Category Archives: Beginning Band

Ages 10 and up, including parents and older family members.

We, Montana! Advanced Choral Groups to Sing Under the “Sing, Montana!” Banner

The first concert of our first choral group. December 2018. 7 of these singers are in the Freedom Choir picture below!

We, Montana! has grown a lot since we started with a simple homeschool chorus in the Fall of 2018–to the point where it gets a little complicated talking about everything that’s going on–and to the point that our website at wemontana.org is quite crowded! So we’re splitting off our two most advanced vocal ensembles, Freedom Choir and Women’s Chorus under the Sing, Montana! banner, and we’ve given them their own website at SingMontana.org.

Sing, Montana! also has its own YouTube page here. And we have a Facebook page here.

But we’re not going anywhere! We’ll still be rehearsing in the We, Montana! Great Room as follows:

  • Freedom Choir (mixed). Monday nights from 6:00pm to 8:30pm, starting September 13
  • Women’s Chorus. Every other Saturday or so, from 3-5pm, starting September 25
Freedom Choir’s most recent concert (17 May 2021)–including about 7 members who were in the original homeschool chorus pictured above!

In fact, we’re having an Open House for Freedom Choir so that we can meet some more good singers with which to build our ensemble from last semester’s 27 members to 50 (we hope!) by January 2022.

Would you please help us spread the word? You can read about the Open House events on our website here. And you can find the Facebook “Event” we started for this Open House here.

We’re building something really great here. Please consider sharing to as many as you can so that we can get off to a great start in our second season!

We, Montana! to Change Directions for Fall 2020: Suspends Classes; Starts Podcast

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 situation has created lots of upheaval in the educational world, and even at this late date, many parents are still uncertain as to how they will proceed for Fall 2020.  Consequently, our We, Montana! enrollments for Fall are down such that moving forward with our classes is simply impractical.  As a result, our Board has decided to suspend all course offerings for now while looking hopefully ahead to January or September 2021 to recommence, provided the situation is better.  We regret this disappointing situation on behalf of all the people it affects, but we’re determined to make lemonade from the lemons that COVID-19 has handed us.  Since we can’t fill up our classes with students, we’re going to take advantage of this opportunity to rework our strategic plan so that we can build another area of our intended outreach ahead of schedule, while hopefully raising enough financial support in the interim to keep the rent paid on our dedicated classroom space (the Great Room) .

Continue reading We, Montana! to Change Directions for Fall 2020: Suspends Classes; Starts Podcast

To All Parents: Assembling Parent Testimonials

As you may know, we’ve been making a big push this summer to spread the word about We, Montana!  And thanks to the help of several of our older students, we’ve put together some great videos to help spread the word.  Meanwhile, however, I think there’s a real need to get some parent testimonials out there, too.  I’m thinking about putting together a video slideshow of written parent testimonials, and also about posting the same copy on a simple page on our website. 

Continue reading To All Parents: Assembling Parent Testimonials

Beginning Band Discontinued; Recorder Band to Commence?

We are sad to announce that we’ll no longer be offering Beginning Band for the time being. This post will explain why, and will suggest an alternative.

It’s no secret that we’ve had concerns about our beginning band program for some time now. The issue is that on a one-per-week class schedule, it takes too long to complete a thorough beginning band program. This causes two particular problems:

  1. Too few students reach mastery of the various skills in a timely manner—such that it’s hard to feel like they’re “getting anywhere”.
  2. We only have so much time available on the schedule, so if a Beginning Band class takes longer than a year to complete, this means that we can’t bring in a fresh crew of students every year.

As We, Montana! continues to evolve, we recognize that it might be possible at some point in the future to have a two-day band program. (And that would be at least three times better than a two-day program.) You may have noticed that even for Fall 2020, we are now breaking over into Tuesday mornings with two new courses being offered then. But for band, we’d need to get into a position where the classes were at least two days apart, if not three. (For example: Monday/Wednesday or Monday/Thursday.) Obviously, fewer families would likely be interested in a two-day schedule, as it is more demanding schedule-wise, but if we’re ever going to offer band again, we want to “do it right”. And when the standard school band program out there runs five days a week, two days looks a lot better than one day–and three days looks even better! So obviously, we’re not quite ready for that.

