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Mountain West Voices spotlights UMW student

April 22, 2011

Mountain West Voices tells the stories of people who possess stories rich with the complexities the western United States and Canada are known for. The University of Montana and the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West sponsor the program, which aims to portray this region’s past, present, and future through compelling stories.

Lorenzen’s story, “The Bronc Riding Pianist,” appeared on Mountain West voices after the program’s host Clay Scott interviewed Montana Western music professor Gay Garard-Brewer. Following the interview, Scott asked Brewer for the name of a student to interview. Brewer was quick to suggest Lorenzen and was not surprised Scott chose to write a story on him.

“I introduced Norb to Clay Scott,” Brewer explained. “The rest is is history.”

Brewer gave Scott Lorenzen’s name due to her knowledge of Lorenzen’s musical talent and rodeo past.

“Norb’s not just straight music,” Brewer stated. “He brings another dimension to music with his passion for horses and the Western tradition.”

Brewer said she gained knowledge of Lorenzen’s diverse talents over time through an earned trust. She arrived at Montana Western during the 2009/2010 academic year and was introduced to Lorenzen by the previous piano teacher.

“He had a very fine background in music with twelve years of piano,” Brewer recalled of Lorenzen. “Due to a few bad experiences with music and teachers, his love for music was wavering.”

The two worked together over the course of the year and slowly they formed a trusting relationship.

“We started sharing things other than music, things we had in common due to our Montana heritages,” Brewer explained. “That forged a common bond.”

After Brewer invited Lorenzen to accompany the music students while they were on tour, he became involved in the choir and also began watching Brewer teach lessons.

“He’s been a real delight,” Brewer added. “He’s willing to practice and do extra time. He’s a hard worker and he doesn’t tolerate laziness in others.”

Lorenzen is currently involved with the Montana Western choir, is performing in the Broadway Show Scenes as well as his own piano concerts, all the while remaining on the UMW Dean’s List despite his packed schedule. While he plans for a slower paced summer working for an outfitter near Glacier National Park, he has plans for the future as well.

“I’d like to teach piano lessons eventually,” Lorenzen stated. “Right out of college I’ll probably stick more with cutting and reining horses. I like the control and concentration of reining, and cutting is very athletic.”

Brewer said Lorenzen’s love of music and horses makes a unique mix, which she describes as exhibiting both refinement and wildness.

“Norb just brings that essence of Montana,” Brewer noted. “He represents culture and refinement as well as the wildness of our state. He’s a laid-back, wonderful young man who truly cares for other people.”

Lorenzen’s appearance on Mountain West Voices is available at