Thursday, June 2, 2011

Europe Tour Days 1-4

Monica Qiu '11 on our time in Uppsala, Sweden.

Hej from Sweden! The first stop on YGC's 150th international tour was in Uppsala, Sweden, a small university town that is the fourth largest city in Sweden at 200,000 people. We arrived bleary-eyed to our hostel on Day 2 (Day 1 and the better part of Day 2 were spent traveling) and then on Day 3, May 29th, we sang at 11AM Swedish time (but 5AM EST) the Sunday mass at Uppsala Cathedral, the largest cathedral in all of Scandinavia (pictured at left). The Swedes take pride in this cathedral, and the kings and queens of the country are crowned there. The majority of YGC experienced their first Swedish church service and also watched two adorable Swedish children with white-blond hair be baptized.

After the service, Stefan Parkman, the musical director of the Uppsala Akademiska Kammarkor with whom we would be singing with later, led us to the main building of Uppsala University where we were served smorgastarta, which consisted of the ingredients of a smorgasbord but layered into cake form (photo below). YGC was then set free to explore the city, with many taking walks along the river, traversing the hills to see Gamla Uppsala Slott, and shopping and preparing meals in the hostel kitchen with ingredients purchased from the supermarket.

Day 4, we had a free morning that some used to explore the city more and others used to sleep. We then had a group lunch at the restaurant above the hostel where we were served Swedish meatballs with potatoes and lingonberry sauce. Rehearsal was once again at the Uppsala Cathedral where we rehearsed for our evening concert. YGC then had a joint concert with several notable musical ensembles: the organist Andrew Canning opened with a Processional March by Harold Nutt followed by selections played by the Kungliga Akademiska kapellet, the Uppsala University Jazz Orchestra and its trio of singers. Funny thing about Swedish concerts that one would often not find in American concerts- they have sing alongs! The program was broken up with four "allsangs" and YGC did its best to sing along in our vague knowledge of Swedish pronunciation.

Our day then continued with our concert at the Cathedral after we devoured some "American" sandwiches (roast beef with potato salad in a baguette). We sang a large portion of our tour rep to a large audience, some of which were from Minnesota, including one man who knew the lyrics to two of our songs! We performed two songs, "Sommerpsalm" and "Red River Valley," together with the Akademiska Kammarkor, and apparently this time our Swedish pronunciation was great! Emily, our president, during "Eli Yale," was evermore funny with her written verses this time in Swedish (ask her later about what those lyrics actually were). After a photoshoot in front of the cathedral, YGC got on a bus and took off to Stockholm where our next adventures begin! Hope to see you at a future concert along this tour!

Hej da!