Trent Bruner

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The News from Bruner's Brood - March 2014 Print E-mail
Greetings to all! Choir conducting in the Bergen area and school teaching at Langhaugen High School in Bergen, Norway has kept me busy over the past few months, but all is going well in both worlds.

I’m glad to have the chance to learn first hand about the Norwegian music education system and Norwegian music pedagogy during this one year teaching appointment with the school and to learn about Norwegian music culture with the choir positions I currently hold. So it has been a while since I have written an update on my musical endeavours, but here’s the latest since September 2013.

As I write from a hotel room in Haugesund, Norway (located between Bergen and Stavanger on Norway’s West Coast), I’m listening to Calvin Vollrath’s new original fiddle tunes for his 2014 album release party in Morinville, Alberta this coming May 23-25. I never stop marvelling at his creativity and musical wit when I hear his new compositions for the first time. It is an honour to notate these tunes so a written record of a true Canadian music institution is preserved. This work will be done over the coming weeks.

But the reason I’m here in Haugesund this weekend is to conduct a Bergen women’s choir called ”Damekoret Toneveld” who are here to participate as one of seven choirs at a weekend choir festival. The host choir from Haugesund, the Haugesund Labour Union Choir, is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and invited this Bergen women’s choir to share in the celebrations.

Damekoret Toneveld is the only womens’ choir at this weekend festival. This womens’ choir has been in existance for 68 years. These ladies have been active in various community events in Bergen over this period, have entertained in various locations throughout Norway, and have toured internationally in Ireland, England and Austria. Most of the ladies in this choir do not read music, but they work often with practice cassettes and CDs to learn their parts, and come with a strong work ethic to every Monday night practice.

In addition to the Women’s choir I’m conducting, I am also conducting a young adult choir called ”Sounds Like Us”, a choir who has a first preference for gospel music, but also sings traditional church music and a selection of vocal jazz and light popular music. This choir rehearses each Thursday evening and is in its fifth year of existance. It has members from two local Lutheran churches on Bergen’s south side.

The third choir I conducted from September 2013 to January 2014 was on a temporary basis for Arne Sangforening (The Arna Mixed Chorus), whose conductor, Belind Lerøy, was on maternity leave. They enjoy singing a variety of sacred and secular music and are presently rehearsing for a musical featuring the songs of the rock group ”Queen” which will take place during Fall 2014.  This choir is based in nearby Ytre Arna, a village located east of Bergen. This choir has been in existance for 127 years and has a community that gives very strong support to this choir with sellout performances for their fall fundraising basar and two local christmas concerts during my five month tenure.

I still continue to accompany and act as a spot conductor for the Unneland Community Choir (with whom I travelled with to Ireland this past September) and still do some spot substitute work as a church organist and pianist for the Norwegian Lutheran Church on the island of Osterøy and in the Bergen area.

When I’m not out and about doing various music and teaching jobs, I’m still making time to practice fiddle tunes with the kids and make a spot appearance as an accompanist for Osterøy Spel- og Dansarlag, the local fiddle and folk dance troupe on the island of Osterøy. I do miss working in the fiddle scene a lot, but I am thankful to have the chances to work in other musical genres and use my teaching credentials to help make a positive difference in the lives of others.

I’ll have more information to share shortly. Until next time, see you down the musical trail!

Musically Yours, Trent