This year marked a substantial milestone for the student unions choir, A Scapella. The choir celebrated it’s 40 year anniversary this year with a special concert and dinner for fans and alumni. Now I will admit that in years prior, I wasn’t the most enthusiastic supporter of singing. I’m more the kind of a music man who prefers 76 trombones in a big parade. Choir to me was something that high school students did to escape other classes. But despite my hesitations I made the effort to sneak in.
And with the brisk sunshine of a Saturday afternoon in mid-Autumn, I congregated with other patrons (mostly former choir members, of which there were many) to hear this seasons songs. I stood with them outside the Saint Johannes church atop a hill between Sveavägen and Birger Jarlsgatan. Once inside, I was greeted by choir members ushering people into the dark but reassuring space. I was only able to examine the exquisite interior of this church for a few minutes before the director vigorously hushed the crowd to silence, and the performance began.
For their first piece they got off to a running (or rather walking) start, forming a processional around the outside aisles from the narthex of the church, and singing the entire way, made their way for the apse. Now they taken my attention… As one piece concluded, I became hungrier for the next. And so, I found that the the following hour or so went entirely too fast (or at least to my savoring ears it did). In this time, I was presented with music from more classical pieces that you would expect, featuring pieces by Wilhelm Stenhammar, Eric Whitacre, and Sergej Rachmaninov, but also some quite eclectically chosen modern ones. Case in point, “The Circle of Life” from the Lion King. I mean, come on. That’s just awesome!
The performance ended as it began but in reverse, with choir members making their way out in procession, singing all along. But now I need to hear more…
After the performance, the celebration began back at the Aula at MF. An electric crowd awaited in the halls.
Meanwhile, the choir members were busy assembling the last remaining details together.
Being a categorically minded person, I figured that the singing would be at the concert, and the eating would be at the dinner. But I forgot that it was Sweden. And luckily for me, the singing continued during dinner. And I forgot that everyone else there was or had been affiliated with the choir in the past. So the singing was amazing. Imagine, if you can, drinking songs sung in perfect three part harmony every 5 to 10 minutes or so. Sweetness!
Now, I can’t sing, but that didn’t stop me from trying. And to those sitting around me at the dinner, I’m sorry. I think it would have been better for everyone around me if I had remained silent. 🙂
Additionally, being a Swedish Sittning, it wouldn’t be complete without repetitive interruptions of the dinner by speeches and perfomrances. One of the first on the stage were the two responsible for the initial formation of the choir all the way back 40 years ago.
Now, to be fair, apparently what they were saying was probably quite funny seeing as all of the Swedes were laughing. But I couldn’t understand. My fault I guess.
In addition, the choir shared with us a few more less conventional pieces (that might not have been entirely appropriate to be sung in a church) and other A Scapella alumni groups shared some of their works with the crowd, as they were called up by our host.
And there you have it! 40 years of excellent singing at KI! And admittedly, this concert did actually manage to turn this sceptic of professional singing into a choral convert. A big one. And now I’m kind of sad that I didn’t drop the money enough to get the CD as well. Maybe next time.
But for those of you who want to hear them next time, which I strongly recommend, A Scapella will be performing “Jul utan Gränser”, or Christmas without Borders, on Sunday, December 8th at 5pm in beautiful Katarina kyrka in Södermalm, as well as Lucia Processionals at Karolinska Institutet on the 13th of December, and their Julkonsert on the 15th, only two days later. You can find more information at:
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