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Glacier Symphony and Chorale ushers in grand new era with 40th anniversary

Daily Inter Lake | August 9, 2022 12:00 AM

The year 2022 is a milestone year for the Glacier Symphony and Chorale.

Celebrating the 15th anniversary of Festival Amadeus this week, John Zoltek, in his 25th year of leadership as the organization’s founding artistic director and conductor, is also planning for its ascending role in the community and beyond as it prepares for its 40th season. Beginning this fall GSC’s performance home will be the new McClaren Hall in the Paul D. Wachholz College Center at Flathead Valley Community College.

Festival Amadeus, Montana’s sole week-long classical music festival, takes place Aug. 9 to 14 and this year’s concerts carry a fresh vibe.

“We’re doing a slow rebrand of the festival with this year’s Festival Amadeus: Mozart and the Modern,” Zoltek said. “We’d like to advance the festival to include more music by living composers in addition to the classics. We’ve always had some representation of new music, but we wanted to start making this a part of our message in terms of what the festival is all about.”

Zoltek went on to say the concept opens up a lot of artistic possibilities for future festivals.

“It illustrates that this is a living art form,” he said. “It’s time for our festival to pivot to have composers come here and be a part of the festival.”

This season also features pre-concert talks before each performance. Canadian composers Mark Armanini and Rita Ueda are among those attending.

“The audience can hear directly from the composers about their life in music, and what their aesthetic principles are,” Zoltek added.

Glacier Symphony and Chorale’s managing director Lynn Andenoro has been a violinist with the symphony orchestra for over 20 years.

With a master’s degree in business, she had previously worked at Logan Health Medical Center as director of digestive health. Desiring to get back to being involved in the community as the pandemic faded, last fall she joined GSC’s development team.

“As Covid was lessening I thought this would be a way I can get back and be involved in my community in an organization that I’ve loved for years,” Andenoro said.

When the position for managing director came open a few months later, she applied and the board selected her to fill that role.

“It’s a pivotal year for the symphony,” she said, regarding the new McClaren Hall. “To be able to offer so much more music to the community in this beautiful, amazing space. As a musician it’s just so thrilling.”

It’s also pivotal for the organization in terms of its budget, Andenoro said.

“This is the first year that we’re going to have a million dollar budget. The symphony’s expenses going into the new hall are larger. Some of the wonderful talent we are bringing in is more expensive. And we’re offering our musicians a bit more to be in line with what other orchestras around the state are doing.”

The organization is planning its Winter Gala fundraiser for Jan. 14.

Once it opens this fall, the expansive state-of-the art 1,000 seat McClaren Hall at FVCC is expected to quickly become a regional center for cultural arts and entertainment.

ZOLTEK HAS created an impressive series of programs for GSC’s 40th season to be showcased in a new space specifically designed acoustically for symphonic and choral music.

Glacier Symphony and Chorale’s grand opening performance in McClaren Hall is set for Nov. 19 and 20 showcasing Beethoven’s masterpiece Symphony No. 9, with its famous finale “Ode to Joy.”

“It’s going to be a beautiful classical music concert,” Andenoro said. “It’s really going to show off the orchestra, the chorale, and the capabilities of McClaren Hall. It’s going to be a spectacular opening.”

Zoltek has also arranged for the San Diego Ballet Company to perform a full-stage version of Tchaikovsky’s iconic “Nutcracker” Dec. 10 and 11.

“That is something we were not able to do before, but can now that there is an orchestra pit in McClaren Hall,” Zoltek said. “We’re very excited to have the San Diego Ballet Company coming up here as part of their sweep of the Intermountain West. Now that we have this new hall for our use we made it happen.”

He also points out the other season highlights.

The world-renowned violinist Midori will perform for one night only on April 8. The show will be Midori’s only performance in the region.

“The 1,000 seat capacity creates opportunities to reach out and bring in internationally renowned artists of the caliber of Midori,” he said. “The audience will be able to have somebody of her stature perform here with the Glacier Symphony.”

Jeans ‘n Classics, a group of multinational, world-class rock musicians that has performed for more than 25 years, will join Glacier Symphony on stage Feb. 18 for The Ultimate Symphonic Rock Show, an evening of classic music from the ‘70s — the Moody Blues, Electric Light Orchestra, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel and Procol Harum.

“Having a new hall allows us to do some new experimentation and that’s an example,” Zoltek said. “The orchestral accompaniment is well integrated into the show, so it should be a lot of fun.”

While construction delays with the College Center meant rescheduling the Earth Anthem concert with the legendary Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai, that concert has been recreated into a more intimate cabaret-style jazz concert with two shows the evening of Sept. 30 at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish. Zoltek will join Nakai, performing on jazz guitar. Plans are being made for Nakai to return next fall for a performance in McClaren Hall.

Zoltek has begun to compose a jazz/flute composition for him and Nakai, together with Native American poet and assistant professor of Native American Studies at the University of Montana, Heather Cahoon, for that performance. With what little time he’s able to carve out of his schedule, Zoltek plans to continue composing and playing jazz music. The symphony has performed a number of his original works, including his concerto “Through Tamarack and Pine,” which is being reprised for Sunday’s finale of Festival Amadeus.

The Glacier Chorale will join the symphony orchestra Dec. 3 and 4 for the popular Handel’s Messiah.

The Glacier Symphony and Chorale’s exciting 40th season will culminate in May with Bizet’s “Carmen” — this version a modern opera performed with both the orchestra and chorale in English with a full cast of acclaimed singers.

“What GSC is doing now is so much higher than 25 years ago. John has done tremendous work in raising the bar,” Andenoro said. “The quality of the music is spectacular and we are thrilled to offer this gift of music and share that with our community.”

“We’re hoping this first year in McClaren Hall will be a significant one for us, that it will draw new audiences and our community to see shows in this new hall,” Zoltek said. “It’s going to be a much more elegant evening, a more enhanced experience to come and see the symphony. We’ll see how our audiences respond, and hope it will give us a new platform to bring in even more robust seasons in the future.”


Season tickets for Glacier Symphony and Chorale’s 40th season go on sale Aug. 19. Further information and tickets for both GSC’s 40th season and for Festival Amadeus are available by calling the box office at 406-407-7000 or on the Glacier Symphony website,

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