A cultural exchange between Missoula and South Korea will come full circle Tuesday.
Dolce Canto, a local auditioned choir, toured the Asian country in April 2016. Among their activities, they performed with Ulsan Metropolitan Chorus, a 52-member professional ensemble.
Now the group is stopping in Missoula as part of its second U.S. tour, going out of their way to come to Missoula between gigs in Seattle and Portland, Oregon.
While Dolce will perform, the concert is designed to feature Ulsan, according to Dolce's artistic director Peter Park.
"The quality level is extremely high and is as in the case with most Korean choirs at the professional level, you can expect that it will be stunning in terms of uniformity, tone and clarity and its expressiveness," he said.
Their collaborative concert with Dolce is split into multiple sections between the choirs, capped by a joint performance.
Ulsan's half is divided between sections honoring "The Spirit of Korea" and "New Voices of Korea."
Park hasn't heard the selections on the program himself, but he noted that the group is comprised of full-time singers. Stylistically, he said the Korean choral tradition stems from Christian missionaries who introduced four-part singing. Many singers and composers study in the United States, giving them a familiarity with both Western music and traditional Korean music. In their singing, the "placement of sound is really quite unique" with a presence that the audience will notice right away.
Dolce's solo section features five pieces, both new compositions and older ones in contemporary arrangements. It draws on its programs from the 2016-17 season. The range includes an African-American spiritual, "My Lord, What a Mornin' " by Harry T. Burleigh, an African-American classical composer who died in 1949; and "3 Noctures: III. Lullaby," by Daniel Elder, a millennial-age composer from Tennessee.
For the joint choir, Park will conduct one piece, a mash-up of a contemporary Christian song, "I Love You" with "What a Wonderful World," in an arrangement by Craig Hella Johnson.
Ulsan's conductor, In-Gi Min, will lead the choirs in "Arirang," a Korean traditional arranged by Hyo Won Woo.
Park said South Korea's most famous folk song, while often quite solemn, in this treatment has an up-beat and energetic conclusion.
He said that he hopes the crowds who turn out for the triennial International Choral Festival take note of the concert. "This is going to be top-notch," he said.
Dolce has performed in a concert at Carnegie Hall and won a Dale Warland Singers Commission Award.
The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, at the Music Recital Hall at the University of Montana. Doors open at 6:45. Tickets are $18 general admission and $10 for students. Tickets are available at Fact & Fiction, Rockin' Rudy's or dolcecanto.info.