Great Falls Symphony Association (Great Falls, MT)

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  Itzhak Perlman, informally dressed, playing violin at a rehearsal

Itzhak Perlman plays with the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra at the open rehearsal to more than 600 students. Photo by Stu White, Great Falls Tribune

The Great Falls Symphony Association (GFSA) includes the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra, an 80-voice symphonic choir, a regional youth orchestra, and two professional resident ensembles, the Cascade String Quartet and the Chinook Winds Quintet. These musicians travel extensively throughout Montana, presenting educational school programs and performing in both large and small communities. In addition, for more than 30 years, GFSA has presented Jr/Sr concerts twice a season for students in the region as well as senior citizens and those who are developmentally disabled.

GFSA takes great efforts to provide its musicians with artistically stimulating opportunities and its community with high-quality concerts. Part of GFSA’s success has been its ability to attract world-class musicians to its theater in Great Falls. In FY 2006, GFSA received an NEA Challenge America grant of $10,000 to bring celebrated violinist Itzhak Perlman to Montana for a premiere performance.

In addition to an evening performance with GFSA’s orchestra on April 6, 2006, in the Great Falls Civic Center Mansfield Theater, GFSA arranged for an open rehearsal and invited string students from Montana’s high schools and universities as well as members of GFSA’s Regional Youth Orchestra. More than 600 students took advantage of this opportunity to observe Itzhak Perlman’s rehearsal with the orchestra. For the evening concert, GFSA sold out its 1,782-seat theater, drawing an audience from all four corners of the state. In recognition of an important cause of Itzhak Perlman’s, GFSA also offered discounted tickets to disabled members of the community.

(From the NEA 2006 Annual Report)