PROVO Young musicians from around the world will be visiting Utah and Salt Lake counties this August.
More than 500 children from several singing groups are expected to attend In Harmony, an annual international children's music festival.
Robin Brown, In Harmony 2008 chairwoman, told mayors and county commissioners Thursday at the Utah County Council of Governments meeting that the groups will be introduced to the county and its towns.
The groups, coming from Japan, Nepal, Kenya and the United States, will stay with host families throughout the county and will participate in music workshops at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah, Brown said. Children also will be performing at schools, churches and conference halls, she said.
Brown asked the mayors attending the meeting to disseminate the information about the festival to their residents through city newsletters.
In its fifth year, the festival will begin Aug. 4 with a performance at the Thanksgiving Point Amphitheater in front of the waterfalls. The festival will run through Aug. 10 with performances in both Utah and Salt Lake counties. The final performance will be held at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
While here, the groups will visit a wide range of destinations including Sundance, the Heber Creeper and the Utah Olympic Park, said Misty Lefrandt, In Harmony project manager. A few of the groups also will sing the national anthem at a game for the Salt Lake Bees and for the Orem Owlz, she said.
Every other year the festival is held in Japan. So far, in the United States, the festival has been held in Colorado and Chicago, Lefrandt said. The One Voice Children's Choir will be the host choir this year and the families of the 130 children will help host their international visitors. Lefrandt and her staff are still looking for about 100 families to host the children.
In order to make sure the children will be safe, interviews and home visits are required, Lefrandt said. She said they also are looking for volunteers to provide food and act as translators.
The star group this year, Lefrandt said, is the Kenyan group The Singing Children of Africa, all of whom are orphans. The nonprofit organization Reaching the Summit paid for the children and their directors to come to the festival.
An international festival in the county is always a good thing, officials said.
"It's another very cool example of some of the very unique things that come to Utah County and Utah Valley," said Joel Racker, executive director of the Utah Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The "incredible and unique" festival adds another dimension and another destination for people traveling through and can entice people to stop here, he said.
Utah County Commissioner Larry Ellertson said the festival shows the different cultural attractions Utah County can offer visitors and locals.
"I think it's a positive thing," he said. "I think if we can bring that type of cultural event in and give people the opportunity ... to see it, it's a good thing."
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