RECORDER BAND
We have a reasonable alternative in mind, and have just this morning begun to float the idea of starting a Recorder Band on Monday mornings. And this may “kill two birds with one stone”. Since the recorder is much easier to learn than most other instruments, a once-a-week course would be much more effective in one academic year than would Beginning Band. Further, since everyone would be playing the same instrument (the recorder), much less class time would be spent singling out individual sections during rehearsal.

The “other bird” a Recorder Band would address is the need for all our chorus members to learn to read music. We simply don’t have the time in chorus to learn it, but it’s really not all that hard to do, and Recorder Band would be a great setting for doing that. And when a chorus all know how to read music, their rehearsals are much more efficient, because they’re no longer teaching notes in rehearsal.

Another benefit is that where Beginning Band starts at 10 years old, Recorder Band starts at 9. So, we’re excited to have more offerings for those younger students. And just as Beginning Band was open to parents who want to dust off their old horns, or to start fresh, Recorder Band will be open to parents as well.

It remains to be seen how well-received the Recorder Band will be, but we hope it proves to be very popular, because it is certainly needed. Some students have some piano lessons under their belts, which means they’ve been learning to read music. And while piano lessons are a fantastic pursuit, learning to read music for singing is less demanding still. So we hope that the Recorder Band will be a crowded class.

What if you already play recorder and want to join? Well, it’s up to you whether you’d be bored with it or whether you could be patient as we start from the beginning. It’s a two-semester class, so it lasts a full academic year. And by that time, we’ll have some students with a solid grasp of the recorder, and some others who have become more virtuosic with it. So don’t be surprised if recorder solos start popping up in some of our choral pieces–or even if we put together an occasional multi-part recorder ensemble to play a piece now and then in a Christmas concert, for example.

If you’re interested in Recorder Band, please do let me know ASAP as I’m right in the middle of wrangling the Fall schedule into shape.

And before I close this post, let me say again how regrettable it is that we couldn’t move forward with band. It was great fun, and it’s a shame to shut it down.

Great Room Meeting. 26 April

Here’s an audio recording of today’s meeting about the future of the Great Room classes. You’ll have to sign up for a free account at buzzsprout to hear it. Sorry about that, but the file is too large to host at our website or on Facebook.

https://www.buzzsprout.com/1044103/episodes/3518002

Important Meeting: Sunday 4/26 at 3:00

In these difficult social/political/economic times, the future of the Great Room is in doubt. I’m calling a meeting, therefore, for all parents and students who would like to discuss what it will take to move forward. If there is a way to keep going, it’ll likely be figured out on Sunday, so if you’d like to be involved, please find a way to attend. Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of playing wait-and-see through the summer, so now is the time to be proactive.

The meeting is at 3:00 p.m. in the Great Room, this coming Sunday, April 26.

I have sent out a notice about this post through the Remind app. Please do let me know in advance if you plan to come.

Thanks!

Jack

Friday Night Painting Party!

This Friday, 21 February
4:00 until 9:00 p.m. or until it’s done, whichever comes first.

I’m having a painting party Friday afternoon/evening. Here’s what that looks like. It looks like me painting, along with whatever other qualified help shows up. Meanwhile, whatever OTHER people show up are having fun playing games and eating whatever snacks they brought! (I’ll supply popcorn and water bottles.)

I could use as many as 4 or 5 OK painters. We’re painting the interior of the bay door green. We’re also painting mortar lines on the brown closet walls. These are almost certainly not tasks for folks under 12 years old—and maybe not every 12-year-old is up to this, either—but probably a lot would be at that age.

So please do let me know if you can come, just so I’ll know what to expect. It’ll go a LOT faster if I have help. And even if I don’t have lots of help, it’ll be a lot more fun to paint during a party than all by myself in the Great Room!

New Communications App Now in Use!

Parents, to increase our efficiency and effectiveness in communication, we’ve just set up ten new “classes” in the “Remind” app. We need all parents with smart phones to go get the app and to register for those classes that pertain to them and/or their students. You’ll find our school listed under “We, Montana!”. You can download the app here.

For most new posts we make here, we’ll send out the appropriate notifications on the Remind app so that you’ll be informed immediately of things that pertain to you. So please go take a few minutes to look through the ten “class” options there—one of which is for “Weather Closures”, by the way.

Beginning Band Parents Meeting

Parents,
I just posted the following on the Facebook group for Beginning Band—and I think that most of you are in that group. If you are, would you please join the discussion there? And if you’re not, would you please message me through this website’s contact page to let me know when you can meet? Here’s the Facebook discussion.

