Sjung till Herrens ära. Sveriges Kyrkosångsförbund i historiskt perspektiv
The Church of Sweden Choral Association (Sveriges Kyrkosångsförbund, SKsf)
Established in 1925, The Church of Sweden Choral Association is an independent organization within the Church of Sweden (Evangelical Lutheran), cooperating closely at national levels with the Church of Sweden. In Sweden, church choir singers comprise by far the biggest group of lay persons actively participating in the Church of Sweden. With some 80,000 members of all ages from all over Sweden, the Church of Sweden Choral Association is Sweden’s largest choral association.
Comprised of local or regional associations, usually formed at the diocesan level (whose membership in turn comprises either individual members of clergy, church musicians and choristers or choirs), the national association’s primary task is to support church choirs (both conductors and singers) from all over the country, through activities designed to further develop and inspire choral music in the Church of Sweden. To that end, the national association has organized choral festivals for adult church choirs since 1927, currently at three locations every third year. The Association develops and produces inspirational materials and new orders of service for different types of church services for the church year. It also regularly commissions both new sacred choral music and new choral arrangements by contemporary Swedish composers and writers, to broaden and deepen the repertoire of church choirs. Courses directed at both conductors and singers are arranged, as well as an annual conference for clergy, church musicians, church administrators and church politicians, directing attention towards new trends and theological developments.
In SKsf there are many member organizations with special tasks in the field of worship life in the Church of Sweden.
SKsf nowadays finds it necessary to strengthen the activity of young people. Therefore, a Church festival for young singers is organized as well as other activities specially directed to young singers. As a result of these efforts, SKsf has also established The Church of Sweden’s National Youth Choir, founded in October 2006.
Since 1990 SKsf edits a journal, Körjournalen. Earlier there have been different attempts to cooperate with other journals. The first little magazine, Kyrkosångsförbundet, existed 1925–1966.
During the last 30 years, SKsf has broadened its activity by celebrating different important ”years” and editing a lot of materials, books and music. It has in many ways been a very close and inspiring relationship with the church study organization, SKS.
SKsf now has to handle a new situation, because of the growth of the choir life in Sweden. It is a situation of competition, which was not known some decades earlier. An older problem is the lack of men in the choirs and the lack of boys in the children’s choirs. SKsf has in 1996 formed an organization of boys, Sveriges gosskörförening. Financially, SKsf as a national association is dependent on an annual collection, which is often called into question by the Church authorities. Nowadays there are also some discussions about the role of Church music in parish life, not least how to express its standing in the Church Ordinance and in local documents.
The chairman of SKsf, Lena Fagéus, gives her point of view about the future: It is a particular challenge to defend traditions and at the same time work for renewal.
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