Twelve years ago, John Yngvar Syvertsen (Syver) at Ansgar college decided to bring his school choir to New Orleans. Since then, he has returned with a new group of students every year.
- By coming here, we gain new experiences and perspectives. It’s enriching.
John Yngvar "Syver" Syversen has brought his students to New Orleans twelve years in a row. . Photo: Per Andreas Windingstad Larsen
Over the years the choir (Ansgar Gospel Choir) has earned a solid reputation in the district, and made contact with plenty of local churches and congregations. These connections led to a tight schedule during the visit to New Orleans last week when the choir performed at several services, visited schools, and held concerts. For the Norwegian students the visits to New Orleans are an excellent opportunity to experience the origins of the music they perform.
- It’s a “culture shock” and a great experience, the teacher/conductor explains.
Makes use of the Seamen's Church
The choir cooperates closely with the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in New Orleans, where it both performed at a service and held a concert. The Seamen’s Church provides housing for all 45 students.
- We are very pleased to have them around. It’s lively, says Seamen’s priest Erland Grøtberg.
Besides bringing his students to New Orleans, Syver also aims to facilitate visits to Norway.
- We have invited choirs from New Orleans over 3-4 times, and would like to do it more often. The problem is funding, he says.
One thing is certain: This is not the last time Ansgar Gospel Choir performs in New Orleans.
- As long as I’m here we will come back, Syver concludes, as he scrambles to gather his choir in time for the next performance.