Eden Prairie Singer Fred Montana

After 65 years, Eden Prairie’s Fred Montana shares the song in his heart.

Once you hit a certain age, conventional wisdom says its time to give up on
the dreams of your youth. Being a professional athlete most likely isn’t in the
cards at this point. It turns out you didn’t end up a Hollywood movie star, and
you might as well forget about that career in music by now, too.

Apparently Fred Montana didn’t get the memo.

The New Jersey native followed a first love out to Eden Prairie 35 years ago
and established a successful career for himself, forming his own company, The
Montana Group. He became very comfortable financially. He also remarried and
became very happy in his personal life.

All that was left to do now was to peacefully fade into old age; start taking
pottery classes, garden, maybe go on evening strolls at sunset.

That or start a whole new career as a singer, performing the songs you’ve
loved all your life.

Montana’s singing career started out strong, but life intervened. “When I was
in kindergarten in Brooklyn, New York, I was asked to do a solo in front of the
entire school at a Christmas event,” Montana says. “That was the first time that
I ever really performed, so to speak.”

Little did he know that the performance would also be his last for the next
60 years. Although always maintaining his love for music, Montana was too busy
creating a legacy through his business, while also raising a family, to follow
his passion for music too seriously.

That was, until a little over a year ago when he re-invented himself,
becoming a solo cover artist specializing in the “Great American Songbook,” or
music made famous by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond
and other modern artists. “I have been singing to myself for as long as I can
remember,” Montana says. “There has always been music in my house.”

And so in May of 2013, he hit the ground running. He started singing
professionally, finding himself performing in places such as Biaggi’s in Eden
Prairie, the Lodge Supper Club in Robbinsdale, the Chase Hotel in Walker and
even playing a sold-out show at Maggiano’s in his home state of New Jersey.

Lately, though, he has enjoyed a successful residency at the School II Bistro
and Wine Bar in Chanhassen. “The most ideal setting for me (to perform) is a
supper club/bistro, and School II is perfect,” Montana says. “It’s a great
venue, they have wonderful clientele and they appreciate music. Ann (Clifford,
School II’s owner) over the past few years has made an effort to bring in some
of the most incredibly talented musicians, either living in or passing through
Minnesota, to play on a regular basis.”

What inspires Montana to perform is the emotional connections derived from
every lyric, melody, and song he sings. “Music is the greatest achievement that
man has ever accomplished, even given that we’ve put a man on the moon and cured
all kinds of diseases,” he says. “It speaks to everybody throughout the world.
You can bring Neil Diamond to any country in the world and the only language he
needs to speak is through his music. Music is the most universal language there
is and I am thrilled to be a part of it and be able to bring that joy to
people.

“To watch people react to the songs they love is a phenomenal experience to
me,” Montana continues. “Many people have said to my wife, when I first started,
‘It’s like he’s been doing this forever’ and she says, ‘He’s been doing it his
head for 65 years.’ This was a natural thing for me.” //

&

Fred Montana sings every Tuesday night from 6-8:30 p.m at School II Bistro
& Wine Bar

600 Market St. #170, Chanhassen
952.949.0000; chanhassen bistro.com