Livingston, Montana – Finding Hope in Tragedy

On April 11th Gustaff, my parents, and I set off on a long drive towards Livingston, Montana. The speed limit was high and the roads were winding. We made a few stops for some wonderful views and a lot of pee breaks (we were well hydrated), and this caused us to spend a lot of time driving after daylight. We got to Livingston around 1:00 in the morning on the 12th. Gustaff stayed at our friends Cheryl and Ryan’s quaint home, while my parents and I crashed at a nearby hotel (in Livingston everything is nearby).

A photo of a couple of lovers in Montana.
Somewhere in Montana.
Photo of a home in Livingston, Montana.
Ryan and Cheryl’s beautiful home.
A photo of Murray Cafe and Hotel in Livingston, Montana.
Such a cool vibe in this oldschool town.
Street view of Livingston, montana.
Not a bad location either.

The next afternoon we were set to play at the local Park High School, so we met with the vice-principle and a few teachers just before the final period. They informed us of the recent tragedies in the town and the school more specifically, with two students committing suicide and two other adults in the community doing the same. With all this recent heartbreak a group of students banded together and created a club encouraging kindness and hope. With this new group they ordered custom shirts with quotes of kindness on them which they were giving away to students. Afterwards they gave Gustaff and I one each that read,

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” – Plato.

Before we performed for the 3-400 high school students and adults, the kindness group shared stories of how kindness made a big impact in their lives. It was a wonderfully touching presentation and Gustaff and I were so honored to follow them with some uplifting tunes. Afterwards we were famous in Livingston. Walking around town everyone waved to us and thanked us for the show. We even made it on the front page of the Livingston Enterprise and the school paper.

Photo of concert at Park High School in Livingston, Montana
Sound-check while the students rolled in.
Photo of the Park High School t-shirt saying keep calm and ranger on in Livingston, Montana
We also got shirts from the school.
Photo of the front page of the Livingston, Enterprise with Stevie Vagabond and Gustaff Besungu in Montana.
Front page of the Livingston Enterprise.

That evening we got to top the day off with dinner at Cheryl and Ryan’s, followed by an intimate and emotional devotional concert in their home. It was so nice to play in front of my parents who have always been my biggest fans my entire life no matter what it was I chose to do. I know that I would never be where I am today if it weren’t for their guidance and amazing examples of human beings on this planet while I was growing up.

Photo of friends having a picnic in Livingston, Montana.
Dinner with Cheryl and Ryan in their backyard.
Photo of father and son.
My #1 fan.

The next morning on April 13th Gustaff and I said goodbye to my parents as they headed north back to Edmonton, Alberta and we made our way south towards Salt Lake City, Utah. Before leaving they both expressed how proud they were of me. I know that in these past few years I have made a lot of different changes from who they used to know me as, and they seemed to be happy with who I’ve grown to be. Again I was just lucky enough to have been given them as my parents for this earthly life.

Photo of mom and dad.
Mama and Papa Vagabond.

Thank you Montana for sharing your optimism and positivity with us.

Next stop SLC, UT!

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