Category Archives: Uncategorized

We, Montana! Hoping for a Donated Used Computer

We are sorely in need of a donated, used computer. We need a PC (not an Apple product) that still boots up. It doesn’t matter how well it runs, because we will wipe the computer of all its files and install a new operating system. We could use an entire desktop setup, or just the tower itself, if that’s all you have. (We could make use of laptops, too, but desktops are easier.)

Thanks to the programming know-how of James Pelham, our technical director, we’ve been fast on the trail of computerizing the controls for our performances (skits, public speaking, and our choral ensembles). This involves how we control stage lighting, classroom lighting, special lighting effects, sound effects, accompaniment tracks and other audio sources, video, and other various effects. James has been quietly writing programs to handle it all, and we’re well on our way to being to build a show in the Great Room, and then take it on the road (to a larger venue) for the final performances–and to have it be so easy to run the technical side that practically anybody could do it.

If you have a desktop computer that’s not in use, and that still boots up (every time), we could make great use of this. If you need help to copy all your files to a thumb drive, we’d be happy to help with that, so that you can load any of it you want onto some other computer.

If you have one to donate–or would like to discuss it, please contact Jack Pelham by clicking here.

Semester-Ending Party. Tuesday 14 December at 6:30pm

We’ve been talking about it for weeks, but I wanted to make sure everybody has gotten the word. We’ve had a great semester throughout our classes and performance groups, and we’re going to have a big party to celebrate it.

LOCATION: Great Room, 5055 Jellison Road, Unit 7C
DATE: Tuesday, December 14
TIME: 6:30pm until whenever
FOOD: Bring your best snacks, and we’ll also have some cake and pie here, too (There was a lot left over from the Skitworks show last night.
BEVERAGES: Would some of you volunteer to bring drinks instead? Punch, and bottled water would be good. We also have a coffee maker and an electric tea pot.


  • Generally enjoy each other’s company.
  • Play foosball or other small-group games—as you like.
  • There’ll be some karaoke, but we don’t do this throughout—so it won’t all be mayhem!
  • Those performers (skits and choruses) who haven’t yet signed the brick wall can sign.
  • Eat up all the snacks in the Great Room refrigerator.

How to RSVP

Would you please just write back to me on Remind, letting me know the following:

  1. Whether you can come.
  2. How many you’ll have altogether.
  3. If you intend to bring beverages, what are you bringing?

I’ll try to keep track of it so that we’re sure to have a good mix of things to drink.

I hope you all can come!

Caroling at Holiday Stroll, 3 December

We weren’t able to get enough singers to make this event work as envisioned. Maybe next year!

I was contacted by the Downtown Billings Alliance, who invited us to sing Christmas carols from 5-8pm on December 3 this year. They want us to split up and wander the streets (in the area of Broadway/Skypointe), but I’ve asked whether we could all stand together and sing–as we’ll do in our upcoming big concerts. They’re checking on that, and will get back to me ASAP. Meanwhile, I need to check your interest and availability for such an event.

Assuming they let us sing altogether, this should be pretty fun. We’d sing our set of 6 songs and then we’d take a break—and we’d repeat this a few times over the 3 hours. So you’d also have time to go strolling/shopping in between if you like. It would also give us some good practice singing altogether, AND we could hand out handbills about our show, and maybe recruit some new singers.

You would wear whatever you want—especially since it may be cold, and you’d be bundled up in coats anyway. If we can get enough singers—and if they say OK to us singing all together, then we’ll do it!

Would you please go ASAP and take this very short availability survey at Google forms?


This Week at the Great Room

As always, there’s a lot going on at We, Montana!.  Here are the highlights of the week.

