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.
Enjoy this video taken at Julefest 2018 of our talented member, Brian Christianson, on the Hardanger Fiddle.
Enjoy these images of Julefest 2018, hosted by Music City Vikings on December 1, 2018. Those gathered enjoyed festive decor, a traditional feast, folk dancing and singing around the Juletree, and the special treat of Hardanger and fiddle music by Brian Christianson, his family and talented friend. Special thanks to Evelyn McDaniel and Ken Sersland for all their hard work.
An interesting and informative Music City Vikings meeting was held Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, as recapped here by MCV member Sharon Lassiter.
President Oscar Krosnes introduced Jim Lewis, Park Ranger in charge of Visitor Services & Resource Protection from Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, TN. Ranger Lewis used a powerpoint with maps, photos, copies of letters and a poster when he spoke on the topic “Norway Goes To War.” Jim told us the Battle of Stones River, which began on December 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 name. Company A- Saint Olaf’s, B-Wergland Guards, C- Norway Bear Hunters, D- Wolf Hunters, E-Odin’s Rifles, F-K.K.’s Protectors, G-Rock River Rangers, H-Heg Rifles and I- Scandinavian Mountaineers. The battle was given, “NO, Respect.” The Scandinavaians 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 December 20, 1862, describing the hardships of a soldier during a winter 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 who was known as the bravest of the brave died at the battle of Chickamauga in Georgia on September 20,1863.
The bloody conclusion of the Battle of Stones River was on January 1, 1863. On the same day the "Emancipation Proclamation” was signed by President Lincoln. The Union claimed victory on January 5, 1863, and the troops moved into Murfreesboro.
Tusen takk to Ranger Lewis for his informative and well documented presentation. We will encourage our membership to attend the programs at Stones River Battlefield to learn more about the Norwegians who served our country during the Civil War."
Another highlight of the meeting: Membership Secretary Karen Kennedy awarded MCV member Barbara Fletcher a Special Recognition certificate from Sons of Norway in Minneapolis for her 15 years of membership in Sons of Norway. Congratulations to Barbara!
October's meeting of the Music City Vikings Sons of Norway Lodge 5-681 was fun and busy! President Oscar Krosnes opened the meeting and led members and guests in singing the Norwegian and American National Anthems, with music provided by Ken Sersland.
Oscar presented a $200 check from MCV to the First Lutheran Church, to be used for the continued renovation of the stained glass window in the church. The First Lutheran Church is home to MCV meetings. Pastor Pam Smith gratefully accepted the donation for the church.
Board members had also earlier signed a thank you card for Caroline Acree, who had created and continues to update the MCV lodge's new website, musiccityvikings.org. What a girl!
Members and guests were treated to a workshop on Kransekake, the traditional Scandinavian wreath cake, by twin sisters Sharon Lassiter and Sharol Hopwood. Sharon and Sharol provided recipes, tips, history, and more. This traditional 18 ring cake can be made with or without the molds. If preparing the cake without the molds, the rings can be made by rolling out half inch rounds of various lengths and placing them on circles drawn on parchment paper. Those gathered were given an opportunity to roll out dough and also help decorate the pre-baked Kransekake rings. The member-decorated Kransekake was then part of the Scandinavian refreshments enjoyed by all during the break. It was tasty!!
Another treat: Gloria Kleve’s niece Jane Yackley shared stories and photos, from Bergen to Oslo, from her 2011 semester in Norway. Jane lived in Bergen as an exchange student, studying biology. While taking classes at Universitetet i Bergen, she had time to go on many adventures, including a Hardangerfjord fjord cruise, train tours, hikes in the mountains and visiting the Tyssedal Hydroelectric Power and Station Museum. Jane volunteered in the kitchen at a student-run cafe called Kvarteret for two months before returning stateside. Jane was presented a Tusen takk gift for her presentation by her aunt, Gloria Kleve.
Fourteen members and guests were in attendance.
Music City Vikings members and guests were treated to a wonderful tour of the refurbished historic stained glass windows in the First Lutheran Church in downtown Nashville at its meeting Sunday, Sept. 23. This church is home to the Music City Vikings Sons of Norway Lodge 5-681 meetings.
President Oscar Krosnes was the tour leader and he had gathered very interesting information about the beautiful stained glass windows and paintings in the church’s Nave, Sudekum Chapel and Children’s Chapel, as well as other history, stories and about the restoration itself.
