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Flat Stanley and the Symphony

Billings Symphony’s Laura Dalbey, left, and Rosie Weiss play tunes for elementary students in 2014.

Copper Kelly teams up with Billings fiddler Laura Dalbey and guitarist Jon Toepp for the Feb. 9 Contradance Billings event at Cedar Hall on the grounds of MetraPark.

Noel Dalbey is also expected to sit in on bodhran. 

Dalbey grew up studying violin and piano in the Billings area, playing in the Billings Symphony, and for church. She received her bachelor's degree in violin performance, and masters in music education. She’s been playing the violin for 37 years and has spent 27 of those years in the Billings Symphony. She teaches privately, at the Billings Catholic and Billings Public Schools and at some music camps including Montana Fiddle Camp and Montana Music Institute.

At the Montana Fiddle Camp, Dalbey discovered the joy of contradance. So when Contradance Billings came to be, she joined in as a musician.

Contradance is a social experience. For a dance, the music has a set number of measures and repeats for each tune, and while they are played at a fast speed, there is also a much more relaxed feeling to the music than at many concerts.

Juggling all the different styles of music that she plays, Dalbey said they actually complement each other.

"I've noticed many similarities between baroque violin playing and Celtic fiddling, including lilt, ornamentation, and the structure of the tunes,” Dalbey said.

The dance begins with an introductory workshop at 7:30 p.m. to teach the basic moves, and continues with Amy Letson calling the dances till 11 p.m. Although contradance is with couples, you do not need to bring a partner. Admission is $10 at the door, and the member price is $8. For more information, go to or the Facebook page ContradanceBillings.


Entertainment Reporter

Jaci Webb covers entertainment for The Billings Gazette.