Nearly 500 male singers from 40 different middle and high schools throughout Iowa and Minnesota will gather at Wartburg College Saturday, Oct. 8, for “Real Men Sing,” a men’s choral festival.

The Wartburg Ritterchor will host the all-day festival, which will conclude with a 5 p.m. concert in Neumann Auditorium. Admission is $5 for the public and free to Wartburg students with their ID.

The program will feature performances by Cantus, a professional men’s a cappella ensemble; the East View High School Men’s Chorale, conducted by Greg Douma; the 70-member Ritterchor; Festeburg, a Wartburg men’s a cappella octet; and the Real Men Sing Festival Chorus.

 “We hope to inspire and invigorate young male singers while helping them find the joy and richness that singing brings to life,” said Dr. Lee Nelson, festival director and conductor of the Ritterchor and Wartburg Choir.

The day will include a master class with the members of Cantus, a nine-member group the premier men’s vocal ensemble in the United States” (Fanfare Magazine) has delighted critics and audiences alike with its stylistic versatility and eclectic programming

Cantus’ coast-to-coast tours have included performances throughout the United States, appearing on major concert stages from New York to San Francisco, and the ensemble made its European debut at France’s Polyfolia Festival. Cantus has performed at the American Choral Directors’ Association’s national and regional conventions and numerous choral festivals.  During the 2007-08 season, Cantus toured across the eastern United States with the Boston Pops Orchestra, traveled to Cameroon, Africa for a 13-day engagement, and performed in Washington, DC at the Kennedy Center.

The Wartburg men’s groups take their names from the college’s German heritage. Ritterchor is a German word meaning “Knights Choir,” evoking the college’s namesake, the Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Germany, and Wartburg’s athletic teams, the Knights. Festeburg translates to “mighty fortress” and is found in the first line of Martin Luther’s hymn, “Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott” (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God).