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Big Sky Chorus celebrates nearly 7-decade Christmas tradition in Billings

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Posted at 6:44 PM, Dec 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-07 11:49:59-05

The Big Sky Chorus rehearsed at St. Bernard Catholic Church in the Heights on Tuesday night, getting ready for Chrismas performances.

There's quite a camaraderie among the singers and they have a real fun time as they approach Christmas.

"As long as we've got four parts, we can make four-part harmony," said Marty Clague, the chorus's director. "Acapella music in general has made a bit of a resurgence. My job as director means I need to need to keep the guys together."

The sweet sound comes from the bond these musicians enjoy during performances and practices.

"We like to swing together, but we joke around with each other," said Clint Kegel, the chorus's librarian and assistant director. "And you kind of catch up on what families are doing and how people are doing it. It's just... a big family and a lot of camaraderie here."

"It's heartwarming," said Kegel. "There's nothing better than to stand up and perform for somebody and see a smiling face out in the crowd."

The chorus is part of the Barbershop Harmony Society, which aims to preserve this type of music.

"It's a lot of fun for us because if you could lock one of those chords in and make it ring," Kegel said. "Boy, it makes the goosebumps come up. And audiences love it too."

Some years, 80 singers have made up Big Sky Chorus and on this night, about a dozen came to the rehearsal.

"I am really proud of what we do with a small group of guys," Clague said. "We've had several great performances here in the past couple months."

The Big Sky Chorus performances on Saturday, Dec. 9 at:

  • Yellowstone Country Club for Westside Rotary Club, 11:15 a.m.
  • West Park Senior Center, Noon
  • Billings Public Library, 2 p.m.
  • Town & Country Market, 3 p.m.

On Friday, Dec, 8, the group will be at the Billings Hotel & Convention Center for Exxon Mobile retirees.