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July 17-20, 2013




Terry Conrad President

“Who would expect to come to Montana and hear the whole world sing...Amazing!”

Beth Mast Past President Tom Trigg Vice President Janet Palmer Secretary Peter Heyler Treasurer David Heidel Artistic Director

STAFF Melissa Blunt Executive Director

DIRECTORS Ernest Dewey Renie Gibson Bob Hermes Saxon Holbrook Lee Kirkegaard Doug Klein Nancy Labbe Doug Lawrence Dean Peterson Alex Subrayan Katie Van Dorn Angela Wilkes

2009 Audience Member, Philadelphia

The 2013 International Choral Festival in Missoula is fast approaching, with just 9 months to go! We are expecting another spectacular and successful event. Over 25 choirs from all over the world are preparing to come to Missoula next July and we are preparing to welcome them (see the next page for the current listing of countries represented). Terry Conrad President

But we have much to do in the meantime. Our fundraising has been going well but we still need to raise a bit more. You can read more about our efforts in Doug Lawrence’s report on page 7. We’re starting to recruit host families to care for our guests and I encourage each of you reading this to consider opening your home to a singer or two from far away for several days, and enjoy that unique experience. Learn more in Janet Palmer’s report on page 3. This fall we have a new project in the works. The School of Music at UM and the International Choral Festival will be reviving the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah with community members comprising the chorus and orchestra. For many years this was a successful fundraiser for Habitat For Humanity. Several years have past since they stopped presenting the event and many people have missed it, so we’re bringing it back! See page 6 for details. I would also like to acknowledge and thank our many hard-working Board members and our indispensable Executive Director who make this all happen. Many unpaid hours go into this event, but we do love it when a plan comes together. Be sure to reserve the dates, July 17-20, 2013 for Missoula’s 9th International Choral Festival. ♪

The International Choral Festival

of Missoula is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting artistic excellence, global understanding, friendship and goodwill through choral music.




Melissa Blunt Executive Director

Last night while listening to a live performance of the all male chorus Chanticleer, I was transported to a place where beauty and perfection reigned—where everything in the background blurred: the smoke in the valley, the politics of the day, and the chores I didn’t get done this weekend. What a gift those men have, and gave to us.

Surely many in the audience last night were thinking, “...and what a perfect prelude to the International Choral Festival next summer”. Well, I was thinking that! Because in 9 months we will once again have the rare and precious opportunity to hear the world’s most beautiful choral music, performed by some of the world’s best choirs, right here in Missoula. Extraordinary! Over 25 choirs have accepted our invitation to Missoula’s 9th Festival, and all of them are making every effort possible to get here. One of the many touching stories of their journey is that of the choir from Zimbabwe, whose charismatic conductor passed away unexpectedly this summer. The choir’s determination to participate in our Festival did not falter—rather; it cemented their determination to sing in Missoula, in his honor, under the direction of his son. Here is the current line-up of national representation, literally from A to Z. This may change before July 2013, so check our website for updates.

Argentina Australia Canada Costa Rica DR Congo Estonia Finland Germany Hungary

Ireland Israel Macedonia Poland Russia Slovenia South Korea Taiwan Zimbabwe

Artistic director’s REPORT Are you looking for a choral festival that has choirs from every continent? We’ve got it! Are you looking for some of the best choirs in the U.S. and Canada? We’ve got it! Are you looking for children’s, youth, men’s, women’s, and mixed choirs? You guessed it – we’ve got it. David Heidel For 2 years, we have been colArtistic Director lecting what may be not only one of the largest contingencies of choirs, but also choirs of the highest caliber. For the cost of a little more than going to a movie, Festival audiences can attend ALL the concerts, as well as conductor’s seminars and a “meet the choirs” luncheon. When attending other choral festivals around the world, I have found it most common to pay anywhere from $25 - $50, and that’s just for a single concert!

