This is Staffan Runestam, 92 years-old, the son of Bishop Arvid Runestam and Lucie Söderblom. He is the grandson of Nathan Söderblom, who was the founder of Uppsala Cathedral Boys’ Choir. Staffan Runestam became a member of the boys’ choir in 1935. He was very fond of his choral conductor Fredrik Mellander, who was, however, a rather temperamental man. Mellander was often angry during their rehearsals. But the cause of his anger was always some adult who was not present. Mellander never scolded the boys, and they knew that he liked them. After every outburst of anger, he would buy a large bag of caramels and give one to every boy. Then each boy would sing for Mellander, and any boy who could sing a high c could take a second caramel.
Due to the circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus right now, I was not able to visit Staffan on the 100th anniversay of the choir. Instead we had a pleasant conversation by phone. The picture of us was taken a few years ago when Staffan contacted me to express his thanks for many very enjoyable occasions when he had listened to the choir. He also wanted to tell me that the boys’ choir was the best part of his childhood.
Conductor of the Uppsala Cathedral Boys’ Choir
Chair of The Church of Sweden’s Boys’ Choir Association