Thanks!
————————————————

Parents– I’d like to have a brief meeting sometime soon for parents of those in Beginning Band. It seems that the group is plateau-ing somewhat, and I think it would be good to get together to discuss it. (Since we’re trying to do in one day what public schools do in a 5-day program, we’re going to have to work a little smarter and harder, it seems, if we want to get similar results.) So could we please have a discussion below about when we could get together for such a meeting? Let me kick it off this way–with a proposed date for starters—and if that doesn’t work out, we’ll figure it out from there. How about from 9-10 a.m. on this coming Saturday morning, February 15th?

Chorus Field Trip! Class Schedule Slightly Altered for February 3rd

I’ve been talking for months about how nice it would be to have better acoustics in the Great Room. Well, now we’re going to go on a field trip so you all can see for yourselves what I’m talking about!

On Monday, 3 February, the chorus will have its rehearsal not in the Great Room, but at St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral in downtown Billings. Please read the following details very carefully:

SPECIAL REHEARSAL DATE / LOCATION
Monday, February 3
12:10 p.m. to 1:30
LOCATION: St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral (See Directions)

IMPACT ON OTHER CLASSES (Only the two classes listed below are impacted. General Music, Beginning Band, and Skits Workshop will meet as usual.

Public Speaking Workshop. This course normally meets from 10:25 to 11:40. For this special day, it will end 10 minutes early, at 11:30.

Etiquette Class. This class usually meets from 1:50 to 2:45. For this special day only, Etiquette will start 10 minutes late (2:00) and will end at the regular time of 2:45.

GREAT ROOM CLOSING FOR THE FIELD TRIP
For this, the Great Room will close promptly at 11:35 (right after Public Speaking). It will open again at 1:50 (ten minutes before the delayed start of Etiquette at 2:00.

NEED A RIDE?
We realize that some of the students who spend a lot of the day at the Great Room may need a ride to St. Patrick’s and back again. Whether they’re in chorus or not, we’ll be happy to try to find rides for them to go with us both ways. I’ll start a discussion about this on the Facebook page for the chorus. (See it here.)

THANKS!
Thank you, Bethany Elkin for arranging this with St. Patrick’s! I would not have gotten to it this early if left to my own devices. You’re such a champ for getting this done!

Parents’ Meeting Tomorrow!

This is a reminder about the mandatory parents’ meeting tomorrow night:

Parents’ Meeting
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Great Room
5055 Jellison Road

In a perfect world, we could get EVERYBODY here at once—both parents, along with the older students. But if only one parent can come, we completely understand. Also, some of your students are of the age where they either are or should be starting to “take ownership” in their own schooling, as well as in our classes/programs here. So we encourage them to come, too. What’s the right age for that? Well, we’ll leave that to your judgment. Meanwhile, if there’s a way to leave most of the more-restless younger ones at home, that would be great—but we fully expect that at least of few will need to bring them, and that’s just fine!

We will begin and end promptly, so we really hope everyone will get here a few minutes early. And then you can stay afterward as late as you like for further discussion.

Parents’ Meeting Postponed/Rescheduled

I apologize for the inconvenience, but a scheduling problem with work forces me to postpone the parents’ meeting that was scheduled for this Saturday morning, 11 January, from 9:00 to 10:30. My client in Havre scheduled more work than I could get done without delaying my return to Billings, and it’s just not practical to delay the work. The meeting will be postponed, then, to the following date and time:

Monday Night
20 January
7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

As a reminder, this crucial meeting will be aimed largely at improving communication with parents and at informing everyone of the particulars of the upcoming semester and of our progress toward incorporating and achieving federal tax-exempt status. In a perfect world, all parents could attend, but we’re hoping that at least the primary educator parent can attend. Further, we’d be glad to have particularly our older students in attendance. More and more of them are “taking ownership” in what we’re doing, and that’s exactly the mindset that we want to encourage.

This meeting pertains to all six courses on our current schedule. Please do RSVP via our Contact Page as soon as you can so that we know that word is getting out.

Mandatory Parents Orientation: Saturday, 11 January

As we continue to “sharpen the saw”, we’re adding for this Spring semester a mandatory parents’ orientation session on Saturday morning, 11 January, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Great Room.

