Newsletter of January 2019
Bulletin de janvier 2019
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
ENTERTAINMENT AND TOURISM A FABULOUS CONCERT

One of the ‘added extras’ of this Christmas in Europe was the opportunity to hear an open-air concert – free of charge what’s more – given in the large town-hall square (Stortorget) at nightfall on Sunday December 10th. This was a dazzling event with international stars such as Barry Banks, Hannah Holgersson, Triple and Touch, as well as local artists such as Sofia Svensson and the Musikhögskolan choir.

Around 25,000 people shook and waved their candles during this concert, which was a joyous mixture of traditional tunes, sketches and pieces from the classical repertoire. A fine musical programme, in good taste but highly eventful, with giant screens, light shows and participation from the enchanted audience who had no hesitation in singing, laughing and applauding. It was a truly happy moment shared by everyone; and many Christmas in Europe participants declared that they would remember it as one of the real highlights of their stay.

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EXCURSION TO THE SWAMPEN AND TO ANNABODA

The day for the excursion was Tuesday December 12th. The participants were treated to a fine trip, and were divided for the purpose between two buses. First they climbed up to the viewing platform of the water tower on the outskirts of Orebrö to admire the view over the whole region. An exact replica of the water tower – with a capacity of 9,000 cubic metres – is located in Saudi Arabia.

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A few kilometres further on came a long visit to Annaboda, where nature lovers are in their element in all seasons of the year. The participants had the opportunity of taking a beautiful walk around the lake on a freshly tarred path; during the walk they could all play a game to test their knowledge. The trip ended with a picnic in an enormous tepee where a fire blazed, ready to cook the sausages for lunch, and where everyone received a pack lunch, soup and red fruits (delicious!) – all of it prepared by the school’s students.

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A TIME FOR PRAYER

In the evening the participants made their way to a small church, the Gallersta Kyrka, for a moment of prayer led by Bengt Ericsson, the pastor of the church. The pastor spoke not only of the history of the church, which dates from the 11th century and has a 15th century pulpit, but also of the deep meaning of Christmas. He wished the participants a pleasant stay, then during the celebration of mass a group of three students sang to the accompaniment of a guitar; indeed the whole congregation sang – or at least tried to sing – local sacred songs in Swedish.
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MEDIEVAL EVENING

Not far from the church, in the Gallersta Forngard, a change of scene: a medieval evening had been organised entirely by the school’s students. To put you in the mood as soon as you stepped off the bus there was a large fire on which there simmered a pot of mushroom soup – it was quite delicious, and was served in earthenware bowls. In the entrance hall each guest was handed a sackcloth bag and a rope for a belt, the idea being to turn them into monks before they took their seats at the candle-lit tables. And there was a menu to match: marinated haunch of pork, marinated vegetables, chicken drumsticks cooked in honey, blueberry cake and as much mead as you could drink! At the end of this highly original meal those delegations who had not yet presented their cultural contribution now had the chance to do so, in a most relaxed atmosphere, the evening’s entertainment being rounded off with a wild conga.

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SANTA LUCIA AT SCHOOL

On Wednesday December 13th, as our stay entered its last day, the feast of Santa Lucia was celebrated at the school, in the large gymnasium. In front of an audience of several hundred students a procession led by ‘Santa Lucia’ entered the hall and made its way onto the platform, where the choir sang several songs appropriate to the event. It was a sober and simple ceremony, a blend of tradition and religion, an event that is very popular in Sweden where the feast of Santa Lucia is a real institution.

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GUIDED TOUR OF THE VIRGINSKA SKOLAN

Aside from all this entertainment, Sheila Nordström had offered to give anyone interested a guided tour of the school and its various component parts. The small group led by Sheila were delighted with this visit because it gave them an idea of all the installations available to the teachers and students. It must be said that this former shoe factory turned into a school would be the envy of many a teacher. Sheila showed the group the whole school ‘from top to bottom’, explaining to them the various parts of this living maze which brings together around 1,600 students.

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THE OLD TOWN AT THE GALLOP

Guided by students from the school, the participants who so desired had another chance to visit the old quarter of Orebrö by night, to discover the few remaining buildings they had not yet seen - for example the imposing castle (Orebrö Slott) which houses the tourist office, or the ‘Wadköping’, an open air museum in which old wooden houses have been saved from demolition. The tour ended with the theatres located by the castle. The icing on the cake was seeing a march-past of musicians and a Santa Lucia sprawled on a cart!

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2nd to 5th December 2015 in Diekirch
8th to 12th December 2014 in Prešov
8th to 13rd December 2014 in Marseilles
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