Montana Logging & Ballet Company
The Montana Logging and Ballet Company sometimes performs at United Methodist conferences.
Conversation with Tom McAnally, 2002 or 2003:
Description from Wikipedia, 1/4/2012
The Montana Logging and Ballet Company is one of the most well-known comedy and political satire groups of the 1980s and 1990s, performing around the U.S. since 1975. The four members of the Montana Logging and Ballet Company, Rusty Harper, Bob FitzGerald, Steve Garnaas-Holmes and Tim Holmes, first met each other in 1967 at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana. The quartet has performed for thousands of audiences, including the U.S. Congress, several United Methodist General Conferences and many nonprofit fundraisers from the Democratic Convention to the Whitehall Montana Public Library. Musical satire allows these longtime friends the opportunity to entertain, but their core message offers audiences a chance to chuckle at themselves and view their diverse differences in a new light. Devoted to advancing social justice, the group performs only benefit concerts, frequently for humanitarian organizations.
In 1987, the group sang at the first United Methodist Global Gathering in Louisville, Kentucky. There the group met Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for whom they wrote the song, Take the Barriers Down addressing apartheid in South Africa and around the world. Four years later, the group invited Archbishop Tutu to visit Helena, Montana, the group’s hometown, who joined them there in a benefit concert to raise awareness of the racist apartheid system. Four thousand people came to that event which raised nearly one million dollars in college scholarships for black South Africans and Native Americans.
The group is famous for their satirical commentary on current events, often taken from the newspaper of the day of a performance delivered in sketches, songs, body humor and lyrical a capella singing. The four members of the group include Tim Holmes, an internationally acclaimed sculptor and filmmaker; his brother Steve Garnaas-Holmes, a United Methodist pastor, poet, and writer of hymns for the United Methodist Book of Worship; Bob FitzGerald, manager and Rusty Harper, ideaman.
They have recorded several albums and broadcast many short radio sketches. Their first album, Take the Barriers Down, 1987, features liner notes by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Funds from the sale of these albums helped Tutu’s transformative work for peaceful political change in South Africa, the focus of the title song. We Don’t Get It, released in 1992, like the first album, was arranged and produced by jazz guitar great Mundell Lowe. Also appearing on the album is Tommy Tedesco, often billed as ‘the most recorded guitarist in history’. Their releases, Solutions to Our Nations Problems, Take 1, (1999) and Take 2 (2001) featured selections from their regular appearances on National Public Radio’s Sunday Weekend Edition. Billed as NPR’s ‘resident political satirists’ during the Clinton years, the Montana Logging and Ballet Co. provided a series of short political satire sketches on the political issues of the day, including their stage hit The Millennium Wrap, 1000 Years of History in Six Minutes.