1998 Concert Choir to Lithuania and Sweden
In March the UNO Concert Choir, under the direction of Dr. Randall Stroope, made its first tour to Northern Europe which included the countries of Lithuania and Sweden. This trip was particularly significant in that it marked the first of many UNO ensembles that traveled to Siauliai, Lithuania. Before this trip, Siauliai and Omaha had already achieved a sister city relationship. It was during this tour that the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Siauliai University signed an agreement becoming sister universities. While in Siauliai the ensemble was part of the celebration of the new cooperation ceremony and other formal events. These events were interspersed with visits to the Hill of Crosses and other special attractions in and around the city.
From Siauliai the group traveled to other parts of Lithuania performing concerts at Klaipeda University as well as the main beautiful concert hall in the heart of Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania. After a week spent acquiring the numerous newly acquired friends in Siauliai, the Omaha delegation bid a tearful farewell as it flew to Stockholm.
The sadness of leaving Lithuania was replaced with the tremendous hospitality of the students and parents of the Adolf Fredrik Choir conducted by Bo Johansson. The group was met by their host families with whom they stayed for the next four days. What an incredible experience! Everybody was absolutely thrilled with the chance to spend time in this glorious city with the warmth and generosity of each Swedish family.
While in Stockholm, the choir performed four concerts. The concert sites included the Lans Museum, the Adolf Fredrik Musik Schule and the Church of St. Jacobs. The fourth concert venue was a very special treat, the Vasa Museum. This facility was constructed around the royal warship Vasa, built for King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, which capsized just minutes after leaving Stockholm on her maiden voyage on the 10th of August, 1628. More than 300 years later, Vasa was removed from the water in 1961 and is on display at the Vasa Museum located in central Stockholm.
This final performance brought to a close a memorable experience for the group and a desire to revisit the locations and numerous new friends made on this incredible journey.