This is for the parents of all enrolled students, across all our course offerings (or any thinking about enrolling). The goal is to explain briefly what each course is about, how it’s going, and what would make it better. We also want to iron out the communications/email process once and for all, as communication was spotty last Fall. Further, we want to be sure that parents have a good idea where We, Montana! is headed and how we plan to get there.

So please plan to attend this very important session. If both parents can come, that’s great. If only one can come, we really hope it’s the primary home educator. Your students are free to come with—and especially the older ones, as many of them are “taking ownership” more and more in what goes on here!

We, Montana! Classes to Remain Mondays-Only For Now

We had previously floated the idea of initiating some Tuesday courses in the Spring 2020 Semester. We have since decided, all things considered, not to pursue that expansion at this time, but to focus our attention more on the growth of the fledgling nonprofit corporation and the development of other projects that aren’t directly related to our Great Room classes.

We do hope to expand to a 2-day schedule sometime in the future, but it won’t be this Spring.

Meanwhile, Monday classes resume on 13 January.

New Public Speaking Workshop for Spring 2020

We’re making a shift in our Monday course slots for the Spring 2020 semester. Our Intermediate Band class has dropped below the attendance threshold, so we’re replacing it with a Public Speaking Workshop, which course was a big success when we ran it a year ago.

This course is capped at 12 students, with a minimum of 8. It’s for ages 12 to 18 years old. (Sorry, parents, but only kids are allowed in this one.)

Mondays from 10:25 to 11:40 a.m.
January 13 through April 27.

This is not a debate class. Nor does it involve speech writing. Rather, this course, is simply about learning to effectively use the voice and body to speak excellently-written material. It’s largely about getting enough public speaking experience to feel confident, and especially about some of the most basic of fundamentals, such as learning to speak loudly enough to be easily heard.

Students will learn a series of excerpts from famous works, and will work toward a semester-end recital. There’s a Code of Conduct so that everybody knows what sort of behaviors are expected of everyone. And even though we run a “tight ship” in this class, there’s a lot of humor! It’s one of the funnest classes you’ll ever take. And it’s also a really good starting point for those who might like to audition for the Skits Workshop next Fall.

There’s no audition for this course, but I do ask that we talk it through before signing anybody up. Believe it or not, we’ve had students sign up for classes of this sort, and then refuse to do anything in front of the workshop on day one. So entry into this class is only with teacher approval after a good talk with the parent and/or student.

To start the discussion about enrollment, please contact Jack Pelham here.

Adjusted Schedule for Monday Classes

Thank you all for the outpouring of prayers and sympathy on the occasion of my father’s death. I found out Sunday evening and promptly canceled Monday classes, expecting that we’d be flying immediately to Florida. But as it turns out, they decided to postpone the funeral until next Monday, December 1st, on account of this being a holiday week. So naturally, classes will be canceled for the 1st also.

These things happen, of course, and obviously, this makes quite a wreck of our semester-end events. So here’s plan going forward. If you’re all willing, on Monday, December 9, all classes will meet for a last class session for the semester. Then we’ll move the special events (bands, chorus, general music, and skits) into late January or early February—which will give us a chance to make up for lost rehearsals at the beginning of the next semester.

I want to begin the January semester on Monday the 13th. So I’ll figure out some exact dates and times in the next day or two and will post those.

Please let me know via email if your students can make it to class on December 9. (There may have been some confusion for each class regarding which Monday was supposed to be the last day of the semester.)

CLASS-SPECIFIC NOTES

Chorus. If you will please keep practicing at least a little through the end of the year, we should be in pretty good shape to pick it back up again on January 13 and to prepare for a concert in 3 or 4 more rehearsals. That, on top of a good rehearsal on December 9 will put us in good shape.

Skits. If you will keep working on memorization of your lines, and can come to class on 9 December, we’ll plan a for-family performance for February—AND a second performance of the same show, where we charge admission. It’ll be an experiment for us to see if we can figure out how to earn our own keep a little bit. I’d like to sell 100 seats at $5 each.

Beginning Band. If most of you can come to class on December 9, we’ll start learning the Mo’ Better Blues and have a legit concert in late January or early February.

Intermediate Band. We’ll learn Mo’ Better Blues, too, and will play along with the Beginning Band in the concert mentioned above. You can also do your solos then, and we’ll perform Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (and perhaps one of hte others) for the concert.

General Music. If you can come to class on the 9th, we’ll have lots of fun, and we’ll sing a couple of Christmas songs—and we’ll practice the Montana State Song so that you can sing it in the early-Spring concert along with the big chorus!

