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Billings choir stays together, ready for Christmas show

Freedom Choir.jpg
Posted at 10:45 PM, Nov 14, 2022

A group of talented Billings musicians has come together to create something special.

The Freedom Choir has been rehearsing at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, the last several weeks for its Christmas show.

It's been a bit of a challenge to keep members since COVID.

"A barbershop tag, fancy endings, just one of the coolest moments you'll hear the room ring," Jack Pelham, the choir's music director, said. "This is very good acoustics in this small hall (at St. Andrew). We love this place to rehearse."

The Freedom Choir is one of the groups under Sing Montana!, a nonprofit that started about four years ago from a group of homeschool students and parents. And now its director Jack Pelham says its looking to grow, aiming to double the amount of singers to 40.

"We have a lot of fun," Pelham said. "But it's very hard work and so we're looking for that kind of person who would love to get back in it and have another outlet again."

Pelham says it's been a challenge to keep a choir together since COVID.

"The pendulum was already swinging the wrong way for choirs," Pelham said. "Groups were dwindling. But then COVID really hammered a lot of groups."

But the one thing that freedom choir does not lack is talented musicians.

"And I just had to join them because they were so good, so alive and the perfect pitch" Susan Smith-Havener, Freedom Choir singer, said.

"It's just really amazing to come together and all of us get to sing," said Tess Kachik, Freedom Choir singer. "People who liked choir in school. And now as as adults, we get to enjoy that still."

For this group, it's always special, whether it's a rehearsal, or the upcoming performance at the Lincoln Center Auditorium on December 17.

"One of the greatest feelings that you can experience as a singer," said Smith-Havener.

"It's just such a joy to have all those parts come together and to be able to sing the music," Kachik said. "It is the music that brings us here."

"The last note of the song and I cut them off and I'm like, yes," Pelham said. "You know, that was really great. There's just nothing like that."