Members of the Music City Vikings enjoyed a magnificent concert by The Concordia Choir from Moorhead, MN, when it performed live at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN on Friday, March 13. This was the final tour for René Clausen who has directed the choir for 34 years, from 1986-2020.
Clausen is an American composer and the conductor of The Concordia Choir, and Professor of Music at Concordia College. His works are widely performed by high school and church choirs while his more technically demanding pieces have been performed and recorded by college and professional choirs. Among his many accolades is his recent recording, "Life & Breath: Choral Works by René Clausen," which received three Grammys at the 2013 Grammy Awards.
COVID-19 kept many at home. You can view this beautiful and inspirational concert live at the link below: https://www.facebook.com/concordiachoir/videos/135603367879499/
At the conclusion of the program, Dr. Clausen thanked everyone for their presence. He stated, “The circle was complete. The Concordia Choir is one-half of the circle and the audience is the other half and together we complete the circle. We come together to celebrate the artists and the artistry of the music and the performance. Thank you to everyone who helped make this concert possible.”
The mission of The Concordia Choir is to uphold a sacred choral tradition through the uncompromising and unrelenting collaborative pursuit of musical integrity and spiritual expression.”
- Members of the 1993-94 Choir “Soli Deo Gloria”
A breathtaking Norwegian “journey of a lifetime” by MCV member Evelyn McDaniel was shared with attendees at the Music City Vikings meeting Feb. 16 in Nashville. MCV is Sons of Norway Lodge 5-681.
Evelyn, who serves as Cultural Director for the lodge, shared her amazing 10-day journey across her homeland of Norway. Tracing their 2,500 mile trip on a map, she recapped the predominantly inland driving route she experienced with her daughter and grandson July 8-18, 2019.
Their journey began in historic Fredrikstad, Norway’s first renaissance city, established in the 16th century on the orders of King Frederick II. Then on to Oslo and the Oslo Opera House.
It was explained that in Norway, climbing a mountain feels like the most natural thing to do. So why shouldn’t this also apply to their opera house? Sweeping views of the harbor and Oslo, which sit at the head of the Oslofjord, can be seen from the roof of the Opera House.
Snøhetta Mountain was the inspiration for the opera house design, meant to look like a glacier in the Oslofjord. Snøhetta is the highest mountain in the Dovrefjell range, and the twenty-fourth highest mountain in Norway. It is also the name of the Norwegian architectural firm that designed the Oslo Opera House.
Evelyn shared beautiful images she had taken and told stories and a bit of history about the cities and villages on the road. The magnificent views from the bridges and the narrow, winding, and tunnel-filled mountain roads were endless. Tourist traffic, big RVs and road construction made arriving on time to the scheduled ferry-boat crossings a challenge for the travelers.
One especially memorable image was that of the Allmannberget mountain view from Evelyn’s childhood bedroom in the city of Oppdal. Evelyn climbed this mountain as a girl and she has a painting of it in her home in Tennessee. While visiting the city of Oppdal, Evelyn was recognized by a woman who had know her from school, when she was 10 and Evelyn was 12.
Musk ox and trolls reside in this cold region of Norway. Stories about and artistic images of the musk ox and trolls are seen throughout this region.
Evelyn shared that Norway has many unique places to stay overnight when traveling north to the Arctic Circle, where the sun never sets in the summer. Evelyn purchased a cap at the Arctic Circle Centre and explained the Arctic Circle is slowly drifting northwards several feet every year. The center is closed in the winter.
They took the ferry from Bognes ferry port over to Lødingen, north of Solvær, the capitol of Lofoten archipelago. Then they drove to the village of Borg to see the amazing reconstructed 83 meters (272 feet) Iron Age Viking chieftain’s longhouse, which is part of the Lofotr Viking Museum. Viking feasts are held in the longhouse, where visitors can experience what it is like to be a Viking. Visitors can watch demonstrations of handcraft, see the woodcarvings, textiles and other decorations, and immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the longhouse.
Many of the picturesque villages have grass roofs on their houses and sea gull nests on the window sills. Cod fishing is abundant in the cold waters of the Norwegian Sea. Cod are caught in the winter, dried on the drying racks, and then shipped out through the world. When not used for drying cod, many drying racks display colorful tee shirts.
The islands have world class cold water surfing destinations, with gigantic waves in the cold Arctic waters under the Northern Lights in winter, the Midnight Sun in summer. The ferry crossing from the Lofoten Islands to Bobo was four hours and packed with people and vehicles.
Evelyn had somewhat unsettling photos of the the Saltstraumen Maelstrom, the world’s strongest tidal current near the Saltstraumen Hotel in Nordland near Bodo. It is one of Norway's more unusual natural occurrences, four times every 24 hours at the 3km-long, 150m-wide Saltstraumen Strait. The tides cause one fjord to drain into another, creating the equivalent of a maelstrom or a whirlpool at sea. Adventurers like to boat across the strait.
