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Sweet sounds of the Kootenai concert to arrive Saturday

by Western News
| November 4, 2009 11:00 PM

Steve “Toby” Nelson’s rich, baritone voice has entertained summertime audiences in productions such as “Forever Plaid” and “All-Night Strut.” A regular member of the long-running group, Port Polson Players, Nelson will be among the many entertainers on hand Saturday during this year’s Kootenai River Rhythm concert.

Nelson is a former teacher and coach at Troy. In the words of Tony Smith, he was “one of the most beloved figures to grace the halls of Troy High School.”

The Port Polson Players and country-blues guitarist Chuck Hurt will be special guests at this weekend’s event at the Memorial Center in Libby. Directed by Smith, doors open for dessert at 6 p.m. with performances getting started at 7 p.m.

Neal Lewing, who with his wife, Karen, has directed Port Polson Players performances for more than three decades. He and his wife co-produced “The Old Prison Players” in Deer Lodge for 13 years and he has served on the Montana Arts Council for four years.

The Polson group just opened its 35th season – 27th in a cozy theater located near the “old nine” of the Polson Golf Club. The group just completed a summer-long run of “Bommer-ang” – a musical tribute to the “Boomer” generation that was written by Neal Lewing.

Hurt, who was born in Missoula, will be accompanying the vocal duo of Julie Meyer and Tony Smith, with bassist Jim Scott and pianist Sharon Smith Scott on arrangements by Nita Smith.

As a young man, Hurt traveled with the Bob Crawley Show and played in the top country clubs throughout the midwestern and southern states. He will also be playing electric bass guitar for the performance.

Although proficient in all phases of the musical spectrum, Tony Smith says that Hurt prefers “laid-back, easy-listening jazz.”

Libby native Marv Sather will serve as master of ceremonies for the event.

Returning to Kootenai River Rhythm’s performance will be the commanding presence of the “Big Swing” band led by Frank Chiaverini with Ty and Brenda Nagode, Dr. Bill Cuskelly and bassist Ben Palmer.

Crowd favorite Alan Lane will return with an array of new and unique selections. Vocalist Kathy Ague will share her exceptional talent on several new arrangements by Tony Smith. Linda Kuntz will present her violin rendition of the “Schindler’s List” theme and Diane Rewerts will accompany the Smiths on piano and vocalize on others.

Another crowd pleaser, the Men of Troy, will again perform. And Julie Meyer will once again be a highlight of this year’s performance.

Tickets are available at Cabinet Books and Music as well as the Memorial Center. The $15 price includes desserts. People are encouraged to get their tickets prior to the day of the event because of its history of selling out.