January 2023

BPS Fine Arts Department


M is for Music

Don't miss this great opportunity to see a Symphony performance FREE at the Alberta Bair Theater! M is for Music is especially written for elementary age students, but the whole family will enjoy the performance. Saturday, January 14th at 12:00 noon.
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Upcoming BPS Events:

  • Sat, Jan 14 - Sun, Feb 19 - BPS 5th Grade Art Show "Collective Conversations" - YAM
  • Saturday, Jan 14, 12:00pm - M is for Music - Billings Symphony - ABT
  • Thursday, Jan 19, 7:00pm - Senior High Orchestra Concert with Lewis & Clark 8th grade
  • Thursday, Jan 19 - Project Hip Hop Masterclasses - ABT
  • Friday, Jan 20, 9:30am & 12:30pm - Soul Street Dance @ ABT (6th grade show)
  • Thursday, Feb 2, 5:00-7:00pm - 5th Grade Art Show Reception - YAM
  • Fri-Sat, Feb 3-4 - Montana Thespian Festival - University of Montana
  • Saturday, Feb 4, 6:00pm - "Hearts for the Arts" event - Lincoln Center
  • Monday, Feb 6 - Treble Choir Festival - Laurel High School
  • Mon-Tues, Feb 6-7 - AA Orchestra Festival - West High School

Hearts for the Arts

This incredible event will showcase the artistic and musical talents of Billings Public Schools' Fine Arts staff. It is FREE and open to the public, but there will be art for sale and donations will be accepted. Bring the whole family and join us!

**The Concert Finale will feature a "Come one, Come all" CHOIR! All BPS employees are invited to sing. Fill out this form if you'd like to join us! Hearts for the Arts - Choir

  • No experience necessary, just a love for singing
  • You will receive music and part recordings by email - no memorization required
  • The only rehearsal will be Sat, Feb 4th from 2:30-4:00pm at Lincoln Center
  • Retired BPS music teacher & Fine Arts Coordinator, Scott Corey, will conduct
  • Sure! You can sign up your friend, spouse, significant other to join you :)
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Project Hip Hop

Project Hip Hop at Alberta Bair Theater in conjunction with eight Title One elementary schools in Billings and, originally, one elementary school in Laurel, was conceived in 2012 and implemented in 2013.

The Hip Hop program began with one elementary school and, because of its success, grew to many more. Students who participate must keep their grades up and commit to attending each Hip Hop class. Principals see an improvement in attitudes, temperament, and cooperation in students who participate. Students who previously may not have interacted begin encouraging each other, forming friendships.

Hip Hop classes start yearly in November with students meeting one day a week either before or after the school day. Hip Hop instructors are teachers in the schools or dance instructors from local dance schools. Classes meet for six weeks culminating with Alberta Bair Theater’s Hip Hop Master Classes and Student Matinees. The performing artists who are part of each year’s Hip Hop matinees agree to hold Master Classes on the stage of the theater the day before their matinees. Two schools at a time come to the theater and spend an hour learning dance moves from professional Hip Hop artists.

This year, Soul Street Dance is the touring company presenting master classes on Thursday, January 19 and Takin’ it to the Streets matinees on Friday, January 20. Their performance will also be attended by all 6th graders in Billings Public Schools.

Arts Without Boundaries Jazz Night

Come support Arts Without Boundaries and enjoy music from our local high school jazz programs. Tickets are $5 at the door. You could even win an Epiphone guitar!

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5th Grade Art Show

Our incredible elementary art teachers have put together fabulous work from BPS 5th grade students to showcase at the Yellowstone Art Museum for an entire month! This display, titled "Collective Conversations" is on display beginning January 14th and will wrap up on February 19th. Take some time to visit the art museum and see this fabulous work!

5th Grade Art Show Reception

Thursday, Feb. 2nd, 5-7pm

401 North 27th Street

Billings, MT

7/8th Grade YAM Artshow Reception

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NAfME All-NW Music Festival

Congratulations to the following music students who successfully auditioned into the All-Northwest Honor Ensembles. The event will take place February 16-19 in Bellevue, WA,

where these students will perform with top-notch students from Alaska, Idaho,

Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. Good luck!!

