By Paula J. McGarvey for The Montana Standard
Five years ago, a group of friends with a passion for their faith and their music came together to â€œjamâ€ and play gospel music and ended upÂ forming the band Mountain Bluegrass Gospel.
The group started playing in more public venues in order to spread the gospel through music.
â€œItâ€™s a fun venue,â€ Sharon Severance, who plays upright bass and sings high tenor.
Severance said that the band is composed of musicians living in Montana and Arizona, and will be playing local venues throughout the month of August. (See schedule)
â€œWe mostly doÂ churches. We love singing for the Lord,â€ Severance said.
Severance and her husband, Lynn, who handles the bandâ€™s public relations, spend summers in Sheridan and winter in Spring Valley, Ariz. While in Montana, the two play with the Gilbert family of Sheridan.
The Gilberts are active in the music ministry at the Ruby Valley Baptist Church and include Ernie, who plays rhythm guitar; his wife, Alice, on vocals; and 10-year-old son, Ernie Gene, on the fiddle. Ernie Gene is also an active member of the Dillon Junior Fiddlers and is learning to play theÂ mandolin.
While in Arizona, Sharon and Lynn â€œjamâ€ with Rick Rhodes, who plays banjo, guitar, and sings lead vocals. An active member and past president of the Arizona Bluegrass Association, his wife Leslie serves as the associationâ€™s president, Severance said.
Rhodes will join the band in Montana during August and accompany them when they play at area churches and outdoor sites.
Mountain Bluegrass Gospel schedule
Saturday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. â€” Old Church at Bannack State Park west of Dillon
Sunday, Aug. 22 at 9:30 a.m. â€” Barrett Campground at Rattlesnake Cliffs south of Dillon, sponsored by the Dillon Evangelical Lutheran Church
Sunday, Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. â€” First Baptist Church, Montana and Broadway, Butte.
Sunday, Aug. 29 at 9:30 a.m. â€” Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 2300 Florence Ave., Butte
Sunday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. â€” Bethel Methodist Church in Sheridan. The performance will be followed by and ice cream social.