Vasa Drängar – Carrying on the Swedish Men’s Choir tradition in the United States
Vasa Drängar is a men’s choir in Atlanta, GA, a choir that draws on a rich and traditional musical history in Sweden. Founded in 1996 by our music director Göran Rygert, the choir members are predominantly Swedish or Swedish-American, although a few of us have no Swedish heritage. We just enjoy singing!
Our first performance on September 14th, 1996 was at the Nordic Lodge’s (of the Vasa Order of America) Annual Crawfish Party located at the North Landing Club House in Marietta. We performed under the name The Vikings. We later named the group Vasa Drängar. A translation would be “Young Men of Vasa”. Drängar means “farmhands”, but in the Swedish province of Skåne, as well as in Denmark, the word means “young men”. The famous men’s choir Orphei Drängar of Uppsala University was the inspiration for the group’s name.
The founding members of the Vasa Drängar were:
- Bruce Larson, T1
- Sam Linden, T2
- Gunnar Carteng, T2
- Sten Ekberg, B1
- Göran Rygert, B1
- Dale Nordin, B2
- Dennis Carlson, B2
Today Vasa Drängar consists of about 15 members.
Past performances include the annual Swedish and other Scandinavian holidays as well as other events in and around Atlanta.
- Valborgsmässoafton (April 30, also His Majesty the King Carl XVI Gustaf’s birthday)
- Norges Nationaldag (Norway’s Independence Day, May 17)
- Svenska Nationaldagen (Sweden’s National Day, June 6)
- Crawfish parties
- Julfester (Christmas parties)
- Julottan (Early Christmas Day church service)
We performed for ten years at the Atlanta Scandinavian Festival either with the Scandinavian Festival Choir or as Vasa Drängar. In March 2008 we participated in the Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, GA, representing Sweden at the final concert.
In December 2006 we went to Raleigh, N.C. for the first time to sing at their Scandinavian Christmas Fair and we will sing there on December 3rd 2011 for the sixth time.
In February 2009 we went to Charlotte, N.C. to sing the Swedish National Anthem at the Grand Opening of IKEA Charlotte and in October 2010 it was time to go to Alabama and sing at a Swedish Fest at the little town of Thorsby.