Rimrock Opera

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NOVEMBER 15, 2007 11:00 PM

Morry C. Matson, founder of the Rimrock Opera Company in Billings, has created a new, privately funded scholarship for music students attending Billings Senior High.

The $500 annual scholarship will be awarded to a Billings Senior student planning to attend the University of Montana. Students do not have to major in music at UM, but must be taking a music class at Billings Senior in order to qualify. They can be involved in band, orchestra or chorus.

A graduate of Billings Senior and UM, Matson said he wanted to launch the scholarship to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Rimrock Opera Company and the 100th anniversary of the Babcock Theater. The Babcock opened on Dec. 23, 1907.

Now living in Chicago, Matson plans to return to Billings in May to present the award at Senior High's awards assembly. Applications for the Billings Opera Founder Morry C. Matson Scholarship are available in the music office at Senior High and can be submitted in 2008 between January and March.

Matson was the Billings Opera Guild's founding president and created the executive director position, which he held from 1997 to 1999, the year of the company's inaugural production of Rossini's "The Barber of Seville."

Matson founded a smaller-scale comic opera company in Chicago, which he manages. He produces one opera a year.
Matson said he was impressed with the ROC's healthy growth in the past 10 years and credits the company's leadership, including the board and general manager Douglas Nagel.