Politics, concert schedule don’t mix

February 14, 2017 GMT

A potential scheduling conflict for Rob Quist has caused the cancellation of a New Big Sky Singers concert that had been scheduled Sunday at Flathead High School.

Quist, 69, last month declared himself a candidate for Rep. Ryan Zinke’s U.S. House seat should Zinke be confirmed as secretary of the interior. The Montana Democratic Party’s rules call for a special convention to be held in the event of a vacancy, and party officials hope to hold that convention shortly after Zinke is confirmed. There is no timetable set for Zinke’s confirmation hearing, but if that hearing takes place this week, Quist was told the special Democratic convention would be held Sunday morning in Helena. That potential overlap with the concert is what led to the cancellation.

“This breaks my heart because I am such a huge supporter of (Flathead Valley) Live on Stage,” Quist said. “And being able to perform with the New Big Sky Singers, my best buds from college; every time we have a chance to play together is so rare and we look forward to it.”

Flathead Valley Live on Stage was promoting Sunday’s concert. Chris Amyes, the group’s president, wrote in a letter to ticket-holders that the “concert was canceled due to conflicts with Mr. Rob Quist’s schedule that, despite their best efforts, NBBS was unable to reconcile.”

Paid season-ticket holders can exchange their tickets for additional seats at one of two upcoming shows, return tickets for a 16 per ticket to be collected as a tax-deductible donation to Flathead Valley Live on Stage.

Single-ticket holders are eligible for an online reversal of their purchase (if the tickets were bought online) or can exchange tickets for an upcoming concert.

Flathead Valley Live on Stage is hosting Alina Kiryayeva on March 23 and Cherish the Ladies on April 19. Both shows will be held at Flathead High School.

QUIST HAS been traveling around the state since announcing his candidacy on Jan 4. A straw poll of Democratic Country Central Committees, conducted by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle last week, showed the musician leading the Democratic field. Quist received 37 of 89 votes in the straw poll, with Amanda Curtis (30 votes) next.

“I feel pretty good right now,” Quist said of his chances to receive the nomination. “I really feel like I’ve got a great delegate count. The response I’m getting has been amazing.”

A farmer and rancher himself, Quist said he has visited 35 different counties as he works to connect with committee members outside the state’s largest metropolitan areas.

“I really care what happens in rural Montana,” Quist said. “I really feel like in many ways, given my longtime love affair with Montana, that I really could be a voice for Montana.”

Quist has performed as a touring musician since the 1970s but has never held political office.

If Zinke vacates his House seat, state law requires Gov. Steve Bullock to set a date for a special election within 85 to 100 days of the vacancy. Each party must then select a nominee at least 75 days before the election.

Entertainment editor Andy Viano can be reached at (406) 758-4439 or aviano@dailyinterlake.com.