By Bonnie Williamson
The Montana Country Poets and Pickers performed to a full house at the Havre-Hill County Library Dec. 30, 1999. The gathering was dedicated to Mavis Boyce.
Miss Boyce was a fan and a constant source of encouragement to the many local artist who performed in the December gathering.
Mavis Boyce was a teacher by profession but teaching and encouraging the printed word was her way of life. Mavis retired from teaching in 1978 to care for her parents who still lived on their ranch South of Havre. After her parents passed away, Mavis moved to Havre, where she began her service to the Havre-Hill County Library.
From 1983 until her death December 22, 1999, Mavis graciously donated her time, energy and support to the library, church, community, family and friends.
Dedicating the gathering to Mavis set the performers and audience in a very nostalgic mood. The Havre-Hill County Library brought these country poets and pickers together for their first gathering in 1995. The group has grown far beyond this first performance and now perform around the state.
It was a pleasure for the Library to host another Christmas gathering. Every time this group gets together the participants bring a unique presentation that is new and interesting. If you have not had the opportunity to meet these local performers - let me introduce them.
Arnold Hokanson was the host for the gathering. Arnold's comments, poetry and music is pure old fashioned fun. Arnold's unique drawl is fascinating to the listener as his poetry takes you back into time and my advice is everyone should hear Arnold's rendition of "Good Night Irene". Another one of Mr. Hokanson talents is he recites all of his music and poems from memory. Nary a note does he bring to any gathering. Arnold has published three books and one music cassette.
Rose Gran has written an original Christmas carol. For the gathering, she sang the carol in Spanish and her husband, Ted, narrated the words in English. Rose has published a book of her poetry, "Wren Tales." Rose's poems are expertly spun often from nature itself.
Ron Pegar has the skill to write a poem with a surprise ending. Ron seems to be able to watch life then writes a poem. His presentations are exciting.
Dave Molitor is a poet and a storyteller. His poetry and stories are written and told about the faith, humor and melancholy needed to get through any ordinary day. Dave Molitor has published a book of his poetry.
Edith Dolezal has the amazing ability of putting her life and her family's life stories in rhyme. Mrs. Dolezal's newest poem is "Quitting Time", which she wrote for her husbands 90th birthday. Edith's poems are precious to hear.
Jim Faber is a poet and a picker. Jim is an accomplished guitarist and with little encouragement will play "You are My Sunshine" as beautifully as you have ever heard. With three new poems this year, Jim's talent is invaluable to the Montana Country Poets and Pickers.
Merlyn Huso writes poems from his adventures on the back trails and traveling through life as a son, husband, father and grandfather. Merlyn's presentation along with his descriptive poetry sets the listener into the time and place.
Fred Liese writes poetry of contemporary times and issues. Fred is a country poet with quick wit. The verses in Fred's poetry are full of humor and often he will risk a political slant. Mr. Liese's poetry and presentation is refreshing. Fred has recorded a cassette of his poetry.
Brad Hicks is a storytelling poet. His poems are usually flavored with the cowboy way of life. Brad has a good sense of humor and he has the knack to laugh at himself.
Madeline Gilmore and Barb Rathbun were on the program and are official members of the Montana Country Poets and Pickers but neither was well enough to perform at the December gathering. Madeline and Barb are accomplished poets and have been favorites at previous gatherings.
The books and cassettes mentioned above are available direct from the authors. For more information about the Montana Country Poets and Pickers who originated from the Havre-Hill County Library's first gathering of local poets call Bonnie Williamson at 265-2123.
In honor of Mavis Boyce, remember to keep on reading and writing and publish your best works.