Category Archives: Recorder Band

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

MOVING AHEAD FOR FALL 2020!

WE’RE MOVING AHEAD WITH IN-PERSON CLASSES AND A REDUCED FEE STRUCTURE

We, Montana! understands that it’s hard to know how to proceed in these crazy times, so as part of our mission to facilitate homeschooling in the Billings area, we’re implementing a new pricing policy for Fall 2020, and we’re moving forward with in-person classes for those who are interested in getting out during COVID-19.

Continue reading MOVING AHEAD FOR FALL 2020!

Website Updated for Fall 2020!

Our Skits Workshop Summer Day Camp included a little painting time!

We’ve been very busy getting ready for the Fall, and there are many new things going on. I’ll start posting registration announcements all over social media today—and we sure could use your help to spread the word.

These are difficult times, to be sure, but we have high hopes that we can keep things going at the Great Room.  With all this in mind, then, a successful Summer recruiting push is crucial!

Meanwhile, here are some brief bullet points about what’s new this year:

Continue reading Website Updated for Fall 2020!

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.