Alberta Bair Theater to Receive $20,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Billings Arts

Alberta Bair Theater has been approved for a $20,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support artistic programming, which will help fund D’DAT, Compagnie Hervé Koubi, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, and Raul Midón. These artists represent ABT’s commitment to excellence in presenting diverse disciplines of the performing arts. ABT’s artistic programming is among 1,073 projects across America totaling nearly $25 million that were selected during this first round of fiscal year 2021 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects funding category.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these programming choices from Alberta Bair Theater,” said Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “ABT is among the arts organizations across the country that have demonstrated creativity, excellence, and resilience during this very challenging year.”

“We are thrilled to again be recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts for excellence in our mission-based programming,” said Jan Dietrich, executive director of Alberta Bair Theater. “We look forward to reopening to the public in September and once again gathering with family and friends to enjoy world-class performances in our beautifully renovated theater.”

D’DAT is a quartet based in New Mexico described as “sexy,” “poetic,” and “complex,” blending national touring artist Def-i’s intelligent, poetic lyrics and hip hop style with the hard-driving instrumental fire of award-winning trumpet player Delbert Anderson, the deep funk of international touring artist and drummer Nicholas Lucero, and the intellectually explorative and expanding groove of Mike McCluhan on bass. DDAT has carved its own path with high desert-forged influences and world-class musicianship.

Of Algerian roots, Hervé Koubi graduated from the Rosella Hightower School of Dance in Cannes, France. Since 2010, he has been working with a group of 12 to 14 male street dancers from Algeria and Morocco on several works including “What the Day Owes to The Night,” the piece with which they’ll be making their Montana début. “What the Day Owes to The Night” combines capoeira, martial arts, urban and contemporary dance with powerful imagery evocative of Orientalist paintings and stone filigree of Islamic architecture. Its music is a combination of sufi sounds interpreted by The Kronos Quartet, music by Hamza El Din from Egypt and excerpts of Johan Sebastian Bach’s Passion.

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, under the artistic direction and chief conductor Kaspars Putniņš, continues to be reputed as one of the best choir music ensembles in the world. The repertoire extends from Gregorian chant and baroque to the music of the 21st century, with a special focus on the work of Estonian composers, such as Arvo Pärt, whose compositions they’ll be performing during their first performance in Montana.

Along with releasing 10 studio albums as a solo artist, Grammy nominated Raul Midón – dubbed “an eclectic adventurist” by People magazine – has collaborated with such heroes as Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers, along with contributing to recordings by Queen Latifah, Snoop Dogg and the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s She Hate Me. A native of New Mexico who was educated in the jazz program of the University of Miami and who now lives in Maryland after years in New York City, Midón has earned acclaim the world over, with a fanbase that stretches from San Francisco to India, Amsterdam to Tokyo. The title of Midón’s 2017 release Bad Ass and Blind came from an apt description of its maker who collaborated with such top jazz players as trumpeter Nicholas Payton and pianist Gerald Clayton, and it earned the singer his GRAMMY nomination for “Best Jazz Vocal Performance.” For more information on projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

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