The COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible for rehearsals, let alone public performances, of the Bitterroot Valley Chorus annual Christmas Concert in Hamilton this year. In its 48th year, the board of directors decided to provide an online replacement for the live presentation usually held at the Hamilton High School Performing Arts Center.

They had separate high-quality video and audio recordings from the 2018 performance. With audio help from Yellow Seahorse Sound and video work from John Walker of the PAC, the organization created "The Gift of Hope," which is now online at bitterrootvalleychorus.org. There's no charge for viewing the concert and you can watch it any time you want - even Christmas Eve.

Tricie Callaghan-Stover of the Bitterroot Valley Chorus board of directors said, "It look a lot to get to where it is so that we could put it up on our website. We hope that this is only one little blip on our screen and we'll be back to our rehearsals and live performances for 2021."

Tricie said the concert includes major parts of Handel's Messiah, along with other contemporary Christmas songs under the direction of Peggy Bucheit. Board member Smokey Stover introduces the video online. The annual concerts have been a valley tradition since the late Virginia Vinyl, Hamilton High School music teacher, started them 48 years ago. HHS music teacher Peggy Bucheit first sang in the chorus and then became director when Virginia retired.

Financial support for the project came from the Montana Arts Council, Ravalli County Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Jason Savage Photography, Trail West Bank, the Rapp Family Foundation. Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital and Smokey & Tricie Stover.

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