As predicted, there are days where the wifi is not very robust, or we’re travelling, or there are May Poles to be raised, or all three.

Hope you’re enjoying all the posts on social media!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

After another morning rehearsal on our last full day in Stockholm, the boys toured Stockholm City Hall! We had excellent tour guides, and got to see the room where Nobel Prize winners have their luncheon! We even learned a trick, how the Nobel Prize winners walk down the staircase so elegantly! (hint: look at the star!)

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After the Tour, some of the Grads went shopping at a real Swedish department store while everyone else enjoyed glass (ice cream!) on the waterfront, before returning for a final rehearsal and performance at Kungsholms Church with our hosts, Stockholms Gosskör.

The performance that night was packed! No room for the boys to sit! Immanuel, who is our accompanist for this tour, gets to sing sometimes, too, and rocked the Chichester solo. Of course everyone joined in for Shumayela!

Friday, June 24, 2016 – Off to Rättvik!

A little rain didn’t dampen our farewells to our friends in Stockholm, as we said so long for now, in hope of continued friendship between our choirs. On our way to our next destination, Rättvik. On the way, a stop to see the Dala Horse, the traditional wooden toy of this region, now an iconic representation of both Dalarna and of Sweden.

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Riding in a double decker bus with luggage trailer, the four hour ride went by quickly, and the boys arrived in Rättvik, a town of about 10,000 people on the shores of Lake Siljan. It’s a perfect place to spend Midsommar, the biggest holiday of the Swedish year other than Christmas. We’re staying at Stiftsgarden, a retreat center and hotel on the lake. Their claim to fame (beyond being boychoir tour heaven) is that Desmond Tutu stayed here while working with the Church of Sweden and the Swedish government during the struggles to end Apartheid)

And it really is boychoir tour heaven, with great food, nice dorms, and plenty of room to run and have fun!

Glad Midsommar! (In Swedish — Happy Midsummer!)

“So grads, you know how in the US, wearing flowers in your hair is something girls generally do? Well in Sweden, guys wear flowers too. Follow me to pick flowers, and then we’ll make wreaths out of them.”

pause. hold my breath.

“Cool! Where are the flowers?”

Gotta love these guys, far from home, jumping happily into the local tradition, and in no time, flowers woven into wreaths, maypole raised, and KSB clumsily but happily learn several traditional Swedish Midsommar dances.

Midsommar continued with the holiday meal, followed by the Rättvik Midsommar Parade, complete with horse pulled wagons filled with locals in their traditional Swedish attire, marching violinists, and hundreds of people, clearly going somewhere together. It’s another Majstångresning (Maypole Raising – yes, it’s June. Not quite sure what the deal is with that), so we join the parade and watch the raising of a 40’ maypole, then another round of dancing, less clumsy this time since they’re the same dances that we learned earlier.

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Midsommar concluded with a concert in the church where we sing on Saturday, plus some more dancing — this time “Cotton-eyed Joe” and “The Electric Slide” on the Stiftsgarden pier — plus late night grilled hotdogs, and an a cappella Baba Yetu for those gathered for an evening prayer service, around 11:00pm, still plenty of daylight.


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Though it doesn’t get all the way dark, with about four hours of twilight until sunrise comes again, no one had any trouble falling asleep!

Saturday, June 25

It’s Saturday afternoon now, the grads are having their afternoon rehearsal and the trebles are on break. This morning, the traditional church boats arrived, once the only way that residents of the various villages around the lake got to church. We joined the service for one piece, in hope to spread the word for tonight’s concert. With 700 people in attendance, we’re looking forward to a good audience tonight!