Yong Mao

Dolce Canto rehearses under the direction of Yong Mao, its artistic director, in 2018.

Dolce Canto, the award-winning Missoula choir, will perform its first concerts since the pandemic this Sunday, Sept. 19.

The two free pop-up performances are set for 4:30 p.m. in the University Center Atrium and 7 p.m. in the Bonner Park bandshell.

Artistic Director Yong Mao and company will sing 14 pieces by composers such as Steven Paulus, Eric Whitacre, Frank Ticheli, Thomas Tallis, Eleanor Daley and more. Christopher Hahn, a University of Montana music professor, will accompany on piano.

According to a news release, the auditioned group has still been able to rehearse online since early 2020 using a Jack Trip Foundation technology such as a virtual studio with real-time connections. The group has also been able to use Resonance masks to sing together.

“Until the pandemic, virtual rehearsals for a choir did not exist,” Mao said in the news release. “We discovered a platform where individual singers in the choir would not meet in person but could contribute their voice over the internet. This allowed for real-time harmonies and a regular choir confab for Dolce Canto’s singers. We are excited to finally put our voices together in person and share the harmonies with the Missoula community.”

The group has brought diverse and contemporary choral music from around the world to Missoula since its founding in 2001. They traveled to New York City for a performance at Carnegie Hall in 2013 and toured South Korea in 2016 with Monroe Crossing, the bluegrass group. They received a Dale Warland Singers Commission Award, which allowed them to commission a new work, “The Stars Still Shine,” with composer John Muehleisen of Seattle and lyrics by Charles Anthony Silvestri.