The last stop in the journey was to the center of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Røros a mining town sometimes called Bergstaden, "mountain town" due to the copper mining. Evelyn worked at the Bergstaden Hotel when she was a young woman. The hotel is historic and looks almost the same as when she worked there.
Tusen takk to Evelyn for sharing her love of her homeland and providing an interesting and informative Norwegian travelogue with the Music City Vikings.
Deloros Bumpers, District 5 Zone Director, attended the February 16 Music City Viking lodge meeting to install the 2020 MCV officers. Dee is a member of Vikings of the Smokies in Knoxville, TN.
President Oscar Krosnes
Vice President Arthur Lensgraf
Social Director: LeeAnne Péters
Membership Secretrary Karen Kennedy
Cultural Director Evelyn McDaniels
Secretary Sharon Lassiter
Treasurer Ken Sersland
Publicity Team Diane and Caroline Acree
Auditor Sara Richter
Historian Gloria Kleve
And in 2021, the positions of Secretary and Historian will be open.
After installation, Dee offered materials and suggestions on how to promote Sons of Norway.
Five and ten year members of the Music City Viking lodge were also acknowledged at this meeting.
As the Sons of Norway enters its 125th year, Music City Vikings Lodge 5-681 reaches its tenth year, which it celebrated in the finest fashion at Julefest 2019!
More than 90 people gathered on Sat., Dec. 7 at Brentwood Country Club to enjoy and share the Scandinavian traditions of the Christmas season.
Evelyn McDaniel coordinated the event, from the beautifully decorated venue and Juletree to the delicious Scandinavian buffet, which included Norwegian meat cakes with lingonberry jam, mashed potatoes and gravy, cucumber and other salads, steamed vegetables and potato lefse. The lefse was made for all by the musical Christianson family.
Scandinavian desserts were provided by members and guests and included riskrem, kransekake, krumkaka, sandbakkels with lingonberry jam , almond kaka, Danish and Norwegian kringla, serinakaka, pepperkakker gutter, Swedish choklad kaka and more.
MC Carol Fidler welcomed everyone, led the singing of the Norwegian National Anthem and table prayer, and then told some of the 10 year history of MCV. President Oscar Krosnes was recognized for his years of leadership. The charter members present were presented 10 year certificates. A powerpoint of lodge photos and information was also played through the evening.
Membership Chair Karen Kennedy sang Take Me Back, written for the Music City Vikings lodge by MCV members Joe Sun (James Joseph Paulsen, D.10/25/2019),Tore Anderson (D.12/26/2015), and Ottar “Big Hand” Johansen. Take me Back was sung at the MCV Installation Celebration Dinner on October 31, 2009 by the Norwegian-American music group NorVille, which included Brent Moyer.
MCV members Brian and Nicole Christianson, daughter Elsie and talented musical friends sang and played guitar. Solveig Leithaug, a Norwegian recording artist, played the guitar and sang in both Norwegian and English.
The children present were treated to sheets of Scandinavian folk patterns to color, compliments of Julenissen, or Santa Claus. Some of the members and guests wore traditional Norwegian bunads.
It is traditional to end the evening by dancing around the Juletree and singing Norwegian songs.
God Jul og Godt Nytt År alle sammen.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.
MCV President Oscar Krosnes, Karen Kennedy and husband Gene, Evelyn McDaniel, Marty Hanson, Sharol Hopwood, Sharon Lassiter and Chris Hicks, SN International Director of District 2, were part of the audience at Douglas Corner on Tues., Nov. 19.
MCV member Ottar, Brent Moyer and friends traveled from Alabama and Florida to be part of a service to honor NorVille bandmate Joe Sun at the Flora-Bama Dome stage, Orange Beach, AL.
Ottar and Brent were on the program of the 35th Annual Frank Brown International Songwriters' Festival - Nov. 7th-17th, 2019 at the Flora-Bama. Click on songwriters to learn about Ottar “Big Hand” Johansen and Brent Moyer at the festival.
New songs performed by Ottar and the eight piece band were Blue Angel Highway and Starting All Over Again a good-bye to Nashville song. Ottar “Big Hand” is 70 and has had a 50 year international career.
The Music City Vikings enjoyed a great day at the Tennessee State Fair on Sat.,
In addition to a colorful and very informational booth, MCV members participated in the Festival of Nations Parade! The drumming and the flags and people from all nations were enjoyed by all.
Wendy Winkleman (pictured in the beautiful bunad) drove all the way from Corben, Illinois to join in the fun, attending the Festival of Nations and marching in the Festival Parade.
