Dolce Canto: The Peace of Wild Things

Missoula chorus, under baton of David Edmonds, offers concerts May 13-14

On Stage

Dolce Canto, Missoula’s premier chorus, presents spring concerts in Victor May 13 and Missoula May 14, titled The Peace of Wild Things.

Dolce Canto is now led by new artistic director Dr. David Edmonds and features collaborative pianist Mac Merchant. The 2023 choir includes 32 voices, making it the largest version of the chamber group in a decade.

The 32 voices of Dolce Canto ring out in two concerts, May 13-14.
The 32 voices of Dolce Canto ring out in two concerts, May 13-14.

Dolce Canto is made up of experienced vocalists, including local choir directors, voice teachers, professional musicians and many of the top singers from Western Montana.

The first Peace of Wild Things concert will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 13, in Victor at the Mary Stuart Rogers Performing Arts Center at Victor Public School, 425. 4th Ave. The concert features special guests, the Corvallis High School Choir.

The second concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 14, at St. Anthony Church, 217 Tremont St. in Missoula. Special guests include the Big Sky High School Aesirian Choir, directed by Nancy Labbe.

For tickets, information and concert program visit

The Peace of Wild Things

Through highlighting the various ways in which our lives are inextricably linked with the natural world around us, Dolce Canto hopes to inspire a new – or renewed – sense of appreciation and connection to the wilderness around us. “In so doing, we work toward fostering a sense of community through a shared love of both music and nature,” says artistic director David Edmonds. The program will feature music by Claudio Monteverdi, Daniel Elder, Eriks Esenvalds, Jake Runestad, Caroline Shaw, Sarah Quartel and more.

New director on board

After a national search, Edmonds took over as artistic director in Spring 2023. He currently serves as director of Choral Studies at the University of New Mexico where he directs the UNM Concert Choir and University Chorus and teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting and choral repertoire.

Local audiences may remember him as director of Choral Activities at the University of Montana for six years where he led the UM Chamber Chorale to their first-ever invitations to perform for two major regional conferences.

“I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to return to Montana and to work with the many wonderful people who make Missoula a vibrant artistic community,” he says.

An advocate for students and pre-service teachers, Edmonds just completed a six-year appointment as ACDA National Repertoire & Resources Chair for Student Activities, helping to create programming and initiatives supporting the ACDA national student membership. He holds advanced degrees in conducting from the University of North Texas and Westminster Choir College, obtained after teaching high school choral music for six years in Iowa and Texas. His original compositions and arrangements are published by Alliance, Colla Voce, and MorningStar Music Publishers. He lives in New Mexico with his wife and their two (often) well-behaved daughters.

Dolce Canto member and former board chair Michael Marsolek calls Edmonds “an extraordinary musician and leader.”

According to Marsolek, since his hiring was announced in February “the choir has exploded back to 32 voices and some of the incredible alums and fine singers have flocked back.” Members include the choir directors from Hellgate and Big Sky High Schools and the directors of the Mendelssohn Club.

The enthusiasm is mutual. “I have long been an admirer of the exceptional artistic work achieved by the singers of Dolce Canto and am extremely excited about the possibilities of working with such an outstanding music organization,” says the new artistic director.