Herbert Blomstedt's Springfield, Massachusetts Connection

Herbert Blomstedt's Springfield, Massachusetts Connection
Herbert and Norman Blomstedt (1928)
Every time I would read a biographical sketch about conductor, Herbert Blomstedt I would be drawn to the fact that this internationally known conductor, who has served as music director of orchestras in Sweden, Leipzig and San Francisco, was born 12 miles away in Springfield, Massachusetts. While I knew that he had moved to Sweden when he was just two years old, I wondered if anything relating to his childhood remained in Springfield.

In some recent correspondence, the maestro informed me that he had returned to Springfield a few years ago with his daughter (after a concert given at Tanglewood). Although he located the Swedish Adventist Church, he knew that this was not the building where his father, Adolph Blomstedt served as pastor. He asked an old lady if she might recall his father back in the 1920's. By good fortune, she did remember him and directed Blomstedt to the original church building.

Blomstedt recalled seeing the church for the first time in eighty years - "It was a one story, low but quite long, red wooden building now occupied by a Pentecostal church. I recognized it from pictures I have seen in old family albums."

He did not take down the address, so at this point, the research fell to me. It did not take too long to locate the church but in finding it, I also discovered that the church had recently been in the news.

On June 1, 2011, several tornados struck New England. Four people were killed and hundreds were left homeless. One of those tornados struck the New Hope Pentecostal Church which, located at 364 Central Street, was right in the path of the storm. Fortunately, the church received a glancing blow and within a few weeks was reopened to parishioners. It was clear from the pictures shown in the newspaper that this was the Blomstedt's church. For more information, click here.