To kick off the Red Lodge Fringe Festival (RLFF) summer concerts, violinist, Denise Dillenbeck and percussionist/composer Mark Goodenberger performed a diverse and unique set of musical arrangements. On June 14, at the St. Agnes Church, the group named DuoDG explored different musical styles, pairing the violin with an array of eclectic percussion instruments, including the marimba, vibraphone, didgeridoo and other noisemaking devices.
As a way to promote the arts and the pressing need for an adequate performing arts center in Red Lodge, RLFF Director, Gerald Davidson hopes the festival will help influence the community of the importance of keeping the arts alive in Red Lodge. “Red Lodge deserves and needs high quality entertainment and culture during the summer and throughout the year. We are just starting and testing the waters, but we hope this will eventually become a summer concert mini-series. We need it, Red Lodge visitors need it and the businesses need it,” Davidson explained.
“When visitors come to Red Lodge, they have nothing to do besides go out to eat and then go back to the hotel. This will give them something different and entertaining to do. Our goal is to appeal to everybody,” Davidson noted. Allowing the audience to fully experience each piece individually, the personable pair of DuoDG, introduced the arrangements and discussed their inspirations. Goodenberger explained his composition of short pieces from experiences he had while living in Paris. Such included arrangements about bridges, dogs, romantic cafes, catacombs, and carousels, played on the marimba. “You could really picture yourself in Paris,” said one audience member, “It sounded amazing.”
Groups like DuoDG align with the goals of RLFF, as a way to, “bring top-quality events to Red Lodge, in all areas from blue-grass to Beetoven… [and] act as “…a venue for performances that don’t fit in the other regional festivals…” Despite its size, Red Lodge is home to an impressive artistic community, but lacks a substantial place for performers and artists alike. Thus, according to the RLFF website, “The Red Lodge Fringe Festival arose out of a need for an expanded performing arts environment in Red Lodge while waiting and hoping for a complete new Performing Arts Center.” Both the “RLFF and A Place For Our Arts, an organization that supports existing artist avenues and examines future needs of the artist community], operate under the auspices of the nonprofit, Red Lodge Community Foundation (RLCF).”
“This is an umbrella initiative, and we pushing all the artistic events in town. We see Red Lodge as an artist community, but there is no place for them. We need a theater and a place where they can perform,” said Valentine Smith of the A Place For Our Arts. The next concert June 27 features the group, “Four Shillings Short” who will perform their mix of Irish, Folk and Indian music, held at the Red Lodge Civic Center. Tickets cost $25. For reservations please call 446-1718 and for more information about RLFF, please visit the website at redlodgefringefestival.org