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Before 8 p.m. each night, Kay and Marvin Lansverk set up folding chairs on their lawn for people to sit and watch. They welcome whoever comes by.

A few arrived this last Tuesday and Marvin climbed through a ceiling window and onto his roof. Then he started playing the trumpet.

“You don’t know how it’s being taken,” Lansverk said, “but then people stop by and chat and have fun.”

Since late March, Lansverk has played his trumpet at the same time each night to honor health care workers while also bringing joy to neighbors. Though he says it’s not a concert, the music attracted a crowd of at least 10 people Tuesday night and other neighbors who listen from their home or nearby Cooper Park.

He usually plays for about 20 minutes and takes requests from anyone who walks by. Others are regulars who come to listen while some have only stopped by a couple times. On Tuesday, people biking and walking their dogs stopped to listen.

As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the globe, Lansverk learned of people in Italy banging pots and pans to honor health care workers. He did the same for a few nights, even before Bozemanites howled with the same purpose.

But then Kay suggested a much more pleasing sound and the nightly ritual was born.

“After about four or five nights of the banging, I said how about you trumpet instead?” Kay recalled.

Lansverk, an English professor at Montana State, has played in the school’s One O’Clock Band and the Bridger Mountain Big Band. But in recent months, he’s been unable to congregate with them.

In rainy weather, Lansverk has opened his front door and played from inside, staying dry but still making music.

When he began playing in his backyard, he was “sort of embarrassed.” But then he reconsidered and started playing from atop his roof. And Kay often walks around the street, chatting with passersby and inviting them to stay and listen.

“The purpose is always to support front-line workers, it still is,” Lansverk said. “But just people in the neighborhood feeling neighborly too. That’s become a part of it.”

Neighbor Jeannie Haight, 87, has come by just about every night regardless of the weather. She walks about a block down the street to soak in the music.

“It’s just fun to listen to Marvin play and talk with neighbors,” Haight said. “It’s just neat. I look forward to 8 o’clock every night to sit and enjoy his trumpeting.”

Lansverk also takes requests. On Sunday, their 39th anniversary, Kay asked Marvin to play two songs that were played at their wedding. Another time, children requested Lansverk to play “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen.” On Tuesday, a neighbor asked for “Let It Be” by The Beatles and Lansverk played it without any sheet music in front of him.

The daily endeavor has lasted long enough that Lansverk now plans other activities around it.

“When I started I didn’t know I’d keep doing it,” Lansverk said. “Now we’ll be out canoeing or something and it’s like, ‘Quick, we got to get home for 8 o’clock.’”

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Paul Schwedelson can be reached at or 406-582-2670. Follow him on Twitter @pschweds.