Missoula Community Chorus A Welcoming Presence in Rural Montana

Montana is ranked 4th in size and 48th in population density out of the 50 states, and Missoula, with a metro area population of 115,000, is the second largest municipality in the state.  It is in this town where 5 mountain ranges converge that the Missoula Community Chorus was founded in 2001 by Jon and Robbin Rose.  In fact, their first rehearsal attracted 125 singers on September 12, 2001, a day after the attacks on the World Trade Center, and their first performance was a week later at Missoula’s Remembrance Service. 

The choir is a non-auditioned group with a mission to inspire community through music.  They explicitly welcome people of all ages, cultural heritages, financial circumstances and musical ability, and they collaborate with other local music and arts groups on various projects throughout the year.  “Being able to share the joy of music making - both in rehearsal and performances - reminds us that we are always better, stronger, and able to accomplish more when we do so together,” says Robbin Rose.  Chorister, Becky D. says, “I never sang in a choir before and I was 51 years old when I joined.  Music was not much in my life and when I found it, it helped me to grieve the death of my son. Now it brings me life. Indescribable!”

The 80 voice chorus premieres new works, most recently a work by local composer, Mike Rosbarsky, and for the past four years they have hosted sold-out community sing-alongs that provide an opportunity for adults and children to watch a movie and sing along with the songs.  Featured movies have included Mama Mia, Frozen, The Sound of Music and Wizard of Oz.  In the past, they have collaborated with instrumentalists from various other community arts organizations like the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and the Missoula Community Concert Band.  In 16 years, the chorus has remarkably strengthened the cultural fabric of Missoula and has created a movement that is distinctly Montanan.

Here's a video of the chamber chorus performing.