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The sweet sounds of Sólskríkjan Kór

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Members of Sólskríkjan Kór, Winnipeg’s Icelandic choir.

PHOTO COURTESY OF KENDRA JONASSON Enlarge Image

Members of Sólskríkjan Kór, Winnipeg’s Icelandic choir. Photo Store

In the fall of 2009, an Icelandic choir was established in Winnipeg.

The idea for the choir came about at a reception held at the Icelandic Council General, Atli Ásmundsson, residence on June 18, 2009 in honour of the choir from Iceland which had performed the day before at the celebrations of Iceland’s Independence Day.

After listening to the Icelandic choir singing Icelandic songs most of the evening, two Winnipeg women of Icelandic background attending the reception — Dorothy Tytgat and Ingrid Slobodian — came to an agreement that it would be a lot of fun to learn these popular Icelandic songs. So they decided it would be great to establish an Icelandic choir in Winnipeg.

Therefore, in the fall of 2009, they contacted Kerrine Wilson, a well-known musician in the Winnipeg Icelandic community, and asked her to be the conductor for the choir. She agreed and the choir, Sólskríkjan Kór, has been practising and performing ever since. The choir sings strictly in Icelandic, although exceptions may be made occasionally at Christmas time where a few English hymns and/or traditional Christmas songs may be sung.

The choir meets once a week on Saturday afternoons at Betelstadur Housing Co-op (1061 Sargent Ave.) Usually practices begin at 1 p.m. and last about an hour and a half. Most of the participants are women of Icelandic descent with a few male voices sprinkled in. Presently, the choir boasts 21 members.

The choir has performed at a number of Icelandic functions in Winnipeg. Their latest performance was on Friday evening May 16, 2014 where the choir performed at the opening ceremonies at the annual Icelandic National League of North America Convention held in Winnipeg at the Canad Inns on St. Matthews Avenue.

Last fall on Oct. 27, the choir held its first concert, Autumn Celebration, at Neil Bardal Funeral Centre (330 Notre Dame Ave.), featuring artists P. J. Buchan and David Gislason. The event was a great success and future concerts are being planned.

On Jan. 26, 2013, the choir performed at Ljósanótt "Evening of Lights", a tribute dinner for Þrúður Helgadóttir and Atli Ásmundsson, Iceland Council General in Winnipeg at the time.

The choir has performed at other Icelandic functions in Gimli and Winnipeg, such as the Icelandic Independence Day, June 17 at the Legislative Grounds and will be performing there this year as well.

The next big step is to plan a trip to Iceland, the land where the choir members originate from, and sing for the natives.

For more information on how to join the choir or to ask them to perform, email arnyhhh@gmail.com

Arny Hjaltadottir is a community correspondent for the West End.

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