May 16, 2012 | 8:22 a.m.
By Samantha Allgood '12
In late April, 49 Swedes could be spotted on campus, all members of the Vettern Choir from the Jonkoping community school Sodra Vattersbygden Folkhogskola (SVF), located in southern Sweden. The international students performed a free concert in Benson Great Hall as part of a tour that included stops at Gustavus Adolphus College, Minnesota churches, and North Park University in Chicago, Ill.
“I thought it was a very successful event,” says Jon Veenker, music department chair. “Their concert was amazing. They sang a wide variety of pieces, including one by Eric Whitacre that Bethel Choir will perform next year on their European tour.” The choir’s repertoire also included Verdi’s “Pater Noster,” “Ave Maria” by Villa-Lobos, and Kirby Shaw’s arrangement of “My Funny Valentine.”
Bethel students had opportunities to host the international students during their stay, with 20 of the visitors staying on campus. The Swedish visitors joined Bethel students for fellowship in Monson Dining Center and also observed Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Choir rehearsals. “I had such a fun time with them,” says choir member Chris Sjolander, “and it was actually really hard to say goodbye. We’re friends on Facebook, so hopefully that will help us stay in touch.”
The Office of International Studies is looking into future study abroad options at SVF.