Safer Than They Think

With what I do at We, Montana!, I get to see people overcome their fears quite often. And it’s both fascinating and rewarding to see it happen. This happens, too, with singers, and Freedom Choir is no exception. We’ve already seen several show up as whisper-singers and turn into soloists in just a few months’ time. So I offer up this poem for your general encouragement along these lines.

Safer Than They Think

by Jack Pelham

Many of the people I know
Are safer than they think.
In one way or another,
They shy away from dangers
That are barely real —
If they are real at all—
Or from a past that can be
Neither present nor future
But with their help.

Continue reading Safer Than They Think

They Come Together

I think that Freedom Choir is an amazing extravagance, that so many come together to expend such effort on making so many details just so. And it’s about so much more than the music—which theme I’m sure I’ve touched on in several poems, including this one.

They Come Together

by Jack Pelham

They come together,
These people,
Each beautiful in their various ways,
Offering up their strengths
As gifts to us all—
Having received them
As gifts themselves.

Continue reading They Come Together

If You Could See

As so many in this world struggle with inconfidence and insecurity when it comes to singing in public (and whatever else!), I wanted to share this poem on that topic–and probably a few others, too. It’s about what happens to our difficult emotions when we put our focus on some external and worthy cause. You can click on the category “Poems” above to see what else might be posted here.

If You Could See

by Jack Pelham

If you could see what I see,
You’d be all in.
You’d drop your hesitance
And shake off the inattention
And push yourself to do your best—
Which, as it turns out in this real world,
No one else can do for you.

Continue reading If You Could See

UPDATE: Band Concert call time: 5:30

Let me say right off that I know some of you can’t be there until right at show time. (I’ll say something to you below, so please read it.

Anyway, I’ve been surprised by the Community Band again, and they’re now asking us to be there and ready to go at 6:00. (The hall opens at 5:30). Well, this means we should aim to be there no later than 5:30 so that we can warm up a bit and sing at least one of our numbers from the stage. Then they want to run through THEIR Christmas singalong medley. (Again, this is not OUR singalong set, but their own.) It is exceedingly simple—-and I need you to trust me on this and not panic. I’m trying to get you a link to a video of the medley, so you can see how it goes.

So, I need to hear back from who all can be there at the backstage door, ready to go in at 5:30. Please respond via Remind.


All Freedom Choir members need to report to the backstage door on the Northwest entrance of the building. (Enter from 29th street.) NW Stage Door Entrance.

If you are one of those arriving after 7, you’ll be responsible for finding your way to the NW backstage door and finding your way to the stage. Then, assuming we’ve begun performing before you arrive, you need to come on stage and join us immediately after whatever song we’re singing at that moment. Please don’t wait to be invited. Nobody will great you or guide you. You have to be assertive and make it happen on your own.

They’re estimating that we’ll being our portion somewhere between 7:30 and 7:40.

Here’s a link to Google Maps:

Christmas Caroling for Sometime After Our Show Is Over???

About a dozen of us went caroling last night as part of the Holiday Stroll event (Downtown Billings Alliance). We had a great time, and there was a lot of enthusiasm about doing it again next year. (And I think that maybe next year, we could have two or three well-balanced groups to wander about as we did last night). It sure seemed wrong that we couldn’t have everybody with us, but it was what it was!

Anyway, several of us thought it would be nice—-AFTER OUR SHOW IS FINISHED—-to arrange a casual caroling event at a local nursing home, retirement home, or assisted living facility. I don’t know when would be best for that—and I wonder about Monday night, the 20th—in our regular rehearsal slot (though our rehearsal semester will end the week before with our show). Depending on the facility, of course, they may much prefer us to come in the daytime—-or am I wrong about that? (And on what weekday would they want us?)

We wouldn’t have to have all 33 of us to make this work, so we can approach it quite casually. I know that these especially at this time of year, these songs mean so much to so many. So I’m highly motivated to make it work out if we can get at least a dozen or so (with all the parts represented).

Our set of 6 singalong songs only takes us 15 or 20 minutes to perform, so we could possibly have a caravan and go to more than one location on the same outing.

Anybody have ideas where to go and when? Anybody have contacts in such homes already? Anybody have recent experience putting together such a thing? You can send me your ideas/responses on Remind—responding to the post that got you here.