Two Bitterroot Valley school choir recorded “Celebrate America Across Montana” for Montana Public Television and will be on television and online streaming worldwide at 7 p.m. on March 8.
Hamilton High School and Corvallis High School choirs joined composer/producer Tim Janis and 11 other Montana high school choirs for KUSM-TV in Bozeman and KUFM-TV in Missoula for Tim Janis’ 7th “Celebrate America Across Montana” PBS Special.
The local choir students joined over 42,000 young performers who have participated in this unique public television project.
“’Celebrate America’ is a national program designed to give our nation’s youth a life enhancing opportunity by showcasing their choirs on Public Television,” Janis said. “Contributing to community through the arts has always been a big part of Public Television’s contribution to the community,”
The production and filming of this event is made possible through both the hard work and dedication of Montana PBS, music educators and Janis.
"As I have come back to Montana for the seventh time with ‘Celebrate America’ I am once again inspired by the incredible talent and commitment of both the music students and music educators,” Janis said. “I also have to add that Montana PBS is extremely dedicated to the community it serves – and that, along with its members, makes this wonderful opportunity available.”
The choirs were selected last fall and were recorded in January at the KUSM Montana PBS studio in Bozeman.
Erika Matsuda of Montana PBS said the recording session was productive, fun and professional. “It was terrific having 13 different high schools visit and record live in the studio over two days with Tim Janis,” Matsuda said. “All of us at Montana PBS were honored to have so many young, talented musicians share their voices with us.”
Hamilton High School elected to perform Alice Parker’s popular arrangement of “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal” under the direction of Peggy Bucheit. The Hamilton High School Choir also performed with Tim Janis twice in New York’s Carnegie Hall.
Corvallis High School under the direction of Nancy Brown, sang “Amazing Grace.”
Brown said one of the most exciting things for Corvallis students was for her students to actually be in a television studio and showcase their musical talents and abilities.
“We feel ‘Celebrate America’ is an inspiration for us and helps to build community within the state of Montana,” Brown said. “We not only get a live television studio experience but also are able to bond as a choir in a performance venue. Our community can be proud of Corvallis students and how they represented themselves, the school, and the Bitterroot Valley in general.”
Corvallis student Michaela Allred said it was an “awesome experience.”
“I am excited to see the final product, as well as hear the other schools who came together for this event,” she said.
Corvallis student Olivia Fehr said she also enjoyed the bus trip and viewed it as a bonding experience.
“It helped us to get to know each other better, prepare for the taping, and work as a group for a unified purpose,” Fehr said. “It was a cool experience to meet and work with Tim Janis is a live studio situation.”
According to a press release, Janis is known for the work he defines as “Music of Hope” and “includes include producing and supporting many philanthropic projects with artists such as Sir Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, Andre Previn, and The New York Philharmonic. He has also produced fund raising programs for PBS along with George Clooney and James Earl Jones; and 12 annual Carnegie Hall benefit Christmas concerts for causes such as Kate Winslet’s Golden Hat Foundation which helps those living with Autism and Sarah McLachlan’s School of Music for youth and seniors that face barriers in their access to music education.”
Other featured choirs in the Montana program include Anaconda High School singing “Garten Mothers Lullaby,” Big Fork High School singing “Be Thou My Vision,” Choteau High School singing “Move Mountains,” Frenchtown High School singing “The Storm is Passing Over,” Great Falls Central Catholic High School singing “We Shall Overcome,” Hardin High School singing “Shenandoah,” Manhattan High School singing “Prayer of the Children,” Mount Ellis Academy singing “On Eagles Wings,” Powell High School singing “America the Beautiful,” Power High School singing “In the Bleak Midwinter,” and Sacajawea Middle School singing “Bugle Boy.”
“Public Television is an invaluable resource for staying connected to local programs and the community,” Janis said. “Montana PBS programming helps to bring the community together.”
Montana PBS air dates of the “Celebrate America Across Montana” production are 6:59 p.m. Thursday March 8, 12:30 a.m. Saturday March 10, 5:30 p.m. on Sunday March 11 and 10:30 a.m. on Friday March 16. The program can also be seen online at www.montanapbs.org/CelebrateAmericaAcrossMontana/.
During the broadcast, the choir that inspires the most PBS memberships or pledges will receive a prize. DVDs and CDs of the broadcast will be offered as pledge gifts during the broadcast.