Choir Tour in Scandenavia

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Posted on July 04, 2006 3:51 PM in Miscellaneous
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

As briefly mentioned in the About section of my site, when I was a junior at Pacific Lutheran University, I was a member of the Choir of the West. Probably the most memorable experience of my college career, other than meeting my girlfriend, was touring Scandenavia with that choir. It wasn't until recently, though, that I was reminded of that trip and at least one of the many memorable places I visited.

Today, I decided to do some digging and see if I couldn't find more information on the many places I visited during that amazing trip. It didn't take long to find a publication from the ACFEA Tour Consultants called TourNotes (PDF) that detailed many of the stops we made along the way on that tour.

As noted in the publication, we first arrived in Oslo, the capital of Norway. We visited the Viking Ship Museum, which was a very educational and surreal experience. The following Viking ship (via Flickr) was one of several that I remember seeing.

Flickr Photo of Viking Ship

We also visited the Holmenkollen ski jump and Gustav Vigeland's Sculpture Park (which is well-documented on Flickr) before singing to a decent-sized audience at The Monolith, in what I remember as an impromptu performance. Shortly thereafter, we gave a formal performance at the Margaretakyrkan, since the Oslo Cathedral was being renevated for the Crown Prince's upcoming marriage.

After boarding a train to Trondheim, which I remember most for its colorful buildings along the water and many rounds of hackey-sack outside a hostel on a hill, we gave another formal performance at Nidaros Cathedral (another well-documented site on Flickr), which I remember most for the ornate details of one of its walls (shown below via Flickr).

Flickr Photo of Nidaros Cathedral

I think the ACFEA's publication sums up our performance quite well:

The choir sang in the west end of this glorious medieval church, the final resting place of Norway's patron saint, St Olaf. They began with Thomas Tallis's spectacular 40-part motet, Spem in Alium, in which nearly all the singers had their own part to sing. Selections from Brahms and Mendelssohn followed, with a cycle by American composer, Morten Lauridsen. The audience gave multiple standing ovations after their renditions of American spirituals, and there was not a dry eye in the house after their rendition of the beloved Lutheran hymn, Beautiful Saviour.

After Trondheim we flew to the second largest city in Norway, Bergen. There we gave another formal performance at Mariakirken (or St. Mary's Church), and if I'm not mistaken, we stood in a few rows in front of this alter as we performed (via Flickr):

Mariakirken altare on Flickr

At one point during our stay in Bergen, I remember walking down a fairly steep trail to see the tomb of Edvard Grieg, whose In the Hall of the Mountain King you may recognize.

It was only after our stay in Bergen that we ended up flying to the capital of Sweden, Stockholm, and staying at the Chapman, the now stationary ship that was featured on The Amazing Race. Just as it was interesting timing in regards to Norway's Crown Prince's upcoming marriage, it was very interesting timing to catch the Queen Mother's visit just a year before her death.

The things I remember most about Sweden are the Internet cafes (which I've blogged about here before), the unique design and feel of the city and its streets, and of course the places we performed. Those included the Uppsala Cathedral, the largest church building in Scandenavia, and St. Jacob's Church, which is shown below (again via Flickr).

Flickr Photo of St. Jacob's Church in Stockholm

All-in-all, the trip to Scandenavia is one that I don't think I'll ever forget. Aside from seeing many amazing sights and singing in some of the oldest, most choir-friendly cathedrals and churches those countries have to offer, I made a lot of friends and learned to relish those types of glimpses into what our world has to offer that most of us don't ever get enough of. Some day I hope to return to Scandenavia and relive those experiences with my girlfriend or maybe even my children, assuming I have some at that point.

Eventually I will get around to going through the digital pictures I took during my trip and will put them up on Flickr and possibly update this entry. However, it is refreshing to see that so many others have experienced what I have, and have already shared those experiences with us through blogging or photo sharing. And speaking of sharing, if you have anything to share about the cities or landmarks I've discussed here, I would absolutely love to hear about it.


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