HAM Radio Class and Certification.  We’re now polling interest in a 4-hour HAM Radio class session, with a veteran HAM operator on-site to answer questions.  Recommended for ages 10 and up (though some of gotten certified as young as 8!)  The 4-hour class is to be followed up by 1 hour of study each day, with a test session included the following week.  The course would be free (though we’re always thankful to receive your donations), and the fee for the test is $15.  If you pass, you’ll get a “Technician” license and will be qualified to use HAM radio!  Radios are really inexpensive these days (starting at $20 or so), so this is a great time to learn something that could really be super-useful in an emergency someday.  Please take a minute and put yourself on the Google Form here:

Introduction to Reality-Based Thinking.  This class has been going well since we started the semester on September 13.  This week, we played a few investigator-type games aimed at learning how to formulate and manage good questions when trying to figure out a scenario.  Previously, we’ve studied and discussed several topics, including one of my personal favorites:  Self-Breaking Rules (rules that break themselves with use, such as, “Never tell anybody else what to do!”)

Introduction to the US Constitution.  After a thorough introduction in the opening weeks of the semester, we’ve not just completed Article I (Legislative Branch), and will be moving on Article II (Executive Branch) next week.  We’re going through line by line, explaining the vocabulary and the interpreting the archaic language as we go.  Now that we’ve got the particulars of Article I under our belts, we have more to talk about regarding whether the government has violated the Constitution. 

Homeschool Glee Club.  Among other things, our 25-or-so members have been rehearsing three classic American songs (My Bonnie, Four-Leaf Clover, and Bicycle Built for Two), along with some parody verses for each.  This week, we began work on a new upbeat Christmas song that we’ll perform (with Sing, Montana! Freedom Choir singing backup for us!) in our December 13th and December 14th concerts.  Tickets now on sale here:

Skitworks Beginning Skits Workshop.  This is our first semester of this non-auditioned class and it’s going very well.  Its 15-or-so members are “learning the ropes” of theater as they work up a series of short skits.  They’ll be performing along with the Skitworks Performance Troupe in our Skitworks Comedy Show on December 9th and December 10th.  This is a very clever and funny show—well rehearsed.  Seating is limited, so buy your tickets now!

Sing, Montana Freedom Choir.  This mixed choral group (SATB) is for ages 13 through retirement, and is working hard on its upcoming concert:  Montana Christmas!  The show will include a few non-Christmas songs from both our choral ensembles: Freedom Choir and our Homeschool Glee Club.  Then we’ll get into the Christmas portion of the show, which will include a set of three original Christmas Sea Shanties (by Jack Pelham), and a mass choir performance of an original toe-tapper, “Christmas, Christmastime”.  After that, we’ll end the show with 5 or 6 Christmas favorites in an audience singalong.  Freedom Choir is currently accepting new members.  You can learn more about us a .

Orientation for Fall 2021 (Audio Recording)

We’ve canceled our orientation meeting for Sunday 12 September, and I’m publishing this audio message in its place. It’s just over 30 minutes, so it should save a lot of travel time for you. Please do listen to it before class starts on Monday, and your students should probably listen to it, too.

Please let me know if you have any trouble playing the audio. I’m not sure how well it’s going to work with a lot of people trying to listen over the same weekend.

Fall Orientation Audio–2021

Pre-Algebra: From Kid’s Stuff to the Good Stuff!

DESCRIPTION: A 2-semester course for middle-schoolers who have a good grasp on Arithmetic, and are preparing to move into Algebra.

Imagine a math class, taught by a young teacher who loves math, has a sense of humor, and who knows that the best answer to the question, “Why do we have to take Algebra I?” is not “So that you’ll be ready for Algebra II.” That’s what you’ll get in our new class, taught by James Pelham, 18 (assisted by Kay Pelham).

Not every society is great at everything, and the sad fact is that in our society, math is often taught by people who assume that kids will hate math, so they don’t try to present it as anything other than a drudgery that must simply be endured. But as it turns out, some grasp of math is not only necessary for math students in school, but for adults functioning in the real world. And most teachers understand that, of course–which is why math is a required subject.

What too few ever discover, however, is that math is a skill set and “mindware” that can help us to work some fascinating puzzles in this world, as well as to better understand how the world works in various ways. A good math education helps train the mind’s powers of analysis and problem-solving. When it’s taught well, math can be fun, fascinating, rewarding, and engaging—and it gives the well-rounded person an additional and useful perspective from which to better understand the world.

