Billings Symphony program: “Yellowstone” and “Grand Canyon” suites, Billings-themed work, Native American dancing

Posted on: October 25, 2021

Jocy Little Sky performs at the Billings Symphony’s “Buffalo Crossing: A Northern Cheyenne Experience,” which pairs Native American dance with symphonic works.


“The Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale is wrapping up its month-long Native American celebration Saturday night … with ‘Buffalo Crossing: A Northern Cheyenne Experience,’ featuring Native American dancing paired with symphonic works,” reads an unsigned article in Thursday’s (10/21) Billings Gazette (MT). “Ruben Little Head Sr. and Douglas Scholfield will be serving as co-producers and emcees of the performance.… The program includes a work by composer Ilse-Mari Lee, ‘The Yellowstone Suite,’ a tone poem evoking the beauty, serenity, and timelessness of Yellowstone National Park…. Select movements of James Cockey’s [2002] Symphony No. 2, ‘Parmly’s Dream,’ will add a celebration of the city of Billings into the evening’s offerings. The work is a series of 19 tableaus from the life of Parmly Billings, whose father, Frederick Billings, was the president of the Northern Pacific Railroad and the namesake for Billings…. The two tableaus selected to be performed Saturday night are derivative of traditional Native American music with advice and collaboration from celebrated Northern Cheyenne flute player, the late Joseph Firecrow. Cockey has worked with Walter Runsabove, Firecrow’s successor and the featured Native American flutist on the evening’s performance. Ferde Grofé’s ‘Grand Canyon Suite’ will complete the evening’s program,” led by Music Director Anne Harrigan. Read Symphony magazine’s article about the increase in works by Native American composers and performers at orchestras.