CHS Choir

The Choteau High School choir with conductor Lorran Depner pose with composor Tim Janis at the Montana PBS studio in Bozeman.

The community is invited to watch the Choteau High School Choir perform in Tim Janis’ “Celebrate America!” concert Thursday, March 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Stage Stop Inn Rocky Mountain Convention Center.

CHS music teacher Lorran Depner said there will be treats served and a festive atmosphere for watching the concert.

The concert starts at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on Montana PBS on KSUM-TV and KUFM-TV. It will also stream online worldwide at the same time so family, friends and fans across the world can watch. The concert will be re-broadcast on March 11 at 5:30 p.m. and March 16 at 10:30 am.

“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 says. “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. 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,” he said.

In the fall of 2017, 13 high school choirs were selected to participate in the televised series “Celebrate America” from around the area. Choteau High School elected to perform Janis’ uplifting “Move Mountains” under the direction of music educator Lorran Depner in the Celebrate America program.

The song was written by Janis in 2009 to raise funds for Africa’s School Safe Zone. But following a classroom discussion, Choteau students asked if they could change the theme from Africa to America to reflect our nation’s needs today. Janis agreed.

Depner said, “As our conversation continued, [the students] began talking about our own country, and the problems we are experiencing and the need to come together and Move Mountains and wondered if we could change two words in the song to reflect America rather than Africa?”

The choirs were taped in January 2018 at the KUSM-MontanaPBS studio in Bozeman.

Arriving well-prepared and very professional, each choir came into the studio at prearranged times to record their performance.

“Wow! We had an incredibly fun Celebrate America 2018 event last weekend,” said Erika Matsuda of Montana PBS. “It was terrific having 13 different high schools visit and record LIVE in the studio over two days with Tim Janis. All of us at Montana PBS were honored to have so many young, talented musicians share their voices with us.”

Janis said, “Public television is an invaluable resource for staying connected to local programs and the community. Montana PBS programming helps to bring the community together.”

Janis is respected and well known for the work he defines as “Music of Hope.” His career has extraordinary and inspiring highlights which 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.

Janis has also produced fundraising 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 who face barriers in their access to music education.

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.

Highlights and video clips from past Celebrate America broadcasts and additional information can be found at and on Tim Janis’ Facebook -

Other choirs in the 2018 program include: Anaconda High School under the direction of Kimberly Lorengo, singing “Garten Mothers Lullaby;” Bigfork High School under the direction of Skyberg Thorensen, singing “Be Thou My Vision;” Corvallis High School under the direction of Nancy Brown, singing “Amazing Grace;” Frenchtown High School under the direction of Brendan McGlynn, singing “The Storm is Passing Over;” Great Falls Central Catholic High School under the direction of Karlene Schraner, singing “We Shall Overcome;” Hamilton High School under the direction of Peggy Bucheit, singing “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal;” Hardin High School under the direction of Maggie Ratliff, singing “Shenandoah;” Manhattan High School under the direction of Becky Frank singing “Prayer of the Children;” Mt. Ellis Academy under the direction of Leisel Rogers, singing “On Eagles Wings;” Powell County High School under the direction of Karen Herrin, singing “America the Beautiful;” Power High School under the direction of Stacy Yeldell, singing “In the Bleak Midwinter;” and Sacajawea Middle School under the direction of Charlotte Colliver, singing “Bugle Boy.”