When the Swedish retail giant IKEA wanted to add Swedish flavor to the opening ceremony of its newest store in Kansas, it just made sense that it would reach out to Lindsborg and Bethany College.
The Bethany Chamber Choir performed the Swedish national anthem, “Du Gamla, Du Fria,” during the flag raising ceremony to open the Merriam, Kansas IKEA store on Wednesday, September 10.
“We considered it a great honor to be asked to represent Lindsborg and Bethany College at this event,” Mark Lucas, professor of music and director of choral activities at Bethany, said. “The continued partnership between Lindsborg and Bethany is so very important for the city and the college, and for our region.”
Annie Crandall, marketing specialist at IKEA, first reached out to the Lindsborg Convention and Visitors Bureau to inquire how “Little Sweden” might be able to partner with IKEA for its grand opening and Holly Lofton, Lindsborg CVB director, connected her to Bethany.
“We were so happy to have such a great group of musicians to represent Lindsborg and honor the Swedish tradition of IKEA,” she said.
Although some members of the choir were familiar with the Swedish national anthem, the choir had performed it once last year in concert, many were not and being early in the semester it needed to be learned in a short time. The choir was tutored by Charlotte Anderson, director of international studies at Bethany College, as well as accompanist Genevieve Bishop, who was familiar with it.
“I have been singing it with the Swedish Friendship Group for years,? she said. ?It’s amazing that they were able to learn it in just two days. On our way here in the van, they were saying it over and over. They did a terrific job.”
The Chamber Choir is comprised of the most skilled members of the College Choir, Bethany’s largest auditioned choral ensemble. Members include: Austyn Callahan, Haley Enyart, Ashley Glover, Laura Klaassen, Mark Klaassen, Alyson Krohn, Shayla Martin, Mike Mertz, Cecilia Ramsey, and Landon Slipke.
The IKEA event included raising of the Kansas and American flags as well as the Swedish flag and comments from local and state dignitaries including Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.
Story by Tine Goodwin / Bethany College