Tuesday, February 2, 2010

View From The Bridge 2/3/2010

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

If you have not already gone to the internet to check, the WEB CAM is up and running. It went into effect on Friday of last week. It is installed back at the Benton Pharmacy Building and we appreciate Chris Halko for his participation in this project. He has always footed the bill for the cost of electricity. The new camera has a sharper picture than the old one and changes pictures every 3 seconds instead of the 10 seconds of the old camera.

If you have not been on the Fort Benton web site at http://www.fortbenton.com/, you are missing a great time. The Fort Benton attractions are the greatest. Photo montage videos with music, have been added in a couple areas and talk about toe tapping…you will. The Shep site, About Fort Benton site, and the Attractions, Museums and Historic site are all so well done. Once you try them, you will go back repeatedly. As was said before…after viewing them, how could the viewer not want to visit Fort Benton?

Anticipation grew for many of us last week, awaiting the long planned Performing Arts Consortium. The performers and presenters arrived on Friday in time to check into their lodgings and for their dinner that evening.

On Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m., they gathered at the Ag Center for breakfast prepared by Fort Benton Woman’s Club. The first of six showcases began at 9:00 a.m. The auditorium was about three quarters full and about one quarter of those were local supporters.

The interesting part about attending this Consortium is the choices that are made for the six shows that are chosen for Chouteau County Performing Arts. Showcase I featured Presidio Brass, David Walburn, Robin Spielberg, Spencer Bohren and Singing Sons (I will not put the rest of their title as you may think it is a spelling error. Ask one of the Board Members and they will tell you the story behind their name) and Colin Ross. Of those six showcases, three have been to Fort Benton in the last few years. The Board tries to space shows so we do not have the same or similar ones every year.

There was a long lunch break and Showcase II began at 12:45. On the bill were Anke Summerhill, Kate MacLeod, Robbi K. & Friends, Cascade Quartet, Montana Skies and Pop Wagner. Only two of those presenters have been here before.

Showcase III began at 3:40 with Saxophobia, Tim Ryan, Drum Brothers, Chuck Suchy and finally Done Gone String Bank (a family group from the Yukon in Canada.) The Drum Brothers were the only group that had been here before.

At 6:00 p.m., a final visit at the performers booths at the Ag Center brought everyone involved to a dinner at 7:00 p.m. Chandee Bomgardner catered and drew raves from everyone for the meals that she served. Her business is a family affair and all the diners remarked on how well her children did their waitress and waiter chores. Her hubby was a big part of the services too.

After dinner, Arnie Fishbaugh was the speaker. Arnie is a Fort Bentonite who now resides in Helena and is the head of the Arts Council. She could not say enough about the way that Connie Jenkins and her Board of Directors handled the organization of the event from food, to lodgings, to scheduling, to having everything needed right at hand. The Board consists of Robert Boettcher, Ruth Carlstrom, Even Goldhahn, Wendy Kamm, Cynthia Lenington, Dottie Meehan, Randy Morger, Peggy Romano and Margie Schuler.

Arnie said that it was truly the best consortium they had ever had. All of the participants agreed and Fort Benton had never received so many compliments. They thought our town was beautiful and charming (as we always knew) and the people in the community were outstanding. We are going to have a few swelled heads around town for the next few weeks. Of course, we Bentonites boasted about every historical item that we lay claim to and it was easy to do.

I have been in Fort Benton for going on seventeen years (17) and I have had many wonderful days. Saturday the 30th was the most wonderful day I have ever had. It was awesome and a good time was had by all. (Lisa, are you paying attention?) I have to say again how lucky we are to be living in Fort Benton, the birthplace of Montana.

There were seventeen showcases (17) and six (6) had been here previously. Now, behind the scenes so to speak, comes the time for negotiating on Sunday morning. The Board has the difficult task of choosing the performers and partnering with other small towns for the best arrangements concerning scheduling and cost. However, the rest of us who attended have made our choices and have a great time comparing notes or opinions. When finally choices are made, in the not too distant future, we will see if our choices were the final choices.

Wednesday evening, The Foothills Brass will be entertaining us at the Elementary School at 7:00 p.m. This group has been to Fort Benton before and they are fabulous. Have you used your season ticket yet to bring a one-time guest? We only have two more CCPA programs left for this season. Can you believe that? It seems as though we just went to the first one in October.

It takes place next Friday the 5th, at the Golden Age Senior Center starting at 5:00 with a soup supper. The auction will begin at 6:30 and what an auction it will be. The chairs were scheduled to be in the window of the Benton Pharmacy on February 1st. It has been reported that last weekend there were two chairs in the window and one inside the store. When the description of the chair inside the store was described to me, it was hard to imagine. You have to see it to believe it. The chair sits on a box that has the same finish as the chair. Inside the box is a refrigerator and across the arms of the chair is a wine rack. It is one of a kind and it would be an awesome gift for someone or perhaps a gift for you.

Make an effort to be there and bring a friend. The Cancer Support Group does so much for cancer support…monetarily and supportively. Their work is so meaningful and the community needs to support them as well. If you love unusual artwork, this is the auction to be attending. See you there.

Now we move on into the month of February. It looks as though the weather, for this week at least, will be normal temperatures. Although we may get more snow and cold weather, it should be warming up to comfortable days and nights. You know what…I am sorry I wrote this. I am afraid I may have jinxed the whole deal. Well, we will just have to wait and see.

God bless America. That brings up another subject. There was a program on TV in the last couple of weeks, which talked about patriotism. A part of the program was about the American Flag. Four years ago, when we celebrated the Lewis and Clark Bi-Centennial, I urged all households in Fort Benton to install a flag holder and put the flag out every good weather day. We had a few homes that did and I would urge you to think about it again. It is the least we can do to remember our protectors overseas and those who have died to keep us free. I would like to see Fort Benton not only known as The Birthplace of Montana but as The Flag City.