Over 600 singers of all ages from 13 countries are in Missoula for the ninth International Choral Festival, Wednesday through Sunday. The kick-off concert was at Out To Lunch At Caras Park on Wednesday, followed by a free concert at Southgate Mall.

Photo by Peter Christian

One of the choirs is from Hanover, Germany, and they performed for the first time in Missoula at Southgate Mall.

"My name is Uta, and I am from Hanover, Germany," said one young singer. "We have just come from a festival in Pocatello, which was really great, but I think this one will be greater, by far. We have 40 people here on this tour, and we are here for maybe two weeks, and we will spend our last week here in Missoula."

Uta said Missoula reminds her of her home country.

"Oh, its a nice town, a very nice city, it looks a little bit like Germany," Uta said. "We've heard that many Germans live here and it feels a little bit like home."

Uta, a German singer from Hanover

Missoula resident Rhonda Hunt is hosting six of the German women, and related a story about their first experience in a hot tub.

"The ladies are very fun, and they all decided they wanted to go in the hot tub last night, and only one of them had been in a hot tub before, so I really had a hard time getting them out, because it was getting very late and I knew the neighbors would be calling," Hunt laughed. "I brought them wine in a Dixie-cup which they thought was just fabulous, and so they had wine in a Dixie-cup in a hot tub in America, and they thought that was a very nice start to their trip to Missoula."

Choir host Rhonda Hunt

There are concerts in various venues throughout the rest of the week, and admission buttons are available at locations throughout Missoula. The International Choral Festival  Facebook page includes an online program of activities.