Walpurgis Night

Men’s Choirs under Threat of Extinction

The tradition in Sweden to have a man’s choir singing at the festivities around spring – especially on Walpurgis Night, dates back to the 19th century.

But new figures show that the number of men’s choirs in the country has dropped drastically.

Swedish Radio’s programme “Mitt i Musiken” has carried out a study which shows that a third of the 174 participating Swedish municipalities report that their number of men’s choir have diminished over the last 10 years.

The survey also shows that it has become more usual for mixed choirs to sing at Swedish spring concerts.

Kjell Stjernlöf, the general secretary of the Academic Choir in Gothenburg, says that he cannot imagine a Walpurgis night celebration without a man’s choir.

“A man’s choir has a fine repertoire and a special timbre to its tone, which is definitely worth preserving,” he said to Swedish Radio News.

According to Gerd Román, of the National Swedish Choir Association, the most important reason behind the drop is that it has become more difficult for the choirs to attract a younger generation of singers. In order to stop the trend, focus must be laid on recruiting younger talent.

“We must draw the younger singers to the already existing choirs and educate more choirmasters so that we will get a larger number of choirs,” Román said to Swedish Radio News.