Singing as written: BYU’s Scandinavian choir to celebrate Easter with multilingual concert

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BYU is home to several foreign-language choirs, but few are as versatile as BYU’s Scandinavian choir.

The choir performs several shows each semester in as many as five different languages. Garrett Breeze, 25, a graduate from BYU who majored in media music, directs students who want to be part of choir as they navigate the challenges presented by singing in so many different languages.

“There are a lot of language choirs on campus,” Breeze said. “But I don’t think there are any that try to focus on as many as we do.”

The choir will preform an Easter concert next Tuesday.  The concernt will showcase both different Scandinavian languages and the students who study them. Breeze frequently challenges these students to apply their knowledge of different languages, asking them to “sing songs as written.”

“About half of the member of our choir don’t have any experience with the language at all. The other half are typically returned missionaries who are doing the (Scandinavian studies) minor,” Breeze said. “A lot of them (join the choir) simply because they like music or they are interested in learning more about the languages that we feature.”

Caitlin Hayes, a 20-year-old pre-illustration major from California, joined the Scandinavian choir after her Swedish 101 teacher recommended it to her.

“It was a way to get more involved with the language,” Hayes said. “It was a way to get a feel for the other languages and the cultural aspects of Scandinavian countries.”

Hayes is not the only student to seek out the choir for the opportunity to get exposure to other languages. Chris Rowley, a 22-year-old math major from San Diego, Calif. Rowley  served an LDS mission in Sweden and has studied Icelandic as a linguist. He joined the choir to get more comfortable with different languages while learning a new skill.

“I am not really good at singing, but I would like to get better,” Rowley said. “It is a way to practice my singing, to practice my language skills and to associate with other people who have an interest in Scandinavia as well.”

The concert will take place on April 15 at 7:00 p.m. in the University Parkway Center (just west of LaVell Edwards Stadium) in the third-floor chapel.

For more information regarding the event, visit the Facebook page and RSVP.

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