Parents. We still have a large number of parents (over 20) who are not getting our email notifications of new articles that are published (like this one). This presents a considerable difficulty for us, as it’s hard to figure out who is not getting notified. Would you please go be sure you’re signed up to get the notifications, and that they’re actually WORKING? And if you think they’re not working, we really need you to check your spam/junk filter to see if they’re in there. If we can’t communicate with you reliably, it makes it very difficult to navigate the semester—and especially the concert season.
To be super-clear, we don’t just need for YOU to be satisfied that you’re getting our messages; we need you to tell US you are. And if you forget to do it, then we think you’re not, so we have to look for a way to contact you separately to find out. So please take a few minutes to let us know your status.
You can sign up for notifications (the first time) here. And you can edit your preferences here.
Oh, and please be sure you’re signed up for notifications for EVERY class your kids are taking—as well as for the Weather Closure category, and things like Movie Night and Talent Show (if you want those). The more we can be sure that everybody gets the posts they need, the easier life is for us all!

Homeschool Talent Show and Christmas Party. It’s still on for Monday, December 16! It’s not too late to sign up an act. Just contact me!

Movie Night. Movie Night is still on for Friday, December 20! We’re showing White Christmas. If you don’t already have plans for that night, please come join us and have some Christmas fun.

Classes Canceled for Monday 25 November

As many of you know, my Dad has been hanging on for many months now. I just got word, however, that he has finally breathed his last. So Kay and James and I will be heading to Florida for a few days, starting tomorrow, if possible. This means all our classes for tomorrow will be canceled.

It probably also has implications for our upcoming concerts, but I’ll wait a little bit before making those decisions, and will get back to you shortly about all that.

Jack

Quick Response Request for New Tuesday Courses

Parents, we published some possible Tuesday courses (for Spring) a couple of days ago, but so far, have heard very little. We know it’s late notice, and we apologize for that—but at the same time, if we’re going to move forward with any of it, we need to know sooner than later what enrollment to expect.

Please contact Jack Pelham ASAP, and by Wednesday, 27 November at the latest to express your interest in any of these classes. Please indicate the courses and the number of students for each. Otherwise, rather than trying to campaign until the beginning of next semester, we will simply withdraw the offer and keep our Mondays-only schedule for the remainder of this current school year.

Thanks!

Talent Show & Christmas Party–16 December!

It’s time for our second mostly-monthly Homeschool Talent Show! This is not an auditioned show; see below for how to sign up an act. Several members of our Skits Workshop will be emceeing the event. We have a few acts signed up so far and will take as many as 20. Here are some examples of what we hope to see:

  • Singing (with or without accompaniment)
  • Instrumental music (with or without accompaniment)
  • Skits
  • Jokes
  • Readings
  • Demonstrations (such as martial arts, for example)
  • Juggling or similar feats of skill
  • Parent acts (because parents can be cool like that, too!)

This is a “Little Show”, which means it will be held in our Great Room, and will not require an audition. If you’d like to enter an act, contact us quickly as we have room for 20 total acts, and many of the slots are taken already.

DETAILS

Date
Monday 16 December 2019

Time
7:00-9:00 p.m.
(Those in an act should arrive at 6:30 for a brief orientation.)

Location
The event will be held in the We, Montana! Great Room. If this is your first time coming, please plan to be a little early, as we will start the orientation promptly at 6:30 and the show promptly at 7:00.

Who may do an act?
Homeschool students and/or family members are eligible to participate. While we expect lots of students in solo acts, parents are also encouraged to get involved, whether doing a solo act or one with your family.



Dress
If you’ll be in an act, we ask that you dress a little fancier than you probably do ordinarily.

Seating
We have seating for 76 people and room for about 24 more than that. It would be a good idea to bring your own camp chairs or folding chairs in case we run out.

Technical
We have for your use:

  • A small stage, 12′ wide by 8′ deep.
  • A digital piano with keyboard amp.
  • An 8-channel PA system with three mics, a straight stand, and one boom stand.
  • One monitor speaker and two mains.

PARTY
We’ll provide bottled water and paper goods. You bring whatever snacks you’d like to share after the show. Also bring whatever games you might like to play. And, of course, there will be Foosball. Stay as long as you like; the party’s over when the good conversations run out!