In Arithmetic, one learns how to count, add, subtract, multiply and divide. And in Algebra, one learns how to think about numbers and their uses in new ways. It’s not nearly as much about rote memorization as it is about understanding what all can be mathematically figured out based on the information we already have. In this course, James helps students to understand the basic strategies they will further develop in Algebra. So, we first make sure you have “the kid’s stuff” down, and we then help you start your journey into “the good stuff”!

Other Information

A Code of Conduct agreement is required for this course. This helps to ensure the positive environment in each class. This document is being updated and will be published this summer.

Tuesdays, 12:40 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The semester runs September 13, 2021 through December 6. (13 weeks)

The textbook for this course will be announced by August 1. We are weighing various options, and would love to hear if our enrollees have any preferences. Please contact us here to let us know.

You’ll need the following:

  • notebook with paper
  • pencils
  • 1/4″ grid graph paper (one pack)
  • 12″ ruler
  • calculator with exponents and root functions (Phone apps are fine.)

12 Maximum
5 Minimum

This course meets, as do all our courses, in the We, Montana! Great Room.

James Pelham, assisted by Kay Pelham

$100 for the full year. You may pay the whole $100 in advance, or $50 by September 1 and then $60 by the first day of class in January.


SKITS PERFORMANCE: May 6 & 7, 2021

At the We, Montana! Great Room. 5055 Jellison Road, Unit 7 C.


↓ ↓ ↓

We’ve been getting ready all semester, and now it’s almost show time! This semester’s final Skits performance is a witty joyride of a show, with something for everyone. Take a look at our program–which you can download (PDF) with a simple click just below!

Here are some fun shots from our shows over the last three years.

The Great Room seats 65 in general admission ($7 in advance, or $10 at the door), auditorium-styled seating (chairs and pews). Or you can reserve our exclusive booth for your party (of 1-4 people) for $50.

We think our family-friendly show is best suited for teens and adults, though kids as young as 6 or 7 would probably have a pretty good time!

We’re running the same show, two nights in a row. (Thursday, May 6, and Friday, May 7.) The house opens at 6:30 p.m., and the show’s at 7:00 p.m. It’ll be done by about 8:30.

When you purchase your tickets through PayPal below, please know that you don’t have to have a PayPal account. You can use your debit or credit card as you would for any other online purchase.

Tickets for Thursday, May 6th at 7:00 p.m.


Tickets for Friday, May 7th at 7:00 p.m.


In Search of Student Interns to Learn and Operate Sound and Lighting Equipment

As our program gets more and more sophisticated, we find ourselves in need of capable students to run our lighting and sound equipment. We’re offering a few FREE internships in hope of meeting this need. We’d like to have as many as four interns who could be trained by Jack and James Pelham during actual rehearsal times earlier in the day, and then to be available to run lights and sound during our Skits Workshop later in the afternoon, as well as at special events.


Ideally, we’d like two interns each for training during these rehearsal times:

Continue reading In Search of Student Interns to Learn and Operate Sound and Lighting Equipment

Coming Soon: Homeschool Glee Club!


Our first chorus (2018/2019 school year) was for ages 9 and up,
including parents–and was quite like our new Glee Club will be.

It’s been a crazy COVID year, but as soon as things calm down enough that sufficient numbers are ready to enroll, we’ll be starting a new choral ensemble, the Homeschool Glee Club! It’ll be much like our original chorus in the 2018/2019 school year. Here are the quick details:

Continue reading Coming Soon: Homeschool Glee Club!

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.

Chorus Auditions–Time is Running Out!

The start of the semester is fast approaching, and we really need to get the chorus enrollment squared away so that we know how many to expect, how much music to order, etc. I’ll have an open house this Saturday, August 3, from 9-11 a.m. (Skits Workshop Auditions are from 11 to 1 p.m., FYI). Anyone wanting to audition for chorus needs to let me know in advance, and we’ll do it during this open house time. I’ll also be hearing auditions for Intermediate Band during this time.

Please contact me to let me know you’re coming.

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.


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!