We had the honor of speaking with Göran Rygert founder of Vasa Drängar in Atlanta, and Jay Lutz President of Vasa Drängar in Atlanta.
What is your connection to Sweden?
Göran: I was born in Småland but grew up on Öland. I have a Master’s Degree in architecture from Chalmers and moved to Atlanta 1993 after 33 years of work in Malmö and Stockholm.
Jay: We had a Swedish exchange student in my home when I was in high school which sparked my interest for Sweden. In college I studied abroad in Skinnskatteberg, Sweden. I stayed in Stockholm during the summer afterwards and worked. After graduating I received a Fulbright fellowship to do graduate work. I spent a year studying Swedish literature so now I speak Swedish and I even teach it.
Tell us a little bit about your organization, what does Vasa Drängar in Atlanta do?
Vasa Drängar is a nonprofit men’s choir which started in 1996. Göran was asked to put together a group and sing some Swedish songs at a crayfish event. “We found that people appreciated it and we like to sing, so we kept going since then, 25 years ago.” Vasa Drängar sings at many Swedish events and for other organizations. Vasa Drängar does not just sing in Atlanta, they also travel around in the United States to sing at various events.
How do you become a member in Vasa Drängar?
To be a member we require that people can read music.It is not a requirement but it helps if you have been part of a choir before. We sing songs in different languages, so you do not need to speak Swedish.
Do you have anything planned for the coming months?
We do not have anything planned right now because of the pandemic but hope to have something soon. We are currently planning an American Union of Swedish Singers’ big convention that will take place in 2023 here in Atlanta where choirs from all over the United States - even from Sweden - get together for a big concert.
If you want to become a member or want more information about the big concert that is planned, please contact Göran or Jay.