THE WALKING IN BEAUTY FESTIVAL
On January 17, 2003, the first Walking in Beauty Festival took place in Columbia Falls, Montana. Music Education Director, Karen Ulmer and principal, Tom Kallay, agreed to host WIB's first festival at Columbia Falls High School. Drummer Harry Blazer, saxophonist Ernie Watts, bassist Abraham Laboriel, keyboardist Ron Feuer , trumpeter Lew Soloff and trombonist Andy Martin were the clinicians.
Students from the following schools participated in the January event: Missoula Hellgate High School, Libby High School, Columbia Falls High School, Missoula Big Sky High School, Flathead Valley Christian School, Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Montana and Gonzaga Prep School in Spokane, Washington.
In addition, the clinics were observed at no charge by students from schools in the district that do not have organized band programs and are available for local musicians and music enthusiasts to audit at a nominal fee. Ron Feuer, Abraham Laboriel, Ernie Watts, Lew Soloff, and Harry Blazer comprise the core group of master musicians that will be participating in the Walking in Beauty Festivals.
WIB has funding pledged thus far that will allow it to sponsor two festivals per year for the next four years. It hopes to raise enough funds to sponsor 10 festivals per year in Montana and the Northwest.