rows of seats inside of a large performance hall
May 29, 2023
Flathead Beacon

FVCC Wachholz Center To Host Open House and Season-Preview Event with Live Music and Food

By Mike Kordenbrock

Community members are invited to an upcoming open house and season-preview event at the Flathead Valley Community College Paul D. Wachholz College Center which is aimed at both showcasing the facility to the public and generating excitement about the center’s lineup for its sophomore season.

In a recent announcement for the event, College Center Director Matt Laughlin described how a similar event had been envisioned in the lead up to the center’s November 2022 opening, but never materialized amid ongoing last minute preparations and the onset of winter weather.

“Now that the weather is nice and the days are longer, we want to open the doors and invite the community in to see the awesome community asset that is the Wachholz Center,” McLaughlin said in a press release.

The free event sponsored by Payne West Insurance is planned for June 3, and will run from noon until 4 p.m. The center will then reopen later in the evening for a separate event featuring indie folk duo Big Sky City Lights, which was formed in the Flathead and is made up of musicians Nick Spear and Susan O’Dea.

The open house will have musical performances in the center’s O’Shaughnessy Outdoor Amphitheater and Swank Recital Hall. Musical performers will include Colten Christensen, Artist Robinson, Halladay Quist, Ben Darce, and members of the Glacier Symphony Orchestra.

Food will be available from Knucklhed BBQ, 406 Taco Nite and Cold Stone Creamery.

The Wachholz Center first opened its doors for its first art exhibition, and first concert in McClaren Hall on Nov. 4, 2022.  Opening night featured the Canadian folk and bluegrass trio The Wailin’ Jennys, and the art exhibition, called “Gateway to Glacier,” was made up of selections from the Hockaday Museum of Art’s permanent collection, including pieces by Rudy Autio, Charles Davis, Jeanne Hamilton, Neil Parsons, Kevin Red Star, Karen Leigh, Mark Ogle and Echo Ukrainetz.

The center’s first year has so far featured speaker events including the humor writer David Sedaris, the author Anne Lamott, the cartoonist Gary Trudeau, and the artist and former Def Jam Recordings creative director Cey Adams, as well as a wide-ranging slate of National Geographic Live speakers. The center has also hosted a number of musical events, including the Glacier Symphony and the virtuoso violinist Midori, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, the New York Philharmonic String Quartet, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox and Mannheim Steamroller.

Upcoming events this summer include the Glacier Symphony’s Mozart at McClaren music festival from June 23 through June 25, the Steep Canyon Rangers on July 7, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives on July 28, RAIN—A Tribute to the Beatles on July 31, the Portland Cello Project on Aug. 3, Tab Benoit and The Rumble on Aug. 27, Daughtry on Sept. 6, and Straight No Chaser on Oct. 20.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to