Montana Early Music Festival

A performance from the 2016 Montana Early Music Festival at the Immaculate Conception Church in Butte is shown. The Butte concert this year starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19, at the church.

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The 16th annual Montana Early Music Festival is Jan. 18-21, featuring the Montana premiere of Historically Informed Performances, or HIP, of J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.   

The Butte concert is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19, at the Immaculate Conception Church, Caledonia and Western.

The festival ensemble will perform the first three cantatas of the six the German master composed for the major church festival days of the 1734 Christmas Season in Leipzig.  The concerts will open with Bach’s Advent Cantata 61 “Nun komm der Heiden Heiland.” 

A 17-member chamber orchestra will play period instruments — Baroque oboes, bassoon and traversi (flutes), natural trumpets, gut strings and historic timpani — either actual 18th-century instruments or modern replicas.  Players come from Early Music hotspots of Seattle, San Francisco, Minneapolis, New York, Indianapolis, Denver and more. 

Leading the orchestra as concertmaster will be Carrie Krause, concertmaster of the Bozeman Symphony, and member of Apollo’s Fire and other world-renowned Early Music ensembles.  Organist Keith Reas and cellist Sarah Stone are the continuo players. Vocal soloists are Amanda Balestrieri (soprano), Marjorie Bunday (contralto), Daniel Hutchings (tenor), and Rob W. Tudor (baritone), all specialists in “music before 1800.” 

Musikanten Montana Artistic Director Kerry Krebill will conduct the vocal soloists, chamber orchestra and singers of Musikanten Montana in this joyous work.  

Other performances are at Holy Rosary in Bozeman, Thursday, Jan. 18, and St. Francis Xavier in Missoula, Saturday, Jan. 20, at 7:30 p.m.; and the final festival concert is 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 21, at the Cathedral of St. Helena in Helena.

Seating for the concerts is general admission, with a reserved section for Musikanten Angel donors ($100 and above); tickets will be available at the door, with a suggested donation of $20 for adults and $10 for students. Details: go to


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