Idaho States Journal
Idaho International Choral Festival ends on high note
By Joy S. Morrison - Journal Community Editor
POCATELLO - Call it unbelievable!
Some 350 singers of all ages representing eight nations came together on
the stage of the Holt Arena Saturday in what businessman Arlo
Luke called "a miracle of international friendship."
This on-stage appearance of all the participants was the concluding
number of the Gala Concert of the fourth Idaho International
Choral Festival. William "Bill" Wiench, ISU coordinator, estimated there
were about 3,000 in the audience, by far the largest crowd to
attend this concert since the festival started in 1998. He also said
there were 400 people at a concert on the ISU Quad given by
Moscow Nights and Golden Girls and the Taipei Philharmonic Youth Choir.
The festival is planned every two years.
Mark Lawlor, festival artistic director, led the 12 choirs representing
eight foreign countries and the United States in the finale,
"Sing the World Together." This song was composed especially for the
festival in 2002 by Dr. Randy Earles, chairman of the ISU Music
Department, with lyrics by Lisa Horton. Since then, it has been used at
The festival song begins with these words:
"We come together, different minds
"Yet all alike in heart."
The words went along with Luke's remarks that in the first years of the
festival, several of the 2004 choirs would not have been given
permission to attend by their countries. He said a number of
international choral festivals have been started in the U.S., but
Pocatello is one of three still doing well. He called his involvement
with the festival some of the best years of his life because of
extensive support from many, including hundreds of volunteers, families
who housed the visitors and the business community.
The staging of the show was accomplished effectively by Karl Pettit,
Cathy Conley and Geoff Ranere. Even though so many people were
involved in the performance, the choirs moved on and off the stage
without a hitch in an effective way.
Co-chairman Paul Link emceed the final performance.
He told the audience, "How blessed we are to share in this beautiful and
diverse musical program. The festival is a product of the
Camerata Singers, a choir founded in 1963 by Chilton Phoenix and Farris
Edgley. Much of the leadership for the festival comes from
members of the Camerata Singers."
Sixty local youths, who had trained during the week under Tendekai
Kuture, graduate student at the University of Idaho from Zimbabwe,
opened the gala concert.
The Moscow Nights and a youth group, the Golden Gates, from Russia, were
spotlighted throughout the festival and also at the Gala
Concert. They sat at the front of the stage during the 2 1/2 hour
concert, performing between appearances by the choirs. The Moscow
Knights' unusual instruments, Bayan accordion, Prima Balalaikis and
Contrabass Balalaikist, attracted much attention.
The audience had favorite choirs as the evening progressed, but all
agreed that the caliber of the singing groups was the finest in
the history of the festival. Besides Russia, the foreign choirs
- Riga Girls' Choir from Latvia, which has given concerts at prominent
concert halls, including the Dome Cathedral.
- Los Cantores de la Unica, which was formed 13 years ago and
specializes in popular music of Spain.
- Kalevi Kammerkoor from Estonia, winner of many awards in their
- Taipei Philharmonic Youth Choir of singers in the 17 to 26 age group
who make concert tours all over the world.
Other visiting choirs were;
- Boston Eastern Heritage Chorus with a diverse membership drawn from
vocalists from all walks of life.
- Tahoma Girls Choir of members in the 7 to 20 age group making its
third appearance at this festival.
- Maryland Boy Choir made up of youths of all nationalities in the 8 to
14 age group.
Representing Pocatello were the Portneuf Chamber Singers and the
Camerata Singers, both under the direction of Mark Lawlor.
On Sunday all the choirs and their host families met at upper Ross Park
for a concluding picnic. Angela Anderson, a first-time choir
hostess who entertained two girls from Taiwan, said her guests told her,
"Everything here is big - the homes, the cars and the big
When she mentioned religion to her guests, they told her, "We pray. We
sing 'Ave Maria.'"
The girls really enjoyed the Ross Park Zoo, particularly the elk and
Today the choirs will be returning home or joining in a one-day trip to
Copyright © 2004 Pocatello Idaho