Did You Know Montana Has a Full Sized Stonehenge?
When you play in a bagpipe band in Montana for as long as I have you will pick up an odd gig here or there. There is usually travel involved. Sometimes it can be tedious and a drag, but sometimes there is a gig that comes along that just seems too good to be true and out of a storybook and it lives up to everything you could imagine.
The Celtic Dragon Pipe Band got a call that "Mr. Smith" wanted to hire us for a performance up in Fortine Montana, outside of Eureka. He wanted us to play at a life-sized Stonehenge monument on the Summer Solstice just as the sun was rising on a private golf course. They also told us that after we performed we could play in a golf tournament that they put on for their friends and families. They also mentioned that there is an air museum and a landing strip there too. They were also willing to pay the band for our time. It was hard for us to believe half of this was true, yet alone all of it.
It was true.
We accepted the gig and were excited to be a part of something amazing. Sunrise was a little after 6 a.m. that day. To get a pipe band up, ready and tuned that early in the morning was quite the task. Just as it was getting light and we were scheduled to perform we lined up behind a little hill on the golf course because it was supposed to be a surprise for some of the guests. As the sun was just coming up over the mountain, we struck up the band and we marched over the hill along the golf course to a life sized Stonehenge. It was magnificent!
Jim told us the story that had the idea a few years back to build a life sized Stonehenge on his private golf course called Crystal Springs and he had the friends, family and means to do it. He told us that Fortine was the same latitude as the original Stonehenge in England. He also adjusted the construction on his Stonehenge so when the sun rises on the Summer Solstice that it will shine directly on the "Alter Stone" in his recreation. He was right, it did do just that.
Even though, the golf course and the Stonehenge replica are private, Jim Smith also collects airplanes and has created the Stonehenge Air Museum that you can visit by appointment only, featuring over two dozen airplanes.
A lot of us played the golf tournament right after we performed, including myself. I have no idea how well I played golf that day, but I do know that as a band we played fantastic and had the time of our lives. I also know that I got goosebumps playing that day, and knew that it was moment in time that may never happen again. It happened in Montana. I continue playing with the Celtic Dragon Pipe Band, because you never know when another gig like that will come along.