With their first concert successfully behind them, the Georgia Boy Choir members were eager to meet the day on Saturday morning. After a restful final evening in the homes of their Host Families (and warm embraces upon parting), they set off for Roskilde, a quaint town about an hour’s drive west of Copenhagen. Roskilde is home to a marvelous Viking Museum, and also to a magnificent cathedral. The Choir’s first stop was the church. The Roskilde Cathedral contains the graves of all of the past monarchs of Denmark. Their elaborate coffins lie on display in large rooms which line either side of the nave. When asked by the Cathedral staff to sing, it was in one of these chambers where the boys stood and performed Pavel Tchesnekov’s haunting “Spaseniye Sodelal.” The room acted as a megaphone, projecting the glory of their sound throughout the immense cathedral. It was a spine-chilling moment for all who were lucky enough to be there.
The harbor is only a short distance from the church and it was here that in 1070 AD at least five ships were deliberately sunk to block an important passage and protect the town from marauding invaders. Those ships and others have been discovered and excavated and are now on display at the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum. The boys really enjoyed seeing these ancient boats and being able to climb aboard working replicas of Viking Ships.
Soon it would be time for them to board a boat of an entirely different variety – an enormous cruise ship which would carry them through the North Sea to Oslo. But before boarding, a short stop to see the Little Mermaid Statue was necessary. No trip to Copenhagen would be complete without seeing the Little Mermaid. Only 4 feet high she is a symbol of the great city, commemorating not only their favorite son, Hans Christian Andersen, but also the city’s long relationship with the sea. The Danes are very fond of their Little Mermaid.
The MS Pearl is a huge cruise ship. In fact, when it was built in 1989, it was the largest largest in the world. It was thrilling for the boys to be on the upper deck as she pulled away from the city of Copenhagen, and a wonderful delight the next morning to watch her pull into port in the city of Oslo, Norway.
It was straight from the boat to the Oslo Cathedral for the Georgia Boy Choir, for they had a job to do. They were scheduled to sing for the High Mass there in a little less than 1 hour. So the young tourists became professionals once again as they entered the Cathedral with its vividly-colored painted ceiling. They listened attentively as they were introduced to Magne Draagen, the organist and director of the Cathedral’s Boy Choir (the Oslo Domgutteskor) and were given instructions on their participation in the service. Following the procession, the Georgia Boy Choir led the congregants in worship as they sang the Plainsong (Gregorian Chant) setting of the Mass, the Missa de Angelis. They sang with unusual clarity and unity as they chanted the ancient song.
Following the service, the boys enjoyed an afternoon of sightseeing around Oslo. They visited the Ski Jump Center and the Kon-Tiki Museum where they learned about Thor Heyerdahl and his adventures.
In the evening they had the second half of the day’s double header of performances, a Vespers service back at the Cathedral Here the Choir turned in one of their finest performances ever. Their beautiful in-tune singing was infused with emotion and passion. It was a particular pleasure for the Georgia Boy Choir and the Oslo Domgutteskor to join together to sing the American Folk Hymn, Down In the River to Pray to conclude the service. The two groups now united in song, produced a splendid sound, before Georgia Boys went home to spend the night with the Oslo boys.
The next day, Monday was bright and clear – warm for Norway standards (mid 60’s Fahrenheit). The Choir made good use of it by spending the majority of the day outside, playing. A trip to Vigeland Sculpture Park included some soccer and Frisbee playing. They enjoyed their lunch aboard a ferry that sails around the fjord as public transportation to the many islands. The island the boys explored contained an old fort with cannons, and the ruins of an ancient monastery which made a great site for an extended game of Manhunt.
In the morning, after a restful night of sleep, there were once again warm embraces and the two groups bid farewell to each other. But part they must for the Georgia Boy Choir has an appointment for another performance tonight in Sweden.
The Georgia Boy Choir 2012 Scandinavian Tour Team.