Carols and Concerts Introduce the Christmas Season in Billings

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This past weekend Billings’ schools kick-started the holiday season with music and concerts at both the high school and collegiate levels. 

Billings Senior High’s Madrigal Dinner:

photo by Emily Skiles

Senior High’s Madrigal Dinner is a longstanding tradition amongst both the students and regular attendees. This royal event hearkens back to the days of courtly merriment where songs, jokes, and good food were cause for great celebration. “The year is 1470” and the students do all they can to ensure their audience that they’re lost somewhere in the Middle Ages.

The concert is one that consists of Senior’s highest honor choirs under the direction of Daren Small. The range of music extends from beautiful choral arrangements reflecting the medieval era to pieces that are approximately 500 years ahead of their time such as, “Text me, Merry Christmas.” This concert is a wonderful opportunity for some of the students to showcase their talent in solos and duets, often sharing the Christmas spirit with classics such as “Silent Night” and “I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas.” Between the songs, a conversation takes place amongst the townsfolk (students) and the royalty, played by various teachers at Senior High. Their banter leads to humorous developments such as a court jester competition and a tribute to Mel Brooks’s, “Men in Tights.” The entertainment is, of course, only as good as the food. The classic roast and potatoes are the finishing touch for one pretending to be at a royal feast. The Madrigal Dinner once again delighted audiences and encouraged the Christmas spirit with music and revelry for those attending. To all who participated in this event, thank you for your entertainment and here’s to enjoying many more Madrigals to come!

Rocky Mountain College’s Lessons and Carols:

photo by Emily Skiles

For over thirty years, Rocky Mountain College’s “Lessons and Carols” concert has helped introduce the Christmas season for families and individuals in the Billings community. This winter choral concert is a combination of songs, performed by Rocky’s choir and led by Doctor Steven Hart, and readings from the Bible, all put together to tell the Christmas story.

Every year the concert begins with the anticipated processional, “Personent Hodie.”  Even for the returning audience members, the effect of the students marching in powerfully from behind and singing in Latin is always gripping, while perhaps a little surprising for the first-time attendees. From there, the concert includes everything from peaceful lullabies to celebratory gospels. Between each song a member of RMC – either student, teacher, or faculty – reads a section of scripture which tells of the coming Savior. Every year the concert has two performances on a Sunday afternoon. This year, unsurprisingly, each performance saw a nearly full house. If you’re ever looking for a soul-stirring service to begin your holiday season, “Lessons and Carols” is one which, through song and story, certainly brings tidings of comfort and joy.

With the Christmas season upon us, there are many events around Billings celebrating the holidays. Take some time to attend one or two and enjoy the cheer, community, and beauty each has to bring. And if you’ve missed a few of these wonderful events, no worries, there’s always next year.

about the author…Emily Skiles is a Billings girl and a recent graduate of Rocky Mountain College with an English degree. She serves coffee at her local City Brew Cafe and has a passion for theatre and singing. She hopes to share these passions with her hometown any way she can. 


Billings-area High School Holiday Concerts:

Dec 5 @ 7pm

  • Boys & Girls West End Honor Choir Concert @ Lincoln Center Auditorium

Dec 7 @ 7pm

  • Honor Orchestras Concert @ Lincoln Center Auditorium

Dec 8 & 9 @ 6:30pm

  • Skyview Musical Feast @ Skyview High School Commons

Dec 11 @ 7pm

  • Laurel High School Band Concert @ Laurel High School Auditorium
  • Skyview Holiday Concert I @ Skyview Theatre

Dec 12 @ 7pm

  • Heights Girls Honor Choir Concert @ Lincoln Center Auditorium
  • Senior High Orchestra Concert @ Senior High Auditorium
  • Skyview Holiday Concert II @ Skyview Theatre

Dec 14 @ 7pm

  • Senior High Band Concert @ Senior High Auditorium
  • West High Holiday I Concert @ West High Auditorium

Dec 18 @ 7pm

  • Laurel High School Holiday Concert @ Laurel High School Auditorium
  • Senior High Choir Concert @ Senior High Auditorium

Dec 19 @ 7pm

  • West High Holiday II Concert @ West High Auditorium

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