Trent Bruner

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School, Fiddle and Choirs - Highs and Lows in Life and Music Print E-mail

Mid-May to mid-June 2014 has been a time of highs and lows for me and my family. After my father's passing on May 12, 2014, this meant travel back to Canada to help plan my father's funeral. Because of this, I had to withdraw from playing at Norway's 200th annual celebration of the founding of the Norwegian consitution which happens every May 17th; specifically those events both in the Village of Valestrand, Norway and with a Lutheran Church mission in the neighbouring hamlet of Hjellvik. I played a wonderful album release party that took place with Calvin Vollrath in Alberta, I had choir rehearsals for a Norwegian national choir competition, and my temporary contract as a school music teacher in Bergen was finished. Lots of things have happened over these four weeks.

After a time of remembrance May 19, 2014 in Canwood, Saskatchewan at the funeral for my father, Howard Bruner, and playing a wonderful CD release weekend in Morinville, Alberta with Calvin Vollrath, Patti Kusturok Lamoureux, Mark Sullivan, Daniel Gervais, Jeremy Rusu, Darryl Campbell, Clint Pelletier, Craig Korth, Byron Myhre, American fiddle legend Byron Berline and talented stepdancer Rhea Labrie (May 23-25), our family returned to Valestrand, Norway. It was a time of both highs and lows for me and my family, but the end results were that the CD release weekend went well and we have the assurance that my father is in a far better place. I am also thankful for my wife and daughters making the trip from Norway to be of comfort to Mom while I was in Alberta for Calvin's release weekend. Thanks to all again for their cards, e-mails, kind support and prayers at this difficult time for us. Please remember Mom (Gerda) and us in the days and weeks ahead.

On June 14, 2014, the Norwegian National Choir Championship called "Sing for Us" (Syng for oss) held at Bergen's Grieg Concert Hall. It was organized by the Norwegian Choir Federation with an international adjudicating panel made up of conductors from Great Britain, Norway and Sweden present. I was there singing and accompanying The Unneland Community Choir under the direction of Tone Lise Moberg. Many different classes took place that day, with the choir I worked with singing in the mixed choir a capella class and the pop music class. Although the choir I worked with did not win its categories today, they gave it their best effort and I am delighted to have had a hand in their development again this 2013-2014 season. Congratulations to all the choirs who participated and won their respective classes, and special congratulations go to the overall winning choir of the festival, Volve Vokal, a Bergen women's choir under the direction of Gro Espedal. This choir eventually competed at the World Choir Games in Latvia in early July 2014 and received third prize in the Women’s choir class for the entire planet! “Syng for oss” will take place again in June 2016.

Friday, June 20th was my final day working as a music teacher at Bergen's Langhaugen Secondary High School. The music teacher I have been temporarily replacing (Bodil Eldhuset) will be returning to her position in August 2014, which means my temporary teaching contract is now complete. It has been a very busy but fruitful year from September 5, 2013 until June 20, 2014. To be brought into a school year that started in mid-August meant I had a lot of catching up to do compared to everyone else who had already started the school year. But in the end, all turned out well at one of Norway's most respected high schools, especially with their acclaimed reputation in the Fine Arts.

I feel very fortunate to have made a positive difference in the lives of many students throughout this school year and have been able to meet new people, learn about the Norwegian education system and improve my Norwegian as a result. I am thankful to all my fellow teachers and students for their support throughout this school year, and especially to my Fine Arts department head Kristin Mjelde and my principal Marit Tokheim for their support and assistance in making this a positive experience for me. I will always appreciate their professionalism and their dedication to the education of many students with high ability and achievement levels. It is a pleasure and an honour to work with both of you and all of the dedicated teachers who do their best to make a positive difference as well.

In the meantime, the Norwegian choir season is taking a break for the summer and will resume in the fall. As for the month of July, I have been busy with other music related work and notation of new music books for Canadian fiddlers Bruce Artmitage, Patti Kusturok and Mark Sullivan, plus sheet music for both Welsh school teacher Louis Taylor with original school songs, and one client from England named Roger Maytum with a melody in the 1920's style played on an old theatre organ. But I have had some weekend holiday trips taken with my wife and family back in Norway before travelling to Canada this summer, so I have had some personal holiday time.

But do check the performance calendar on this page for a very busy August back home in Canada; both in Saskatchewan and Ontario, where I will be playing and teaching at various fiddle events. My choir conducting work in Norway will resume in early September after I return from Canada
! Thanks again for your kind support and I'll see you somewhere down the music trail!

Musically yours, Trent