  • Alex Brown - Violin - Senior High
  • Mackenzie Ecker - Voice - Skyview High
  • Katelyn Hauck - Flute - West High
  • Sage Ekman - Viola - West High
  • Melanie Irwin - Clarinet - West High
  • Yulena Jasper - Clarinet - Skyview High
  • Hanna Jensen - Flute - West High
  • Neveah Killsnight - Viola - Senior High
  • Emily Mavencamp - Saxophone - Senior High
  • Tyler Montgomery - Tuba - Senior High
  • Samantha Ramirez - Clarinet - West High
  • Julia Small - Flute - Senior High
  • Jack Staton - Voice - Skyview High
  • Hannah Thompson - Bassoon - Senior High
  • Joseph Wallette - Voice - Skyview High

Dreamers - Photo by Ryan Nava

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Brooklyn Rider (string quartet) & Magos Herrera (jazz vocalist born in Mexico City and based in New York) will be performing Dreamers on January 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the ABT. Brooklyn Rider is providing outreach for West High Music students the following day. “With the bold and expressive singer Magos Herrera, we celebrate the power of beauty as a political act, exploring the artistry of Violeta Parra, Federico Garcia Lorca, Gilberto Gil, Joao Gilberto, Octavio Paz, and others who dared to dream under repressive regimes. These artists have transcended the brutality through their work, work that represents love for humanity, love for democracy, and the inspiration to dream. Featuring evocative arrangements by Jaques Morelenbaum, Diego Schissi, Gonzalo Grau, Guillermo Klein, and Colin Jacobsen, we invite you to dream with us.”

Magos sings in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Spanish, Music and other education groups are encouraged to purchase Ten for Ten tickets for this event.

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Announcing the….

2023 Saturday Live Annual Logo Contest!

Once again, the Education Foundation for Billings Public Schools invites all Billings Public School students to participate in the 31st annual Saturday Live logo design contest!

The winning students' logo will be displayed city-wide on t-shirts, television and newspaper ads, social media, billboards, stationary, and 20,000 flyers and maps.

Logo Design Contest Rules and Requirements for the logo design:

To be considered for selection, entries must be:

  1. Original artwork

  2. Camera-ready: black ink on 8 ½ X 11 white paper

  3. Fine-lined so that we may use it in a variety of formats

  4. Landscape orientation

  5. Logo design must include the following:

  • Artist’s name, grade and school on back of entry (please no ID on front).

  • Artist’s signature (black ink) written three times on separate plain white paper.

  • Include Saturday Live and the year 2023 in the design.

Please submit your design to the Education Foundation Office by Wednesday, April 5 to 415 North 30th Street, Billings, MT 59101.

The winning artist will receive name recognition in Saturday Live 2023 publications,

a Saturday Live 2023 t-shirt featuring the logo, and bagels and juice

or a pizza party for your class, courtesy of the Foundation!

Please contact Holly at the Foundation office at 281-5150 or

sessomsh@billingsschools.org if you have any questions.

Thank you and have fun creating!

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

On January 30, all BPS 5th graders will be treated to In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson at the Alberta Bair Theater. In 1947, the Year of the Boar, a young girl leaves China with her parents for a new beginning in America… But it’s harder than she expected. Though her classmates in Brooklyn come from a variety of backgrounds, Shirley is the only one who doesn’t speak English, and she worries that she will never have a friend.

But through a new love of the Brooklyn Dodgers (especially her hero Jackie Robinson), Shirley begins to feel at home. Based on the book by Bette Bao Lord and told through humor, Chinese and English, and a rich multimedia staging, the play celebrates the bravery and sacrifice of those who bring

new perspectives to our country.

Patti Waddell

After a short, intense and very private battle with leukemia, Patricia Jean Waddell passed away on December 18, 2022, surrounded by her closest friends and family.

A native of Billings, Patti was born on June 7, 1954. She spent many happy days at her family cabin in Red Lodge and she was very active in the Festival of Nations celebrations each summer. She was strong, independent and a proud Scot.

Patti got her Bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. Her master’s came from Eastern Montana College, Billings, MT.

She taught preschool and music, K-8, at Chicago Junior School, where she developed their music curriculum.

Patti served thousands of students in the Billings Public Schools teaching elementary and middle school music. Her former students recognize and revere her, talking candidly about how she positively impacted their lives. In her thirty plus years in Billings, Patti paved the way for so many music teachers with her leadership.

Throughout her life, she enjoyed adventurous travel. A trip to Scotland and a ride to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on a mule were two highlights of her life. She used her creative skills to make many quilted masterpieces.

In her retirement, Patti took up painting. Crooked Line Studio featured her works in November, 2022, with a very successful show. Jazz piano became a new passion as well. She stayed active in music performance and took up playing the bells, joining belissimo!

She will be remembered as a valued educator, precious friend and beloved family member.

Arrangements are being made for the celebration of Patti’s life at Smith Funeral Chapel West on Saturday, January 28, 2023, 1:00 p.m. Patti wanted a celebration of life that would include her quilts. If you were blessed with a quilt Patti made for you, please bring it with you to display. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Yellowstone Forever or a charity of your choice.

BPS Fine Arts Department

Remember to check the www.billingsschools.org website (Departments, Fine Arts) for the calendar, archived newsletters, schoolpay links, and honor group information.