s December performances feature the Bozeman Symphonic Choir and Music Director finalist Norman Huynh brings just that - Antonio Vivaldi and all of his classic glory, literally. The main showcase of the concert Gloria, RV589, is moving, dramatic and captures the essence of the season. The wonderfully sunny nature of the Gloria, with its distinctive melodies and rhythms, is characteristic of all of Vivaldi’s music, giving it an immediate and universal appeal (Vivaldi Gloria, Programme Notes, Peter Carey, Royal Free Singers). Gloria will put all listeners in the mood to appreciate the holiday merriment.

Fresh and New
The Bozeman Symphony steps out of its classic nature into new territory at the December performances of Vivaldi’s Gloria with opening piece Among Mountains by living composer Chris Rogerson. The title alone is very fitting for Bozeman, as its community heart lies between three magnificent mountain ranges. Among Mountains, commissioned and premiered by the Oregon Symphony in 2016, is beautifully dynamic like the Bridger Range and defines Rogerson’s confident new voice as a composer. That is why the Music Director Finalist and friend of Rogerson, Norman Huynh, selected this piece as his “conductor’s choice.”

Music Director Search
Music Director Finalist Norman Huynh embodies change and transformation, like that of the Bozeman community. Huynh never planned on being a musician – or a conductor. For most of his early life, orchestral music didn’t seem to belong in the same universe. Huynh grew up in Alabama where his Taiwanese mother and Vietnamese refugee father owned a Chinese buffet restaurant. He had never seen a musical instrument until middle school. That soon changed when he joined the marching band in high school and later was a section leader in the Million Dollar Band at the University of Alabama. Through his university experience, Huynh cultivated his love for classical music and later conducting. He is currently the Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Associate Conductor of the Oregon Symphony and maintains an international guest conducting schedule. He’s worked with notable artists of all genres including Itzhak Perlman, Hip-Hop artists Nas and Wyclef Jean, and vocal superstar Storm Large.

Huynh is versatile and willing to shake up the classic nature of symphonic music, selecting works of masters and new composers on the scene.  “I want them to have a taste of something new and fresh,” Huynh said. This refreshing sentiment will come alive at the December performances of Vivaldi’s Gloria, where he conducts for the first time in Bozeman.

Community Roots
As this mountain town grows, so does its culture, understanding, and appreciation for what’s important. The arts enrich a community, and that is why The Bozeman Symphony is thrilled to be on its search for change, with a new Music Director to lead the way. Although change is important and necessary to see viable growth in a community, it’s important to hold on to the strong roots that founded it in the first place. The Bozeman Symphony’s December Guest Artist Elizabeth Croy, soprano, represents those roots as a beloved vocal professor at Montana State University. Croy is a versatile performer of art song, oratorio, and opera. Her vibrant vocal timbre, innovative programs, and musical sincerity have brought her recognition as an outstanding recitalist and performer. Twice she received awards at the national level for the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Awards (NATSAA).

“I am interested in creating a community through music and exploring how people are connected through music emotionally, physically and spiritually,” Croy said. Reflecting on the piece she will perform with the Bozeman Orchestra and Symphonic Choir in December, the Laudamus Te duet from Vivaldi’s Gloria, she shares, “in a year of great change for the orchestra and choir, finding connection is especially relevant around the holidays. I think it’s a classic piece of music. It’s a good way to bring in the familiar, to draw on your strength as a community.”

Croy will be joined by fellow Montana resident and Bozeman Symphony special guest Melina Pyron, a mezzo-soprano who lives in the Bitterroot Valley. Pyron trained at the Lyric Opera Center and performed several roles with the namesake company. She was a soloist for the orchestra’s Holiday concert in 2012 and performed with Intermountain Opera Bozeman in Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet” in 2013, Puccini’s “Suor Angelica,” and “Gianni Schicchi” in 2015. Croy is excited to stand alongside Pyron on-stage during this joyful time of year sharing their gifts with her community.   

Holiday Spirit
Not only will the exceptionally talented Bozeman Symphonic Choir be featured in the performances of Vivaldi’s Gloria, the crowd will have the opportunity to let their voices be heard in a surprise sing-along. The Bozeman Symphonic Choir will be leading the way to holiday cheer through song. Christmastime is always magical and no matter who you are, it is impossible not to get caught up in the spirit of the time as the choir concludes the December performances with Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

Season Splendor
For 52 years, the Bozeman Symphony has been in existence, ever-changing, and growing – see the transformation for yourself and join the Bozeman Symphony for performances of Vivaldi’s Gloria on December 14th at 7:30 pm and December 15th at 2:30 pm at the Willson Auditorium. It’s time to slow down and enjoy the season’s splendor with family, friends, and community through music that spans generations. No matter if you’re a first-timer to the Bozeman Symphony or have been going since its inception – all are welcome. 

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