If you’re not excited enough, consider the idea of your business, organization, school, or church hosting members from one of our international choirs. Not only would you be helping the Festival greatly, but you would have the chance to establish a close relationship with the choir members, which can be a life changing experience. If your group can’t host a choir, how about you and your family volunteering your time – a little or a lot goes a long way. It’s easy, just go to our website and look under the “Support the Festival” heading. So here is my challenge to everyone reading this: Help us share Missoula’s Festival with everyone you know, whether it is your neighbor or a relative on the east coast. Tell your friends to make their summer plans around Missoula next July. With your help, our parks and performance sites will be filled with the excitement of audiences begging for more. Other festivals try to copy us, but there is only one festival that offers the number of choirs, the number of concerts and the great audiences. Combine that with all the host families, volunteers, sponsors and patrons, and the result is the original, and one and only International Choral Festival of Missoula.

Since its beginning, the International Choral Festival has hosted 5,200 singers representing 42 countries.


CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS! I am happy to serve as the Staffing Coordinator again for the 2013 Festival, and am already recruiting volunteers. We will need hundreds of people to help manage concert sites, serve food, answer phones, usher, and perform a myriad of other tasks. To sign up, visit our website and Saxon Holbrook fill out the online volunteer apStaffing Chair plication form. You will also find volunteer job descriptions on our website, under the “Support the Festival/Volunteer” menu. If you prefer to sign up by mail, contact the Festival office and a form will be sent to you.


HOST FAMILIES NEEDED! ICF would cease to exist without the generous support of the many Missoula families who open their homes and hearts to the visiting international choirs. It is one of the things that makes our Festival so unique! Imagine welcoming singers from Zimbabwe in your homes, or Janet Palmer sharing a meal and love for music Housing Chair with singers from Ireland, or watching your children play with kids from Slovenia! Hosting requires time and energy, but it is totally worth the effort! Hosts provide comfortable, private sleeping arrangements, most meals, and transportation to the many activities during Festival week. Most choirs will arrive Tuesday, July 16, and depart Sunday or Monday, July 21 or 22. Most host families house two guests from the same country. If you are interested, please see our website for more information under the “Support the Festival/ Host” menu, and then complete our online Host application.

Saxon Holbrook (far right) with volunteers

Volunteering is a great way to experience the Festival, with behind the scenes access to events and concerts, and the knowledge that you are helping make it all possible. We can’t do this without you! ♪

If you have questions, feel free to contact me:, or by phone at 406-251-9336 (home) or 406-274-0500 (cell). I look forward to meeting up with past hosts and making some new friends next summer! ♪

ICF Board of Directors Positions Available If you love the Festival, and have time and talents to offer, please consider joining our Board! If interested please contact Melissa Blunt at 721-7985 or

Host and guest, 2009 Festival




“What a service you do for the world! These lessons in fellowship are so valuable! Music is a wonderful universal language, crossing geographic and age boundaries!” Audience member, Plains, MT

New arrivals at Festival check-in, all the way from Sweden

“A premier event! It is magnificent!” Audience member, Enterprise, OR

Taiwanese traditional music and dress entertained the crowd

“It seems to me that the International Choral Festival is the key to world peace and understanding.” Host Family, Missoula, MT ICF founder Don Carey enjoyed a reunion with daughter Suzanne and Helen Vehrs at the Carson Vehrs Memorial Picnic

“The Festival embodies our belief that music is an incredibly unifying force that brings people together and enables everyone to speak the same language of music.” Conductor, Colorado Who could ever forget The Chanters Group from Tbilisi, Georgia!



“I had a ‘once in a lifetime adventure’ at the Missoula Choral Festival. It’s so special; it’s so unique; and when you live in it, you NEVER want it to end.” Choir Member, Sweden

Despite the excessive heat, the Finale Concert was enjoyed by thousands of enthusiastic audience members and choirs alike

“I had goose bumps from the moment the Celtic Bagpipers lead the participants into the stadium until the last song was sung at the Finale Concert…how fortunate this area is to be able to host such an event.” Audience member, Missoula, MT

Choir Host John Talbot enjoying one of the Festival social events

The Choral Festival is a marvelous contribution to civilized society.” Contributor Missoula’s own Youth Choir leading the Parade of Nations

“I know the Festival is about music, but it really is about so much more! It was wonderful experience.” Host Family, Missoula, MT

With fans and bright costumes, the South Koreans were always entertaining

Singers from Germany cutting loose on the dance floor at the Finale party



joint benefit concert

HALLELUJAH!! Join us for this beloved holiday performance of Handel’s Messiah, Sunday, November 25th in the Dennison Theater. Presented by the International Choral Festival and the UM School of Music as a join-benefit concert. Conducted by Dr. David Edmonds, Director of Choral Activities at the UM, and accompanied by an orchestra of talented local musicians and soloists.

