Crown of the Continent hosts benefit concerts

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  • Seattle’s up and coming alt-rock band, Gypsy Temple, is led by Cameron Miles Lavi-Jones.

  • 1

    New York City blues guitar phenom “King” Solomon Hicks will perform during “Crown Stars 4 Montana Relief.”

  • Seattle’s up and coming alt-rock band, Gypsy Temple, is led by Cameron Miles Lavi-Jones.

  • 1

    New York City blues guitar phenom “King” Solomon Hicks will perform during “Crown Stars 4 Montana Relief.”

The Crown of the Continent Guitar Foundation has partnered with a local group, Disaster Relief for Montana to hold two concerts in November with proceeds to support music education and wildfire relief.

Calling it the “Crown Stars 4 Montana Relief” the concerts will feature New York City blues guitar phenom, “King” Solomon Hicks and Seattle’s up and coming alt-rock band, Gypsy Temple, led by Cameron Miles Lavi-Jones. Both artists are former scholarship recipients of the Crown Guitar Workshop and will be joined by other local Montana guitarists at the concerts.

“It’s going to be a great weekend of music,” said Diane Kautzman, development director of the foundation. “Each evening will offer a variety of music highlighting some of the superb guitarists who have been participating in the Crown Guitar Workshop and Festival over the last eight years. It will be a big party for our Flathead Valley community with food and drink ... a celebration of the love of guitar!”

Doors open at 6 p.m. for the Friday, Nov. 17 show that runs until 10 p.m. at the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts and will feature King Solomon Hicks backed by an All-Star band. A guitar prodigy who began playing at the legendary Cotton Club when he was only 13-years-old, Hicks has evolved into a high energy, get-up-out-of-your-seat blues guitarist who, when not touring internationally, plays a regular gig at the Harlem club. A natural showman, his musical style synthesizes showbiz and sizzling swing without ever sacrificing the quality of the music, whether it’s blues, funk, R&B or jazz. Several Montana-based Crown scholarship and fellowship recipients will also perform including Andre Floyd, Mike Murray, Luke Dowler and some surprise guests.

The $50 ticket includes appetizers catered by the Atanaha chef, Dan Solberg of Bigfork. One complimentary drink ticket is provided with a cash bar offered by The Garden Bar.

The Saturday, Nov. 18 format will include both an early and a late show at Craggy Range in Whitefish featuring Cameron Miles Lavi-Jones leading his band, Gypsy Temple. Gypsy Temple plays rock, jazz, rap, soul, and even classical, drawing/invoking inspiration from as many sources as they can. They’ve honed their rock style, and tastefully weave their influences into their arrangements. Opening for them will be several Montana Crown Scholarship guitarists including Andre Floyd, Mike Murray, Luke Dowler and some surprise guests.

On Saturday, doors open at 6 p.m. for a two-set show that costs $50 and includes light fare until 10 p.m. The first 100 patrons will receive a complimentary drink ticket. A cash bar will also be available. For $20 patrons can attend just the second set that begins at 10 p.m. and goes to 1 a.m. finishing with an incredible set of performances and an inspirational jam.

The foundation will use proceeds from the event to support the educational programs of its annual summer workshop program in Bigfork and throughout the Flathead. During Solomon’s three-day visit he will be giving both demonstrations and inspirational talks to high school and college students about his early lessons from inner-city Harlem and how he turned his interests into a successful career at a young age.

Kautzman notes that this summer the Crown will hold more live demos and outreach in our communities using young scholarship and fellowship guitar/music students.

“This ‘Listen to the Music’ approach aims to spread the word of how playing and performing can really help you and continues on into their education and careers.”

She adds that Crown organizers are designing it to support and collaborate with the existing public/private music programs across the Flathead and beyond.

Disaster Relief for Montana was created this summer after the many devastating fires that scorched the state impacting the economy and leaving many people homeless. So far the organization has raised over $50,000 in cash and has delivered an amazing volume of donations to fire victims.

Advance tickets can be purchased in Bigfork at the The Jug Tree, in Whitefish at Frame of Reference and Craggy Range, in Kalispell at Montana Marie and also on the Crownguitarfest.tix.com website.

Call 406-270-1559 for more information.

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