Kearns and Sons RS Aesthetics

Music school to hold fundraiser

By Russ Lawrence

Just how successful is the non-profit Bitterroot School of Music?
“We serve 150 students a week,” said Jenn Adams, on her way out the door to gather silent auction items for the school’s upcoming fundraiser. Those students range from elementary school to senior citizens, she said, and the school offers both voice and instrumental music classes.
The Big Sky Mudflaps will headline the April 15 fundraiser at the Hamilton City Hall (Bedford Building), 223 S. Second Street, and admission is free. Donations will be accepted at the door to support their music scholarship fund, and within patrons will find silent auction items, and a raffle for a vintage Harmony Archtop guitar, restored by Adams.
“It’s perfect for jazz or blues,” Adams said.
The doors will open at 6 p.m., with beer for sale, and local food, donated by Homestead Organics and others, for snacking. Student recitals will begin at 6 p.m., featuring individuals, duets, a family band, and vocal performers. Following the recitals, the Big Sky Mudflaps will take the stage for an evening of dance music. School co-founder Marcia Rubie labeled them “America’s favorite swing band,” and invited patrons to dance until the event winds down at 10 p.m.
Silent auction items focus on “art, food, and music,” according to Adams, with music lessons, a tenor ukulele, and local food and artwork up for bids.
Money from the event will support the activities of the non-profit (501-c-3 qualified) school. Last year, the Bitterroot School of Music opened two new rehearsal studios, which are already being used to full capacity. This year they hope to build a percussion studio, which would also double as a digital production studio, to serve students interested in production as well as performance.
Funds raised will also support a unique summer program for youthful performers. From July 10-14, the Missoula-based band Shakewell will be in residence, along with Adams, Alex Petrusaitis, and Eric Monson, to offer workshops and master classes on topics including arranging, composition, digital production, percussion, songwriting, music theory, sight reading, vocal performance, and more.
“It’s an ensemble-directed class,” Adams said, and at the end of the week the Bitterroot Brewery will host a combined performance featuring Shakewell and the students.
“Basically Shakewell is coming to teach these kids how to be in a band,” Adams explained. The program will offer classes for two age groups, youths 9-12, and 13-18, at a cost of $300 for the week of classes, which run from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Any additional funds raised will help the school build its “library” of instruments available for student use.
The Bitterroot School of Music is hosted by Rooted Music, at 100 Skeels Ave. in Hamilton. For more information on the April 15 fundraising event, or on the school’s offerings, contact either Rubie or Adams at (406) 363-5491, or visit them online at www.bitterrootschoolofmusic.org .

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