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Montana Tech Community Participates in Mine Tragedy Commemoration

April 11, 2017

Members of Montana Tech’s faculty, staff and student body will be participating in the original musical drama NO GREATER LOVE, as part of Butte’s commemoration of the 1917 Granite Mountain – Speculator Mine Fire in which 168 miners were killed in the worst hard-rock mining disaster in U.S. history. Tech family participating in the production are: Dr. Gary Funk, Dr. John Garic, Reanna Lange, Andrew Rossiter and Ricardo Sanon. The live musical production will premiere this summer, on June 9 and 10, at the Mother Lode Theatre.

Dr. Gary Funk, faculty and Director of the Montana Tech Chorale, is Composer, Co-librettist (along with his wife, Sylvia), Artistic Director and Musical Director for the production. Dr. John Garic, faculty and former Dean of Highlands College, will perform the role of Norman Braley, General Manager of the North Butte Mining Company at the time of the tragedy. Reanna Lange, Tech’s Payroll Specialist, will perform the role of Lulu. Andrew Rossiter, a student majoring in Electrical Engineering, will perform the role of Cobb. And Ricardo Sanon, an Events Coordinator for the Montana Tech Foundation, will perform the role of Fowler.

“There is a long tradition that major events get memorialized in theater, musical theater and opera,” said Dr. Funk. “With our No Greater Love production, we are proud to have the opportunity to commemorate this major Butte historical event, remember and honor the men who perished, the heartbroken families they left behind and the Butte community which struggled on to continue to provide our country with much needed metals and minerals. This disaster was a defining moment for Butte. To everyone affected by the tragedy of the 1917 mine fire (both living and dead), I want you to know that we have not forgotten you.”

The No Greater Love musical production features 1917 Butte and tells the story of the miners involved in the tragedy and the families and townsfolk who waited to get the news of whether their miner-loved-ones survived. The focus of the musical is the story of Manus Duggan a “nipper” or mine helper at the time. During the disaster, he hiked all over the mine warning and saving many before succumbing himself to the poisonous fumes.

In addition to the Tech folks, there are many Butte community members who are participating in the production – including onstage, backstage, production staff and development staff. This is truly an event by and for our greater Butte community. As the production will only run for two nights, there will be a limited number of tickets. You are urged to get your tickets early. Tickets are available online by going to www.buttearts.org. The Mother Lode Theatre box office is at 316 W. Park St., Butte, MT 59701. Hours are 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. M-F. Phone 723-3602.

More information on the show is available at http://www.nogreaterlovebutte.com/