Swedish Choir Helps Celebrate Immigrant Heritage

Post a Comment » Written on December 12th, 2008     
Filed under: News
YAKIMA, WA (December 12, 2008) – An influx of Swedish immigrants to this area in the early 1900s made it all the more appropriate for Wiley Heights Covenant Church to host the Southern Vättern College from Jönköping, Sweden, on Thursday night, says pastor Mark Swanson.

“Swedish immigrants came to the area with dreams of the agricultural possibilities,” says Swanson. “The area was so saturated with Swedish immigrants and their descendants that it became known affectionately as Swede Hill.”

The popular 43-member choir performed a variety of Scandinavian and American Christmas musical selections. The choir is composed of students who participate in the intensive music program at the school, many who go on to careers as professional musicians.

They already had performed to packed crowds in several Seattle venues, and the concert at Wiley Heights was the only one scheduled outside the Seattle area before the group returned to Sweden.

“We saw this as an opportunity to celebrate with others the Advent season’s anticipation of the birth of Christ, as well as an opportunity to celebrate our Swedish heritage,” Swanson says. “We feel privileged that this choir has come all the way from Sweden for their concerts in Seattle and their performance at Wiley Heights Covenant.”

The choir performed as part of a program that included a Sankta Lucia pageant, a traditional Scandinavian celebration that recognizes Sankta Lucia (or Saint Lucy). The pageant’s centerpiece is the procession of a young woman, acting as Sankta Lucia dressed in white with a crown of candles.

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