Plans for a new Swedish choir collection

A new choir collection is currently being developed for the choirs of our New Apostolic congregations in Sweden. It is a fascinating project because cultures differ from country to country.

There are New Apostolic congregations everywhere in the world. And there is usually quite a bit of singing in our divine services. But not every country has its own choir collection. Often the songs that are sung are adaptations from earlier times or are part of choir collections that were compiled privately—as in Sweden.

Gerrit Junge is a Priest in the congregation of Wilhelmshaven in Germany and is the music consultant in the New Apostolic Church Northern Germany. As such he is responsible for the music of the Church under District Apostle Krause. Gerrit Junge, who is a music teacher by profession, is therefore automatically responsible for the music in the New Apostolic congregations in Scandinavia, which fall under the District Church Northern Germany.

The Swedish choir members are very active and creative, Junge says. There is a great hunger for stimulating music, he says. And before every choir goes and creates its own song-book, we would rather publish one official choir collection to be used by all choirs in Sweden. “And anyway, the content has to be put on a solid legal footing and structured for worship.”

Translations into Swedish pose a challenge

District Apostle Krause commissioned Gerrit Junge to head a committee who will begin work on the project. The new Swedish choir collection will contain an international as well as a Swedish section. The focus of the Swedish section will be on the Church year and on the liturgical order of the New Apostolic Church. Classical church music as well as newer sacred compositions will also be found.

The work on this project is divided into several stages. Over the first few months the committee will concentrate on text work and deal with and analyze the relationship of music and language. There are songs, so Gerrit Junge, that require revision or smaller or bigger changes. This will be followed by the actual translation into the Swedish language. This will likely be the biggest challenge and pose the most difficulties, because a good translation is already hard enough. But to synchronize it with the music notation is even harder.

New choir collection for Denmark

Gerrit Junge was able to gain some experience last year already with the new Danish choir collection that was published. Its main focus is on the German-language choir collection and uses the same numbering—even if by far not all the songs from the German choir book were used. The Danish choir book comes in a ring binder so that further sheet music can be added over time. Also this choir book includes a section with music specific to Denmark.

It also includes a section on basic music theory to give the Danish musicians the necessary grounding in theoretical basics.

What about Norway?

A number of brothers and sisters from Africa have moved to Norway over the last few years. They are highly motivated in their singing; they are rooted in their traditions and sing their own songs. A choir collection in accordance with European standards would probably be misplaced here, the music consultant says. At the beginning of 2017 a committee will be formed to find a nice solution for the choirs there.

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Peter Johanning
Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Music, Congregational life