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Opera performance to feature 15-member chorus of local veterans

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Posted at 5:46 PM, Nov 03, 2022

BOZEMAN — The Intermountain Opera group is rehearsing for a heartfelt performance to begin on Friday, November 4 that features a chorus made up of 15 veterans. The story honors their brave service.

“Music is a big part of my life, but I’ve never sang in an opera before,” said Joey Schumacher who joined the army right after high school.

“This was right after 9/11 happened,” said Schumacher. “I went on to serve for a little over 10 years on the Abrams battle tank."

Now he works as the director of Veteran Services at MSU.

“It’s not something that goes away once you take off your uniform, so finding ways to plug back into our community is really important for veterans when we come home,” said Schumacher.

During Schumacher’s service, he toured Korea and Iraq. He’s seen and done a lot of things but this Friday he is about to do something he’s never done before.

“The singers in our military chorus are all amateur musicians,” said Michael Sakir who is the artistic director of the Intermountain Opera.

“Many of them don’t read music, many of them have never sung on a stage, or in a choir at all. Their very first rehearsal was just a week ago and you’ll hear how incredible they sound.”

This Friday is the opening night of their production “The Falling and the Rising”. He says the story is based on real-life interviews with wounded veterans.

“As someone who’s served in the military, I can tell the stories are authentic,” said Schumacher. “They just hit home for me.”

Sakir says organizations like the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, and MSU’s Veteran Services have helped make this production possible.

“Thanks to them we are offering free tickets to our veterans and currently serving military,” said Sakir.

Schumacher says there are some nerves anticipating opening night, but…

“We all have each other’s back,” said Schumacher. “My hope is that everybody will learn about the service and sacrifice, be inspired to reach out to someone in their life hey know has served, connect with them, and ask them about their story.”

The performance will be held at Emerson’s Crawford Theatre from November 4 to November 6.

For showtimes and tickets click here.