No, We’re not Crazy!
We know it’s Christmas time, and we’re sure that not everybody can make it, but we thought we’d put together an event for whomever happens to be available that night and is interested in having some fun. If you can’t come, we hope you have fun doing whatever it is you do instead of coming to our event!

CONTACT
To submit an act, please contact Jack Pelham.

Upcoming Performances: Band, Chorus, Skits, (& General Music?)

Our semester-ending performances are quickly approaching. All events are in our Great Room. Here’s the schedule. And please note the invitation to the General Music class to sing three numbers for our Chorus concert!

Bands Family Night
Monday, 2 December, 2019. 7:00 PM
(Students arrive by 6:45 at the latest.)

This fun night will not be a typical “concert”, but a “family night” where the students’ families are invited to come see us in action in a rehearsal that’s quite close (in many ways) to our weekly routine. We want you to come see what the band experience is like so that you can better understand the process and the needs of the program. In particular, so that you can see what skills are needed to do well in band, and how crucial at-home practice is for keeping up in band class. We also want you to see just how much humor goes on, and how well we’re able to keep the rehearsals disciplined and orderly at the same time. Further, your younger kids—if they haven’t seen it already—can see what goes on, and can ponder whether they’d like to be in band someday, too.

Band members are encouraged to arrive at least 15 minutes early to find their places and to warm up. We’ll have seating for about 50 (in addition to the band members, who get dibs on the blue chairs). Please put some camp chairs in the car in case the crowd exceeds the available seating equipment!

Dress Code: While we had originally envisioned a typical concert with an all-black dress code, please note that this event calls for normal, everyday wear, such as students wear to class on a typical Monday.

SNACKS! Please bring snacks. (Paper goods and bottled water will be provided.) We’ll have snacks and visit afterward, and the foosball table will be open for play.

Chorus Concert (With a segment by the General Music Class?)
Tuesday, 3 December, 2019. 7:00 PM

(Chorus students arrive at 5:30, GM students at 6:30. House opens to the public at 6:30.)

General Music Segment. While it was not part of our original semester plan, we’d like to invite as many of the General Music Class students as are willing and available to take part in our chorus concert. You’ll open the show, singing three or four numbers that we’ve been singing in class, and maybe showing off some of your Solfege skills (Do-Re-Mi). We want your families to see what all you do in class, but we also want to give you the performance experience. So, parents, please let Mr. Pelham know in class on Monday whether your students are available to participate. GM students should arrive when the house opens to the public at 6:30. Dress is casual—whatever you would normally wear to GM class.

Chorus Segment. The chorus will perform a concert of some of the pieces we are preparing for a grand event next Spring. Chorus members should arrive at 5:30 for a warmup and final run-through. The house opens to the public at 6:30, and the concert begins promptly at 7:00.

SEATING. We’ll have about 75 seats available to the audience. Please toss a camp chair or two in the car in case that’s not enough!

CHORUS DRESS CODE
As of Fall 2019, we have a dress code for our concerts, because we are cool like that! All chorus members are expected to dress in all black as follows:
Boys/Men: Black slacks. Black belt and black shoes. Black long-sleeve, button-down shirts.
Girls/Women: Black bottoms of modest length, whether slacks, skirts, or dresses. Modest black tops, long or short sleeve. Sequins or other sparklies are OK, provided they do not change the color from the basic black look. NOTE: Ballroom gowns are too fancy for this event, and would stick out. Meanwhile, cowboy boots and hats with all black are too un-fancy, and would stick out in the opposite way!

SNACKS! Please bring snacks. (Paper goods and bottled water will be provided.) We’ll have snacks and visit afterward, and the foosball table will be open for play.

Skits Night! Monday, 9 December 2019, 7:30-9:00 PM.
(Cast and Crew to arrive at 6:00 PM. House opens to the public at 7:00.)

This could quite possibly be the funnest teen performance you’ve ever seen. We have a troupe of 11, counting, cast, crew, director, and stage manager. We’re running lots of original material, with some moments borrowed from classic show biz. So prepare yourselves for a witty and hilarious experience as we make our debut performance!

SEATING. We’ll have seating for about 75, with room for another 30-or-so camp chairs. So please put a couple of camp chairs in your car in case we run out of seats.

SNACKS! Please bring snacks. (Paper goods and bottled water will be provided.) We’ll have snacks and visit afterward, and the foosball table will be open for play.

