PG Sweden Tour 2017

PG Sweden Tour 2017

scroll down for tour Quick Facts and itinerary

Spread the joy of singing

Thursday, June 29, 2017 : Sweden 2017

Pennsylvania Girlchoir Sweden Tour 2017

Find Your Instrument! alumna from Germantown just returned from a week on tour in Sweden with her fellow Pennsylvania Girlchoir members. From singing in beautiful churches, to weaving wildflower garlands, to buying ice cream and making change in kronor, the life of this seventh grader has been forever changed.

We want all children, regardless of their family’s financial circumstances, to be able to sing in our choirs and have life-changing experiences.

Here’s what we’re doing to make that possible:

Increasing scholarship dollars
Our scholarship budget has grown in five years from less than $20,000 to more than $40,000.

Awarding more full-tuition scholarships
This year, we have 13 Find Your Instrument! alumni singing with us, almost twice as many as last year, and we’re supporting several singers from other schools who demonstrate full need as well.

Seeking outside funding
Two generous foundations have awarded us $18,500 in scholarship funds this year, but this is less that half of what we give out in scholarship aid each year.

And now we’re turning to you…
A gift of $1,200 will fully support one singer’s tuition for a year. Whatever you give will make a meaningful difference in the lives of our singers and will spread the joy of singing. Click here to make your gift today.

Pennsylvania Girlchoir members arm-in-arm by beach

Tack Tack!

Sunday, June 25, 2017 : Sweden 2017

Tour Bus, Highway, Sweden
June 25, 2017

We woke up to a quieter day after a high energy midsommar’s eve. We began with contemplative sight singing of Da Pacem and Nu Grunskar Det (one of our Swedish songs) while observing long boats come to shore for the Midsommar Service. It’s quite a fascinating tradition watching these very old boats slowly approach us with people wearing their traditional Swedish clothing.

Once at the shore, we moved to the church to sing the prelude in the Rättvik Church (kyrka), built in 1200. The midsommar holiday is high point of cultural and religious celebration in Sweden. Families from different villages wear their traditional clothing with designs specific to their town. The choir loft was filled with orchestra, a organ, and choirs. It was stunning to behold.

Unprepared to play the organ, Abby did not have her organist shoes. She made due though!

After lunch, we trekked into town (in the rain!) and went to the only two open shops- the artisan souvenir shop and the ice cream stand. Both did a good amount of business with us.

The longest pier in Scandinavia is right in Rättvik, so after ice cream we made our way over to check it out. It’s long!

The rain comes and goes in waves here. In one of the sunnier moments, almost all the girls took a dip in the lake. Fun fact: the lake was created by a meteorite almost 400 million years ago. The water is pretty shallow almost a kilometer in, only coming up to your knees.

After a quick dinner, the girls changed into concert attire and ran rehearsal for our evening concert. The run came out for just enough time to take some photos with the beautiful scenery.

Our concert was well attended! It’s a joy to share our music with the Swedes, especially the American folk songs and spirituals. We feel lucky to have the opportunity to sing in such beautiful venues with such a rich history.

We enjoyed post-concert sandwiches and sang for our host and dining staff. A round of happy birthday for our friend Mathais as well!

We are so grateful for the wonderful hospitality we received here in Sweden on this unforgettable tour.

We’re back on the bus back to the Stockholm airport now and will be home in Philadelphia in about 16 hours! We’re ready to be reunited with families but certainly are not looking forward to the Philadelphia summer that awaits us! It’s been comparatively chilly here but we aren’t complaining.

Thank you for following us while on tour! We’ve had a phenomenal time here and we loved sharing it with you. Tack!


Midsommar’s Eve

Friday, June 23, 2017 : Sweden 2017

Rättvik, Sweden
June 23, 2017

Yesterday was a travel day to Rättvik, an idyllic town about 4 hours north of Stockholm. We are staying at a retreat center that is well know for it’s midsommar festivities.

Before we boarded the bus for Rättvik, we sang a lunchtime concert at St Jacob’s Church. This was the first time for many of these girls in a venue with such stunning acoustics and they were still talking about it through the evening.

These types of concerts are some of my favorite- we essentially just drop in and sing without any expectations for an audience. People come and go throughout the concert and it’s all very relaxed. I’m even able to sit and watch the concert- a rarity!

A longer-than-expected bus ride got us to Rättvik in time for dinner and rehearsal then it was lights out as we tried to make rooms as dark as possible. Still, some woke up in the middle of the night thinking they overslept. Not sure how the Swedes manage during the summer.

