Sing Montana! is a nonprofit organization based in Billings, MT. We exist because we love music, singing, and people, and want to facilitate the singing experience for as many as possible. As our theme song says, “We sing because it’s beautiful.”
Our mission is to teach singing and to provide singing opportunities, whether that’s solo, small ensemble, or choral singing. Learn about our leadership here.
Here are the projects/ensembles that we currently have running, or hope to begin within the next year:
- Freedom Choir. SATB. Ages 16 through 120. Our flagship ensemble, Freedom Choir is a “pops” choir that sings mostly unaccompanied, and aims at a collegiate quality level. Resumes Fall 2023.
- Youth Choir. For boys and girls, ages 7-18. Starting Fall 2023.
SOLO / SMALL ENSEMBLES
- Troubadours. Men and women. Ages 16 to 120. This troupe of mostly-soloists will meet weekly to rehearse their numbers, and will sing out once a month or so in restaurants, clubs, assisted living facilities, etc. Beginning Fall 2023.
- Accompanists. Each of our choirs needs an accompanist (piano) regularly, and perhaps an occasional guitar accompanist. Troubadours will need probably two pianists, if not three, and at least one guitarist.
- House Band / Instrumentalists. We would like to put together a band to accompany us on two or three numbers in our bigger concerts—which happen twice a year. (Piano, bass, drums, violin, guitar, clarinet, sax, trumpet, trombone, mostly.) We’re hoping to find some fine players who would welcome the occasional low-intensity gig that they don’t have to organize themselves! One original piece Freedom Choir would like to do in Spring 2024 calls for 10 or 12 various horns, with piano, bass, and drums. If that goes well, we could easily add in more of the same—but do keep in mind that Freedom Choir is mostly an a capella choir, and will always sing at least half a show unaccompanied.
- Voice Camp for Teens. Starts Summer 2024.
- Choir Camp for Teens. Possibly starting Summer 2024.
- Voice Class Description. Possibly starting Fall 2024.
- Music-Reading for Singers Class. Possibly starting Spring 2024.
- Music-Reading Camp for Teens. Possibly starting Summer 2024.
SING MONTANA! HISTORY
Sing Montana! began with a Homeschool Chorus founded by Jack Pelham in September of 2018. We spent that semester in a borrowed church space, and by January 2019, we were meeting in a converted warehouse space, and operating under what was our original corporate name, We, Montana!. We called our space The Great Room, and it wasn’t long until Jack was teaching several humanities courses for homeschoolers on Mondays.
When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, it disrupted our enrollment, as it was doing everywhere, but by the Fall of that year, there was enough enthusiasm among those Homeschool Chorus members to keep the choir going. It had already included some parent singers to fill out the sound, and was promising to become a viable community chorus. So in January of 2021, we moved rehearsals to Monday nights, and that’s when Freedom Choir was born. And we still have several singers from that first Homeschool Chorus in Freedom Choir to this day, where our age range now runs from about 16 to about 70-something.
In December of 2021, we produced the 1st Annual Montana Christmas! concert and singalong at the historic Babcock Theatre in Billings. We had 55 singers on the stage for that show (not all pictured here because we can’t find that picture!).
CLOSING THE GREAT ROOM
By May of 2022, the continuing strain of COVID on the society and the worsening economy made it necessary to shut down the We, Montana! homeschool program and The Great Room. This meant canceling our general music class and other young ensembles, but it had always been our intent to hang on to Freedom Choir, if nothing else. So we moved our rehearsals to a rented church space and changed the corporate name to Sing Montana!, as the scope of our mission had become more concentrated. We finished out 2022 with our 2nd Annual Montana Christmas! show, this time at the Lincoln Center.
THE START OF VOICE CLASSES
The closing of The Great Room in 2022 had not only meant the loss of several ensembles for younger singers, but also the loss of what was proving to be a very effective stream of those young singers headed for the ranks of Freedom Choir. By Spring of 2023, Freedom Choir’s enrollment still had not recovered, so we decided to spend our time working on our singing technique. As an experiment, we began splitting our rehearsal nights between Voice Class and choral rehearsals. The results were surprisingly good, with not only our sound improving, but the effectiveness of our rehearsals. It was definitely a level-up year for us, and what we learned from it has shaped where we’re headed from here.
BRINGING BACK THE HOMESCHOOL CHOIRS
Now that things have stabilized with Freedom Choir, we’re looking forward to building three new homeschool choirs in Billings, starting in the Fall of 2023. To keep expenses down, we won’t have a dedicated space this time, but will rent a church space on Wednesdays. We hope we can get all three choirs up and running in a single semester, and we have a busy summer ahead of us for getting the word out!
VOICE CLASSES AND CAMPS
We’re also chomping at the bit to start some new voice classes and summer camps as soon as we can manage it. We’ll have to be a bit patient, as we can’t start our first summer camp until Summer 2024. But it’s still possible we could start our first evening voice class for adults in the Fall of 2023.
Our teaching approach is quite different from that of private voice lessons. They aim to teach singing more like athletics are typically taught—with several people learning all at once in a group. This is scarier (for some) than private lessons, but it’s also less expensive and we believe that the students learn many things faster this way, for having seen and heard so many different singers get coached on the same types of singing issues.
We’re also excited to be setting our sights on starting up a new troupe of talented soloists (with a duet, trio, or quartet here and there). The Troubadours will meet privately for rehearsals and sing out once a month or so in public venues, such as restaurants, clubs, and assisted living facilities. We’ll have piano and guitar accompanists, and enough singers to put on an entertaining show for two or three hours. They’ll become the most visible arm of Sing Montana!, so they’ll likely serve as ambassadors for us as we’re trying to spread news about our programs throughout the community.
Our Show Schedule
Here’s how our target show schedule is shaping up. It’s two major shows a year, and two modest ones:
- Troubadours. Solo and small ensemble pieces with two or three numbers from Freedom Choir. Sometime in October each year.
- Montana Christmas! Our annual Christmas event, with all the combined Sing Montana! choirs, with instrumentalists—with a few Troubadours likely to appear. Early December each year.
- Teacher’s Recital Night. Sing Montana! hosts a classy recital of local private studio and school music teachers to give them a convenient opportunity to be soloists again—as well as to give all their students an opportunity to hear them in legit performance! Freedom Choir will also perform two or three numbers. Late February each year.
- Sing Montana! Our annual Spring show, with our combined singers and instrumentalists. Early May each year.
The Spirit of Sing Montana!
We love what we are doing! We help people achieve their dreams of singing well, whether in choruses, in small ensembles, or as soloists. We’re putting the singers, instrumentalists, and technical crew together with the audiences! We start singers as young as seven, and by the time they reach Freedom Choir and Troubadours, we hope we have built a musical community of people who:
- Love people
- Love the music
- Love to perform
- Enjoy the hard work of excellence
- Are accustomed to working hard on their personal skills
- Can make the time to do it right, and
- Have the people skills needed to communicate well and work successfully with others.
This is our dream!
Now Seeking New Talent
Please keep in touch about concert dates and other announcements! You can sign up for our free email newsletter and social media accounts here.
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