CAST DRESS CODE
For this event, the entire cast will dress in all black as follows:
Men: Black slacks. Black belt and black shoes. Black long-sleeve, button-down shirts.
Women: Black slacks. Modest black tops, with long sleeves being preferable to short. Please avoid sequins or other sparklies.

We Have a New Web Host!

Please send us an email to let us know you got the notification for this post! jackpelham@wemontana.org

I apologize for all the email troubles of late—and the website being up and down. Can you say “Cheap hosting company?”

Well, I’m glad to report that wemontana.org is now hosted by Zee Creative of Billings, MT, where we know by experience that the site will run with high reliability—as will the emails.

For those who are subscribed to our various post categories, we hope you’ll start getting emails that were previously being blocked by your email or Internet providers—but it remains to be seen just how it will work in each case.

Would you please take a moment and send an email confirming that you received the email notification for this post? That will help us to know how well it’s working.

Thanks!

Jack

Talent Show: October 11th!

We’re finally ready to have our first talent show! Several members of our Skits Workshop will be emceeing the event. We have several acts signed up so far and could use a few more. Here are some examples of what we hope to see:

  • Singing (with or without accompaniment)
  • Instrumental music (with or without accompaniment)
  • Skits
  • Jokes
  • Readings
  • Demonstrations (such as martial arts, for example)
  • Juggling or similar feats of skill

This is a “Little Show”, which means it will be held in our Great Room, and will not require an audition. If you’d like to enter an act, contact us quickly as we have room for 20 total acts, and many of the slots are taken already.

DETAILS

Date
Friday, October 11, 2019

Time
7:00-9:00 p.m.
(Those in an act should arrive at 6:30 for a brief orientation.)

Location
The event will be held in the We, Montana! Great Room. If this is your first time coming, please plan to be a little early, as we will start the orientation promptly at 6:30 and the show promptly at 7:00.

Who may do an act?
Homeschool students and/or family members are eligible to participate. While we expect lots of students in solo acts, parents are also encouraged to get involved, whether doing a solo act or one with your family.

Snacks
We’ll provide bottled water. You bring whatever snacks you’d like to eat after the show.

Dress
If you’ll be in an act, we ask that you dress a little fancier than you probably do ordinarily.

Seating
We have seating for 76 people and room for about 24 more than that. It would be a good idea to bring your own camp chairs or folding chairs in case we run out.

Technical
We have for your use:

  • A small stage
  • A digital piano
  • A PA system with one microphone and a mic stand with a boom.

CONTACT
To submit an act, please contact Jack Pelham.

Week 1 in Review!

We had a great start to our semester this week. Here’s a brief review of every class.

OVERALL
We now have over 80 participants, many of which are new to me. So, the day was something of a blur to me with so many new faces yet to be learned and names memorized. Things seemed to go fairly smoothly, although I learned that I simply must have a countdown timer on the wall, so that I can have a constant on how much time is left in each class. (Guess what Amazon is delivering tomorrow!)

Continue reading Week 1 in Review!

Classes Start Tomorrow!

Classes start tomorrow, Monday, September 9. Please be diligent to come early so that we don’t have any disruptions from people coming in late. We work very hard to start and end strictly on time, and we hope that everyone will adopt that same habit.

Location
In case this is your first visit to the Great Room, here are the directions.

And here’s the schedule:

Continue reading Classes Start Tomorrow!

IMPORTANT! Parents Please Contact Us!

Parents,

We know that many of you have signed up for our email notifications, but we do not have confirmation that you are receiving them. Please take a moment right now to send us a message through our Contact Page. You can just put “Got it!” in the Subject line, and we’ll know that you are receiving these messages.

Please don’t put it off! We’re going to try to make time to contact everybody we haven’t heard back from come Wednesday, so we’re hoping that everyone has done this by then at the very latest.

Thanks!

Jack

Last Chance to Register!

September 9 is our first day of class, so we need all those last-minute registrations to come on in in these next couple of days–so that we can be prepared for everyone come Monday.

Here is our course information. We currently have 80 enrolled, and we think there are a few more who intend to enroll, but have not.

Please contact Jack Pelham ASAP if you intend to register, or if you have questions.

Tuition Donations Pushed Back to October

Parents,

Please be advised that our suggested donations for enrollment will not be collected until October. We have decided to wait until we are formally incorporated; this makes the accounting much simpler. So we’ll still have the $30 per-student-per-class-per-semester suggested donation, but we won’t collected it until sometime in October.