Today we learned all about the history and traditions of midsommar in Rättvik, starting with a short tour of a typical family home from the 19th century. Our guide was in full traditional midsummer attire- something we would see a lot more of later that day.

Of course, midsommar’s eve is not complete without flower crowns! The rest of the morning was spent collecting wild flowers and twisting them into wreaths the girls wore until they were almost completely wilted.

It was traditional Swedish cuisine for lunch. We’re trying new things! I will make sure they report back their findings upon their return home.

Next up, decorating and raising the maypole, which absolutely cannot be done without breaking into song. Nothing like a little Maliswe while you work! Once it was raised, an octet of fiddlers descended from the hill and we danced around the maypole with great zeal.

Post dinner (again, traditional Swedish food) there was a midsommar parade and another maypole raising but this time a BIG maypole. It took about a dozen people and at least a half hour to raise it.

But I think the highlight of our day was the dance party on the dock. There was enough Cupid Shuffle and Cotton Eye Joe to make even the priest join in. All days should end with a dance party on a pier in Sweden in the rain with Swedish sausages, just saying.

Tonight it is actually dark, unlike yesterday where it barely broke twilight, because of the rain. Hopefully that means a solid night of sleep for all.



Thursday, June 22, 2017 : Sweden 2017

June 22, 2017
Stockholm, Sweden

The sun is currently setting around 10:00pm and rising around 3:30am but it doesn’t ever get really truly dark here. The staff jokes that it’s about how dark it is when your mom would yell out the door “come inside- it’s dark!”

We may have packed as much into one day as we possibly could. Our morning began with rehearsal with some of our Swedish friends from Uppenbarelskyrken Hagers kyrken, who joined us later for our concert that evening. It’s just a little helpful to have some native Swedish speakers in the group to help us with the text- so many vowels!

A little schedule mixup led us to the park just down the street where our friends taught us some body percussion to accompany a song. Singing was followed by DANCING, learning the traditional Midsommar dances. They’re quite fun and silly!

After a quick fika (sweet baked good) on the grass we returned to rehearsal before enjoying lunch together at the church.

Our hosts have been so lovely and accommodating. The hospitality has been overwhelming. We, again, had fika following lunch! We love fika!

We trekked back to our nearby metro station to head out Lake Mälaren for a boat ride past Drottningholm Palace, the home of the Swedish royal family. Our new word is idyllic- everywhere so far has been idyllic. The boat ride was smooth and picturesque, definitely worth the walk there (which was idyllic, by the way).

Kerstin, our host choir’s conductor, invited us to her home for… more fika! We’re fans of Swedish sweets!

Back the the church we went for another rehearsal plus pizza (and fika).

We had our first concert of tour in their beautiful sanctuary. How lucky we are to sing in beautiful venues all over the world. PG alum Trish Mejilla joined us making our concert even more special.

I don’t think I have to tell you what we ate at the post-concert reception…

Today we have our concert at St Jacob’s Church then off to Rättvik for Midsommar!


June 20, 2017 – PG Sweden Tour, day 2? day 3?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 : PG, Sweden 2017, Tour

June 20, 2017 – Stockholm, Sweden

There’s some dispute about whether Sunday is Day 1 or Monday, but either way, PG is having a great time in Sweden! Of course the music making comes first, so we started the day with a rehearsal, getting ready for Wednesday’s first performance of the tour.

Meanwhile, our excellent team of chaperones went shopping and made a picnic lunch!

After rehearsal, we all took the metro into central Stockholm to eat that picnic lunch and to take a tour of Stockholm City Hall, site of the Nobel Prize Banquet, both its current location, the Blue Hall, which isn’t blue, and its former location,  the Gold Hall, which is REALLY gold! Perhaps one of the girls can tell you what happened to St. Erik’s head!








After the tour, and a visit to the ever popular gotta-walk-through-it-to-get-out-of-the-museum gift shop, some more music making, in CY verbiage, “Sight-Singing”


…some fun hanging around with our PG family…


…and some ice cream!

Wednesday will be a busy day, singing with our host choir, learning Midsommar songs, some more sight seeing, some more sight-SINGign, and our first concert of the tour!






« Page 1, 2 »

Pennsylvania Girlchoir’s 2017 tour takes the singers to Sweden for seven days of travel and singing in and around the capital Stockholm and to Rattvik, the traditional heartland of Sweden. Quick Facts:

Duration: 7 nights

Departure: Sunday, June 18, 2017

Return: Sunday, June 25, 2017

Destination: Stockholm and Rattvik, Sweden


Money: $1 = 8.85SEK  Swedish Krona



click to view the itinerary in a separate browser window:

Fast Facts & Itinerary Highlights - PG Sweden June 2017