Wendy and her husband Bill are members of Sons of Norway Shawnee Skogen 5-689 in Corben, IL. Wendy and Bill have attended a couple other MCV events, including Syttende mai at Two Rivers Park, and also a meeting at First Lutheran Church.
Several Scandinavian fair goers signed in at the booth and took membership forms. A family from Iceland who have been living in Nashville since July joined also in the Parade of Nations.
Tusen takk to the Trollkretsen Scandinavian Dancers from the Vikings of the Smokies Lodge 5-677, Knoxville, TN., and also to Meg Mabbs who helped make it all happen. The group performed on the stage and were wonderful to watch!
Tusen takk also to MCV members LeAnne Peters, Evelyn McDaniels, Carol Fidler, Sharon Lassiter and Sharol Hopwood who graciously endured the HOT weather and demonstrated they were true modern Viking women.
The Music City Vikings Sons of Norway Lodge 5-681 celebrated Syttende mai 2019 at Evelyn McDaniels’ lovely home and manicured backyard in Brentwood, TN on May 18, 2019. Syttende mai is Norwegian Constitution Day, May 17.
Solveig Leithaug led the 25 gathered in the singing of the Norwegian National Anthem and the US National Anthem. Most of the group then picked up their Norwegian flags and paraded through the area despite the 90 degree heat, Norwegian flags blowing in the wind. Group photos were taken to remember the day and the blessing of freedom.
Everyone was ready for the delicious smörgasbord of barbequed pork, buns, coleslaw, baked beans, fruit salad, herring in cream sauce, flat bread, chips and dips, and a variety of desserts, including ice cream. Norwegians love to eat hot dogs and ice cream on Syttende mai.
In Norway, the Syttende mai parade is for children and graduating seniors, who wear red overalls called russ. The MCV gathering included two Norwegian teenage boys in our parade, one a Franklin HS graduate this year.
Guests Dale Higgens and Tim Sorlie, his 17 year old exchange student from Langesund, Norway, drove from near Birmingham, Alabama to celebrate with MCV. Dale brought delicious homemade Norwegian buns to share with the group. Tusen takk to Dale and Tim for spending the afternoon with MCV.
Of special note, MCV President Oscar Krosnes was not present, as he is recovering from hip surgery and could not attend the Syttende mai celebration. Oscar was missed for his cheery smile and his leadership. Members present signed a card for Oscar and wrote him messages. This was the first Syttende mai Oscar has missed since the forming of the MCV lodge 5-681 ten years ago.
Several new faces from the Middle TN area attended the celebration and they were warmly invited to future MCV meetings.
Holy Week was made even more special on April 17, when the members of Gospel Explosion Norway sang at Bethel World Outreach Church in Brentwood, TN. MCV member Carol Fidler, a pastor at Bethel, welcomed the audience, which included many MCV members, and introduced Norwegian songwriter and recording artist Solveig Leithaug, now living in Franklin. Solveig told the audience about the choir director and his vision for gospel choirs all over Norway. Solveig prayed in Norwegian before she introduced the 100 member Norwegian gospel choir, who were accompanied by two keyboards, two guitars and drums.
The choir members took personal and vacation time to join Gospel Explosion Norway & Kline L. Fossheim on a tour of the USA. Through the gift of song, they spread the joy of being a Christian in the world today. Kine sang Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee to open the show, followed by Take Me Back, sung by a native of Bergen. Most of the audience was on their feet clapping and dancing before the end of the song My World Needs You Right Now, followed by Take Me To The King and Don’t Cry, all written by Kirk Franklin. HIs lyrics proclaim," Why Do You Cry? He Has Risen! Why are you weeping? He's not dead." The concert was one of hope and peace for all nations.
Kaffee and a variety kakes, some frosted to look like the Norwegian flag, were served after the performance in the newly renovated Bethel Fellowship Hall. The audience and choir members exchanged stories and took photos together and talked like old friends.
The highlight of the kaffe was a spontaneous a cappella rendition of a Norwegian table prayer with many verses sung in Norwegian by the choir. It was a moving experience to be surrounded by the choir members as they sang with joy and love. The evening of gospel praise singing left the audience with a feeling of happiness and joy, and with many words of encouragement, comfort, love and hope.
Go to www.bethelworld.org, click on Media, then click on b Bethel special media where you will see a photo of the choir. Click on watch.
The following is the direct link to the concert. http://www.bethelworld.org/media/special-media/gospel-explosion-norway
An overflow crowd filled the fellowship hall of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Franklin for the March 2019 meeting of Music City Vikings Sons of Norway Lodge 5-681. Members of the church joined members of Music City Vikings for a wonderful program organized by member Ken Sersland, including music, history and delicious treats.