We’ll make an announcement well in advance so that you’ll have time to prepare.

Jack

All Set for a Great Fall Semester!

I’ve been preparing since our Spring Concert for September 9th, and it’s now upon us! Our total enrollment is just over 80 at this eleventh hour, and we have nearly 120 total registrations, meaning that some of those 80+ people are taking more than one course. We’re up to six total courses offered, as opposed to five in the Spring Semester this year.

Continue reading All Set for a Great Fall Semester!

Students Encouraged to Get Email Notifications

Dear Parents,

With the busy semester fast approaching, and with our total enrollment breaking 80 as of yesterday, I am reminded of the many benefits of excellent communication. I’d like you to consider having your students sign up for our email notifications for those categories of announcements that concern them. This can help reduce the likelihood that our announcements are missed altogether by a family, and can also increase the student’s overall habits of taking responsibility for his or her own learning and involvement. Obviously, this may not be the best strategy for our youngest students (at 6 years old), but many of them may be ready as early as 9 or 10. Naturally, you can decide what you think is best.

What I have in mind most specifically are reminder announcements for assignments, or announcements that announce new assignments not made in class. For example, an announcement might call for the Chorus to be ready to rehearse a certain number, or the Etiquette Class might be reminded to memorize a short poem. And further, we have at least six students this semester who are taking on teacher-assistant roles in the various courses, and it would be particularly good to have them well informed.

Thanks for your consideration! It’s going to be a great semester.

Jack Pelham

Auditions / Open House This Saturday, 24 August

The Great Room will be open once again for general meeting and greeting and question answering, as well as for auditions for chorus (pitch matching), intermediate band, and the skits workshop. Time is running short, so let’s get these auditions wrapped up ASAP!

9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the Great Room. Please let us know if you plan to come.

Open House This Saturday! (17 August)

From 9-11 a.m. this Saturday (August 17, 2019), I’ll be meeting and greeting and taking auditions for Chorus (pitch-matching), Intermediate Band, and the Skits Workshop (now for ages 10 to 18). If you are new to our program (regardless of the courses you’re taking) and would like to come by just to see the Great Room, or to be sure you know how to get there, this would be a great time. For those students who acclimate slowly to new places, it might be a useful visit.

Directions to the We, Montana! Great Room.

Open House / Auditions : This Saturday

As it turns out, I’ll be available for another open house and audition session this Saturday, 10 August, from 9-11 a.m. During this time, I’ll be available to:

  • Hear Choral (pitch-matching) auditions
  • Hear Intermediate Band auditions
  • Hear Skits Workshop auditions
  • Meet and Greet and answer all your questions about We, Montana!

If you intend to come, please do let us know.

We, Montana! Audition/Enrollment Status

What’s YOUR thing? We have chorus, band, general music, etiquette, and skits. Register now!

So far, our numbers are lower than we have had reason to expect, so we’re guessing that there are still some parents either uncertain about their Fall schedules, or who haven’t gotten around to registering or scheduling auditions yet. So I thought I’d publish our current enrollment for your general information, and in hopes of prompting those who have yet to get signed up to do it sooner than later. Indeed, time is running short!

Continue reading We, Montana! Audition/Enrollment Status

New Automated Registration Process!

We’re now taking registrations through Google Forms. (Thanks, Jennifer Crow, for the suggestion!). Each course detail page now has a link to the new registration page. Now you can register each enrollee for multiple courses at once, rather than having to fill out a separate form for each.

Meanwhile, you can still download the Code of Conduct forms as before form each course description page. These can be printed, studied, signed, and submitted on the first day of class.

Website and Email Troubles

For the past couple of weeks, our web services have been intermittent. It’s up and running at the moment, but may well crash shortly, so I thought I’d send out this email while I can.

As soon as it seems to have been (really) resolved, I’ll send out another email to let you know.

Meanwhile, be advised that I have received several registrations through email in these past days, but I can’t respond to those emails when the system is down. No worries, though; I expect it to be resolved perhaps as early as tomorrow.

Thanks for your patience.

Jack

PARENTS: Need Your Help!

Hey, We, Montana! parents—-I need your help! As you know, we are taking an aggressive step forward for the Fall, so it’s forcing me to work both harder and smarter–as they say. If you’re willing, you can help make this easier for me in what may be a surprisingly simple way. It’s about communication. Please take a few minutes to read the following.

Continue reading PARENTS: Need Your Help!