Montana State University

'The Soloist' selected for MSU 2009 freshmen convocation

March 26, 2009


"The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship and the Redemptive Power of Music," by Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez has been selected as the Montana State University's 2009 Freshmen Convocation book.    High-Res Available

Subscribe to MSU Newsletters


Bobcat Bulletin is a weekly e-newsletter designed to bring the most recent and relevant news about Montana State University directly to friends and neighbors via email. Visit Bobcat Bulletin.

MSU Today e-mail brings you news and events on campus thrice weekly during the academic year. Visit the MSU Today calendar.

MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
msunews@montana.edu
"The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship and the Redemptive Power of Music," by Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez has been selected as the Montana State University's 2009 Freshmen Convocation book.

Lopez will speak at the MSU Convocation, set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, at MSU's Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. The event is free and open to the public.

The book's selection means that it will be required summer reading for MSU's 2,400 incoming freshmen and will be discussed in classes and venues throughout the MSU campus next fall.

Lopez's book is also the Bozeman Public Library's One Book-One Bozeman selection. The university and Bozeman Public Library will sponsor several joint events during Lopez's appearance at MSU and Bozeman including an appearance by Lopez at a community discussion at the library set on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 10.

"The Soloist" is a factual account that traces the development of a four-year friendship between Lopez and homeless musician Nathaniel Ayers, a former Julliard prodigy living on the streets of Los Angeles. Initially, Lopez sees Ayers, whom he meets on a chance encounter, as a source for material for his column. The relationship between the two disparate men develops and becomes the topic of several years of columns. Ultimately, the columns evolved into a book, which is about "friendship, second chances, the power of human connections and the healing power of music and art."

The book, "The Soloist," is the basis for a major motion picture by the same name to be released in April starring Robert Downey, Jr., and Jamie Foxx as Lopez and Ayers.

Lopez is an award-winning journalist who has written for Time, Sports Illustrated, Life, Entertainment Weekly, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The San Jose Mercury News and The Oakland Tribune.

According to Greg Young, MSU vice provost, the book's message about one person having the ability to make a difference makes it an excellent choice for the convocation.

"I think we want our students to think broadly about the possibilities for their futures and what might inspire them to make the world a better place, and this book does that," Young said.

Paula Beswick, director for the Bozeman Public Library Foundation and coordinator of One Book-One Bozeman activities concurred.

"Whether your interest is in mental health care, homelessness, poverty issues, music therapy or any related societal issues, this book can inspire you in new ways and provide for a rich community discussion," she said.

Beswick said the One Book-One Bozeman committee is developing programs, book discussions, film series, music performances, and much more throughout the month of September. Some of the activities are sponsored, in part, by The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, she said. Details will be posted as soon as they become available on the Website www.onebookonebozeman.org.

The September event will be MSU's third convocation. In 2008 the university hosted Stephen R. Covey and discussed his book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change."
The first MSU Convocation featured Bozeman resident Greg Mortenson, co-author of the hugely popular "Three Cups of Tea," and the founder of the Central Asia Institute that has built schools in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The MSU Leadership Institute of ASMSU and the MSU Alumni Association have provided additional sponsorship for the event. For more information, go to http://www.montana.edu/convocation/

Greg Young (406) 994-6057, gyoung@montana.edu