Members are thankful to Sara Richter, who served as the lodge representative to the Sons of Norway District 5 convention, held this summer in La Crosse, WI. Sara shared her activities and thoughts about her participation, and presented a nice photo slide show of the convention and the nearby area. (watch for more information on this in the future).
In addition to regular members, were potential new members Emilie and Tom Collins. They were members of the SON Vikings of the Smokies in Knoxville but now live in Hermitage.
A light pot luck buffet including Scandinavian treats was served and the soggy weather held off for a nice meeting.
The 2018 MCV Syttende Mai Celebration at Two Rivers Park on Saturday, May 19, was full of surprises for all in attendance. It was a hot day at 91 degrees, a good breeze was blowing at the park. Table cloths were spread. Coolers were packed with Ice Cream and toppings. A birthday cake, cookies, salted mixed nuts, cheese and crackers and many selections of fresh fruit were ready for later. The American and Norwegian flags were posted. There were about 13 folks in attendance by 1:30 pm.
It was time to start the Syttende Mai Norwegian Flag Parade from the Two Rivers Park shelter to the Pedestrian Bridge. Oscar carried one large Norwegian flag and the other MCV members walked with smaller hand Norwegian flags. It was a lovely one half mile walk to the beautiful suspension bridge over the Cumberland River. Evelyn’s Norwegian Flag umbrella was useful for keeping the sun off several who needed shade on the walk and on the bridge.
Karen Kennedy and her daughter were surprised by cousin Nancy Jeglum Call and her friend from California who met us on the bridge. Karen had told them we would be celebrating Syttende Mai and invited them to attend. The ladies from San Jose, CA, were delightful to talk to and they enjoyed watching the General Jackson arrive and go under the bridge back to home port at Opryland.
When the General Jackson was just below us, we could see the happy faces on the passengers, as we waved our flags with enthusiasm, and shouted “Hooray. Hooray for Syttende Mai.” The showboat captain gave us two blasts on the horn and that made us smile and wave even more.
On the walk back to the shelter, a car of young folks slowed and passed Sharon and Evelyn, and shouted, "Welcome to America.” That made Evelyn’s Day, as she is from Norway.
Sara Richter and Ken Sersland stayed at the shelter with the food and the Kransekaka provided by Susan Collier. Her friend Lil Tony Ramvik from Norway brought Susan the cake and Susan wanted to share it for the Syttende Mai celebration. Tusen takk to Susan and Tony.
An even bigger surprise awaited as we returned to the shelter, we found attendance had increased. A group of seven Norwegian tourists from Alta, Norway, had found us on Facebook and driven to the park together in a big rented van. Alta is known for views of the Northern Lights, which inspired the cascading architecture of the Northern Lights Cathedral, built in 2013. Check out the MCV Facebook page to read a note from Jens one of the Norwegians from Alta. Three of Oscar’s relatives from East TN joined the group. Oscar’s nieces, Cathy, Janice and her husband, Michael, were in town to visit with Oscar and other family members. The group at the shelter were playing games and having fun talking to one another when the participants in the flag parade returned.
Ken Sersland and his "boom box” led us singing of the Norwegian and American Anthems. Then we sang a popular Norwegian ballad "Take Me Back”, a song about the good old days in Norway by MCV member Ottar "Big Hand” Johansen, who lives in Norway and comes to Nashville several times a year to record and play in Music City.
Diane Acree and Karen Kennedy surprised the Hopwood twins with a birthday cake and magic candles for their birthday on May 19. Everyone sang Happy Birthday and pictures were taken. Tusen takk from Sharon and Sharol for making our 77th birthday special. (And many thanks to them for all their hard work making the celebration so wonderful!)
A happy group of 25 enjoyed the 2018 celebration of Syttende Mai. We consumed as much ice cream and other goodies we could hold. Conversations in both English and Norwegian could be heard as we enjoyed the lovely afternoon together with new and old friends who share a common heritage and love of the Scandinavian way of life.
Happy Syttende Mai! Several members of Music City Vikings met on Syttende Mai with 91 Norwegians in Nashville to celebrate Norwegian Constitution Day. Tour group leader Kjetil Sveistrup shared many photos, as well as those taken by MCV members Evelyn McDaniel, Sharon Lassiter, Karen Kennedy and President Oscar Krosnes. The groups met at the pool of a local hotel where the car club enthusiasts were staying. Everyone gathered with Norwegian flags and sang the Norwegian National Anthem.