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Playwrights will lead Missoula Colony confab

The Missoula Colony, a gathering of writers for stage and screen, convenes for the eighth time on the University of Montana campus May 31-June 7.

A "Back to Basics" weekend is May 31 through June 1; cost is $30-$50 to participate. Readings follow through the end of the gathering.

Heading to Missoula from New York and Los Angeles to help lead the colony are writers Arthur Kopit, James McLure, Roger Hedden, Stacy Swedeen and Ron Fitzgerald, who will join Missoula-area writers to work on scripts with colony participants. Public readings are on the Montana Stage in the campus' Performing Arts, Radio/TV Center during the afternoons and evenings.

Kopit is the Tony Award-winning author of the current Broadway hit "Nine" as well as "Indians," "Wings" and others. Hedden wrote the screenplay for "Bodies, Rest and Motion," co-wrote the screenplay for "Sleep With Me," and wrote and directed the film "Hi-Life." McLure is author of "Lone Star/Laundry And Bourbon"; Swedeen is author of a number of award-winning plays, including "The Frozen Grail"; and Fitzgerald is a graduate of the Julliard School who has had his plays read at the prestigious O'Neill Conference.

For information about UM's Colony 8, call Mary Ann Riddle at the Montana Repertory Theatre, 243-6809, or go to the Montana Rep Web site at www.montanarep.org.

Handbell performers ring in a joyful noise at church

The JuBELLation Handbell Choir at First United Methodist Church will present its spring "ring-and-sing" concert at 4 p.m. Sunday in the church's sanctuary, 300 E. Main St.

Joining the handbell ringers will be musicians from First United Methodist's children's choir - the Joyful Noise - and from its adult choir. Organist and director of music Nita Hamilton will also accompany the handbells on several pieces.

Among the numbers included in Sunday's program are "Siyahamba," "Lift High the Cross," "Bell Boogie," "Grazioso," "Alleluia" and "Green Blade Riseth."

The handbell choir's small ensemble will perform as well, with three to five ringers presenting "Fairest Lord Jesus," "Trumpet Voluntary," "Peace Like a River" and "Evening Prayer."

The JuBELLation choir is just back from the Big Sky Handbell Conference in Great Falls, where it performed both solo and massed choir pieces. The group is led by director Cindy McAfee.

Sunday's program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served following the concert. A goodwill offering will be collected as part of the choir's continued fund-raising for new octaves of chimes and bells.

Entrees and auction help benefit theater, symphony

Finn & Porter, the new restaurant at Missoula's Doubletree hotel, is host of a charity event and sneak preview Friday, with proceeds benefiting the Missoula Children's Theatre and the Missoula Symphony Association.

Hors d'oeuvres and entree samplings from the new restaurant are featured, along with wine, beer and Finn & Porter's signature cocktail, the Finn-tini. A silent auction of gift certificates and items from MCT, the symphony, Doubletree and Finn & Porter also is scheduled.

Tickets are available in advance for $25 through MCT and the Missoula Symphony Association.

Missoulian

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