The concert is free to the public, but singers are asked to raise sponsorships or donate a minimum of $75 (all tax-deductible) to join the chorus. There will be two optional rehearsals on Sunday, November 11th & 18th, from 2:00~4:00 p.m. in the UM Music Building on campus, and a mandatory dress rehearsal on performance day.

For details and to join the chorus, visit: or

Or, call the School of Music at 243-6885.

Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends. ~Alphonse de Lamartine



Fundraising COUNTDOWN You’ve heard me say this before--it takes an enormous effort to raise the significant amount of money needed to produce each Festival. Thanks to the generosity of the Missoula community, we have reached 74% of our fundraising target to date. That is great news indeed! A thousand thanks to all our sponsors, and businesses and individuals who have supported us with cash and in-kind contributions so far. But, we are not out of the woods yet, and are planning a couple more fundraisers this fall to help us reach our goal. If you like to sing, please consider signing up for the chorus of the MESSIAH, which we are co-sponsoring with the UM School of Music as a joint benefit concert (see preceding page). And, plan to do your holiday shopping at the ICF BOOKFAIR at Fact and Fiction on Higgins Ave. downtown on Saturday, December 8th. A portion of the proceeds will benefit ICF (thanks to Barbara Theroux for this!).

Doug Lawrence Fundraising Chair

Save the Date! Saturday, December 8, 2012 HOLIDAY BOOKFAIR AT FACT AND FICTION 220 N. Higgins Ave. downtown Your contributions will enable us to: • Pay travel costs for our Artistic Director to personally recruit choirs overseas • Rent local concert venues and equipment • Hire a stage crew, sound & lighting technician, recording engineer, and other personnel • Feed and entertain 1000+ people at Festival-sponsored meals and social events • Charter a fleet of buses to provide local transportation for visiting choirs • Publicize the Festival locally, nationally, and internationally • Hire legal assistance for choir visa issues. And finally, if you wish to further support this extraordinary Missoula tradition, please consider making a twoyear pledge or one time donation of any amount by filling out the pledge form below and mailing it to us in the enclosed remit envelope. We are deeply grateful for your support. Thank you! ♪


I/we want to support the 9th International Choral Festival of Missoula

I/we will pledge $___________ per year for _____ years. I/we will pay this pledge as follows: I/we will make our payments: _______ annually; _______ quarterly; _______ monthly I/we have enclosed a check for $_____________ as my/our first installment. I/we will send our first contribution in (month)_________________________of (year)______________ Please send reminders: _____ via e-mail _____ via regular mail I/we cannot pledge at this time. Instead, I/we have enclosed a gift of $____________. Signature __________________________ Printed Name ________________________ Date ________




P.O. Box 8203 Missoula, MT 59807 USA

“Bringing the World a little Closer, Through Music”

Advertise in the Official 2013 International Choral Festival Program Book: • Reach a targeted audience. Over 25,000 people from local communities and from around the United States will attend Festival events.

• Increase business. Choral Festival visitors will spend over $2 million on lodging, food, and souvenirs during their stay. Direct some of those dollars toward your business!

• Support an important community cultural event. The revenue from your ad will directly support the International Choral Festival of Missoula-–it pays for the production of the program book as well as other event expenses. For more information and advertising rates, see our website or contact the Festival office: E-mail: Phone: (406) 721-7985 Space reservation deadline: May 10, 2013 Advertising materials due: May 25, 2013

ICF Newsletter October 2012  

News and Announcements about the upcoming 9th International Choral Festival of Missoula

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