Those gathered were delighted by the Norwegian traditional desserts and fare, including lefse, lingonberries, waffles, krumkake, krinla, julekake, kransekake, rosettes, cheeses, and more, as well as sandbakkels made by Sersland himself. Many thanks to the all the MCV members who helped make everything so wonderful. Sixty happy people!
Sersland, who inherited a beautiful 100 year old heritage quality Hardanger fiddle from his father, opened the program with the history of the fiddle, as well as sharing anecdotes. To the delight of those gathered, famous luthier and member Brian Christianson then played several traditional Norwegian tunes on the fiddle, as well as one tune on a newer Hardanger fiddle.
Chief Ranger Jim Lewis from Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, TN. then presented a powerpoint with maps, photos, copies of letters and a poster about the Battle of Stones River, a pivotal Civil War battle and one that included many Scandinavian soldiers. Ranger Lewis also spoke on the topic of Norwegian soldiers and the Civil War.
Here is a summary of Ranger Lewis' interesting and informative talk: "Jim explained that the Battle of Stones River, which began on Dec. 30, 1862, was an overlooked battle with a twist. The men in the Wisconsin 15th Volunteer Regiment under Colonel Hans Christian Heg were known in history as the “Norwegian Regiment” and each Company had a Norwegian nickname. Company A was Saint Olaf’s, B was Wergland Guards, C was Norway Bear Hunters and D was Wolf Hunters, E was Odin’s Rifles, F was K.K.’s Protectors, G was Rock River Rangers, H was Heg Rifles and I was Scandinavian Mountaineers. The Scandinavians were immigrants and they believed in freedom and fought for the slaves right to be set free. Jim shared photos of letters from Norwegian soldiers. Knud Iverson Kikæ from Co.E penned a letter from Nashville on Dec. 20, 1862, describing the hardships of a soldier during war and the longing for home and family. Lars Olson Dokken was wounded at Stones River on Dec. 30, 1862 and left for dead. He laid still while the rebels stripped him of his blanket, canteen, sewing kit and his double explanation Catechism, which he missed the most. He laid on the battlefield for two days before he was found by Union soldiers. His letter was written in pencil from a hospital near Murfreesboro on Jan. 10, 1863. Three hundred men from the Wisconsin 15th Infantry died in the Battle of Stones River. Col. Heg later died at the battle of Chickamauga in Georgia on Sept. 20, 1863. The bloody conclusion of the Battle of Stones River was on Jan. 1, 1863, the same day the "Emancipation Proclamation” was signed by President Lincoln. The Union claimed victory on Jan. 5, 1863 and the troops moved into Murfreesboro."
Many thanks again to Ken Sersland and all who helped make this meeting a wonderful afternoon of informative and delicious fare!
Six Million Paperclips
Music City Vikings President Oscar Krosnes presented a program at the MCV Feb. 17 2019 meeting on the a Holocaust memorial with ties to Norway and to Tennessee.
Oscar has been to visit the Whitwell Middle School Paperclip Holocaust Memorial in Whitwell, TN. The creation of the memorial was the culmination of a four year long class in teaching diversity and tolerance. In order to understand the concept of the number six million, the students decided to collect six million paperclips. The reason paper clips were chosen is because a Norwegian, Johan Vaaler (1866–1910), invented the paper clip. Non-Jewish Norwegian citizens wore paper clips on their lapels or as jewelry to protest the Nazis sending Norwegian Jews and Norwegian citizens to concentrations camps during WW II.
The Paper Clips film was shown, chronicling this international project from inception in 1998 to completion in 2004. The students collected 27 million paperclips and made friends all over the world.
Authors and diplomatic corespondents Peter and Dagmar Schroeder-Hildebrand learned about the project from 92 year Lena Lieba Gitter, an old friend who gave them a printout of the Whitwell Middle School website and encouraged them to get involved in the project. Lena had fled to the US when the Nazis had taken over Austria.
Blue Sky, a Norwegian ship from Bergen, transported the German rail car found by the Schroeders across the Atlantic to the port of Baltimore. The American railroad company CSX took the rail car to Whitwell on September 11, 2001. The nation mourned the tragic events of that day, as did the students at Whitwell. They watched the tragedy unfold on TV.
One student spoke up and said, “If I had not known why we are building a memorial, I would know it now.”
More information is available in your local library, including the book Six Million Paper Clips by the Schroeders, and the documentary film Paper Clips on DVD. The book ...I never saw another butterfly...Children’s Drawings and Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp 1942-1944, edited by Hana Volavková, and the poem The Butterfly by Pavel Friedmann, inspired the butterfly art at the memorial are also interesting tie-ins to this memorial.
Oscar gave everyone paper clips to wear and had kleenex available for watching the inspirational Paper Clips film. This was the third time Oscar has shown the documentary film Paper Clips to a group. He is planning another trip to Whitwell and the Sequatchie Valley to revisit the Children’s Holocaust Memorial.