October 30 in Swedish History

1853: The men's choir Orphei Drangar ("Orphei farm workers") was established in restaurateur Osterberg’s banquet hall on Old Forum Square in Uppsala, Sweden. The city was isolated because of the risk of cholera, and little entertainment was available. First tenor Jonas Widén gathered three singers, conductor Oscar Arpi, leader of the Allmänna Sången (then) male choir, a pianist, and, to be on the safe side, a spectator. One of the pieces they sang was Carl Michael Bellman’s piece Fredman’s Epistle No. 14, “Hör, I Orphei Drängar,” which soon became the society’s call to attention.

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Their tours of Sweden are complemented by concert tours in Asia, USA, Canada and Europe. An OD recording of the Bellman song is online here: Hör i Orphei Drängar, Epistel 14 More info on Orphei Drängar, see www.od.se

1860: The first of two dissenter laws was introduced. The new laws gave Swedish citizens the right to leave the Swedish Church if they became members of a government-approved religious movement. The penalty for leaving the church prior to the new laws was banishment from the country. Religious freedom did not become law in Sweden until 1951.