Trent Bruner

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VIVA ESPANA! – ON THE ROAD AGAIN JUNE 12, 2016 Print E-mail
Hola! Greetings from Calahonda, Spain! I am here conducting the Tysnes Chamber Choir as they sing along the Costa del Sol at the beginning of peak tourist season. This 24 voice mixed choir received an invitation to sing this weekend in this community southwest of Malaga, Spain from the Norwegian Seamen’s Church, an international branch of the Norwegian Lutheran Church.

The choir has been asked to sing for two mini concerts of 35 minutes each of both sacred and secular music June 11-12, along with one Sunday afternoon church service June 12th. This has kept the choir busy with rehearsals and two warmup concerts that took place May 7th at Hosanger Lutheran Church on the island of Osterøy and on May 31st back in Onarheim, Norway in the Municipality of Tysnes before travelling to Spain this week.  I have been playing as a piano soloist for these mini concerts as well performing my own compositions “Peace Be With You” and “The Prophetic Word.”

The City of Calahonda is located about 30 minutes by car southwest of the City of Malaga along the Costa del Sol. Calahonda has many shops and restaurants of international cuisine to suit many tastes, and many beaches to swim in along the Costa del Sol. The majority of visitors are British, but it is common to find tourists from France, Germany, and Norway as well. Any efforts you make to speak Spanish is appreciated by the locals, but English is often used amongst tourists and employees in the local service industry. We have been able to get some sun, swimming and tourist time in between rehearsals and performances as well.

The Calahonda church compound, where the Tysnes choir is singing, has accommodations available for travellers which include hotel rooms, a cafeteria for breakfast and lunch, and an outdoor swimming pool for guests and staff.  Many resorts surround the church compound and are within walking distance of each other. There are morning and afternoon prayer times of 15 minutes each for those who wish to participate in addition to Sunday services at 4:00 pm local time. A minister and organist from the Norwegian Lutheran Church serve the church.

Sjømannskirken (The Norwegian Church Abroad) is a non-profit organization with a commission from the Norwegian Parliament to serve Norwegians abroad. 30 churches serve as social and cultural meeting places for around 900,000 visitors annually. In addition, seven chaplains cover around 80 countries visiting Norwegian communities and students. Norwegian oil installations in the North Sea are frequently visited by seven chaplains from the church as well. Their main office is located in Bergen, Norway. The church’s yearly budget is 215 million Norwegian kroner, with one-third support from the Norwegian Government and two-thirds support from private sponsors and companies. On an annual basis amongst the 30 churches, the church holds 1000 weddings, accommodates 2500 visits to Norwegian sailing vessels, makes 4300 visits to hospital patients, and holds 1800 church services. The church also has 230 agreements with various companies and universities to coordinate emergency response and crisis handling. The church represents a resource for both Norwegian and international staff in these matters. (Information from http://sjomannskirken.no/english/)

This tour completes the 2015-2016 season for the Tysnes Chamber Choir, with the 2016-2017 season beginning in September.  I’ll make a point of posting tour pictures with this article when I get the opportunity.

In other news, my work time as a substitute piano teacher with the Osterøy Culture School and the Bergen Culture School is complete now that the school year is finished. It has been a pleasure to help where needed and make a difference in the lives of many music students to help them become the best they can be. I would like to thank Frank Windt from the Osterøy Culture School and Mardon Åvitstand, Alf Bugge Gjerstad and Siv Sjøtun Høye from the Bergen Culture School for their support and assistance in making this a positive experience for me. I will always appreciate their professionalism and dedication music education. It is a pleasure and an honour to work with all of you and all the dedicated teachers who do their best to make a positive difference. Until next time, see you down the musical trail! Adios!

Musically yours, Trent