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Musikanten Montana


Musikanten Montana (German for "musicians") was formed by Artistic Director Kerry Krebill in 1979 in Bethesda MD, as a project for her masters degree in choral conducting at the Catholic University of America. In its 39 seasons, the ensemble has made nearly a thousand appearances, including DC area concerts at the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, Kennedy Center, and venues in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland, as well as over 20 international tours, including Maestra Krebill's 50th birthday celebration singing Monteverdi's Vespers in Venice with the acclaimed ensemble now known as the Venice Baroque Orchestra. The group continues to perform in the Washington area, appearing each year at a local First Night celebration, singing a traditional Latin Mass at St. Mary's in downtown DC, and to tour; in September 2007 Musikanten made its first foray to South America, performing in Buenos Aires, La Plata and Ayacucho, Argentina.

In June of 2004, Maestra Krebill instituted Helena Choral Week in her new home in Montana, inviting singers from the Helena Symphony Chorale, Musikanten and other ensembles to come together in Helena for an intensive week of rehearsals, concerts, classes and private lessons. Building on the success of this project, Musikanten Montana was established as a new choral chamber ensemble in Helena in September of 2004. The new group's first season included liturgies at St. Peter's Episcopal Cathedral, St. John's Lutheran Church and the Cathedral of St. Helena, culminating in two performances, in Helena and Missoula, of Monteverdi's masterpiece, the Vespers of 1610, as part of the Montana Early Music Festival, which the ensemble sponsored.

Musikanten Montana continues to produce the Montana Early Music Festival, hosting guest performers from across the US. In addition to Monteverdi's Vespers, repertoire has included Bach's Johannespassion, B Minor Mass, and Christmas Oratorio, as well as Handel's Israel in Egypt and Dixit Dominus, Charpentier's Le Reinement du St. Pierre, Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri, Schütz' Musikalisches Exequien, Scarlatti's Stabat Mater, Valls' Missa Scala Aretina, and Cavalieri's La Representazione di Anima e di Corpo. Featured performers from the festival's inception have included tenors Kevin Sutton and Steven Soph, sopranos Evanne Browne, Amanda Balestrieri and Heather Barnes, mezzo-soprano Marjorie Bunday, contralto Bailey Whiteman, baritones Brian Ming Chu, Bobb Robinson, Robert W. Tudor, James Shaffran and Joel Lankford and bass-baritone Richard Dirksen.

Besides the Helena Choral Week in June (now attracting singers from all over the US and Argentina) and the spring Montana Early Music Festival, Musikanten Montana continues to sing an annual concert for All Souls, the Advent Lessons and Carols, and Christmas Eve Prelude and Mass at St. Peter's Cathedral. The ensemble also searches out collaborative appearances in the Helena community - in November 2007, the group participated in "Raise the Roof!" - an event celebrating Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird, which featured two local actors, the Helena Middle School Voices of Tomorrow and a gospel choir from Great Falls. In August 2009, the ensemble was honored to perform music for "Catch and Release," featuring 4 fly-fisherman on the Boulder River choreographed by Ann Carlson under an American Masterpieces Dance grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Singers from Musikanten Montana continue to venture to Washington DC and further (including the spring 2009 tour to the Baltic capitals and September 2010 to Turkey) to perform with their Washington DC friends. Musikanten Montana invited Argentina conductor Andrés Bugallo to Montana for the 2010 Early Music Festival, continuing on to Washington to conduct the combined Musikanten forces in Schütz' Musikalisches Exequienand Scarlatti's Stabat Mater.

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