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MUSIC: JOHN ZOLTEK

Glacier Symphony & Chorale

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Interview

For more than 20 years, Maestro John Zoltek has been front and center with the Glacier Symphony and Chorale, growing the organization into one of the more well-respected music organizations in the entire state. The Glacier Symphony is based out of downtown Kalispell and puts on concerts year-round, including the weeklong Festival Amdeus and the annual summer pops outdoor concert at Rebecca Farm. Zoltek’s roots are in big city conducting, and when he came to the Flathead Valley years ago he never expected to make it his home, but the Rhode Island native fell in love with the land, the people and the flourishing arts community in and around Kalispell. 

Q: What did you know and what did you learn about Kalispell when you got here in 1997?
A: When I moved here I basically didn’t know anything, except that it was close to Glacier National Park. What I did quickly realize were a couple things: That there was a lot of community support for the arts in general and also that there was a lot of growth potential … In terms of viability and strength and quality, the arts organizations have developed remarkably. This is a tribute not only to the people that are invested in fine arts but also the good folks of Kalispell that support us in various ways.

Q: The pops concert at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell is one of your most successful events. Why does that event have such a broad appeal?
A: We’ve had a long tradition of doing that, for almost 20 years now, and that’s been a very strong, Kalispell-based, outdoor, fun event for a wide range of audience types. You get the regular symphony-goers and we draw a lot of people that just want to go to the event; the fact that its outdoors and you get to throw a Frisbee around and hang out with your friends and family and drink wine, that’s a big deal. That’s been our signature summer event for Kalispell and that’s worked very, very well for us.”

Q: What about Kalispell has kept you living and working here for so long?
A: I just love it, because it provides me with quick access to the city but I also have great solitude and I’m really close to nature. It’s perfect for somebody like me because I rely a lot on quiet. My personal experience living in Kalispell on the whole has been very, very positive … It’s that great combination between people that, for the most part, respect one another and we all sort of enjoy the same ethos of the area that we live in.

Kalispell Discovery Guides

Hiking: Amy Pearson

Craft Beer: Gabe Mariman

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