Bemidji, Minnesota—The evening began with Allsång at the Swedish camp at Concordia Language Villages near Bemidji, Minnesota.

The singing was interrupted by the sudden arrival of a chauffeur-driven limousine bringing unexpected Swedish guests to the site. Screaming began with shouts of “ABBA! It’s ABBA!” The paparazzi were there and fans soon realized the magnitude of the event with ecstatic enthusiasm that grew and grew.

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'ABBA group members' participated in a press conference about the new ABBA Museum in Stockholm, and then invited the language camp participants to a concert. The evening continued with different opportunities during which Swedish language learners could make an ABBA video, participate in karaoke with ABBA songs, create costumes in the ABBA style and have their pictures taken, participate in a trivia contest, and even talk to ABBA members on a direct phone line. All the evening’s events were recorded by ABBA’s official photographer Anders Hanser.

The Concordia Language Villages call their programs “a grand simulation,” and this evening program fit that philosophy exactly. The target language used by staff and participants was all Swedish and culture was at the core for learning; there was experiential and active learning that included tasks for visual/spatial, tactile/kinesthetic, intrapersonal, verbal/linguistic and musical learners.

The ABBA evening program drew to a conclusion with a final set of songs with dancers and fans savoring every moment before the limousine came to pick up Agneta, Frida, Benny and Bjorn, and whisk them away to their next engagement.

Participants in the program were two-week villagers and high school credit students from around the U.S. Many staff members who were once participants at the Concordia Language Villages have returned to teach; some staff members are native Swedes or work in Sweden. The camp program runs for four weeks each summer and encourages youth and teens ages 7 to 18 to register for one-, two- or four-week experiences. For more information visit www.concordialanguagevillages.org. To see photos of this program plus more, scroll down to the bottom of the web page to “village pages” and select Swedish.