Trent Bruner

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The Musical Life of Osterøy Print E-mail

November 2008 was a time for me that I learned a lot about the local music scene on the island of Osterøy and area.  Through my membership with Osterøy Spel- og Dansarlag (the local fiddle and dance group) I had the chance to see performances from three local groups and share the stage with them.

One point about my move to Osterøy in 2004 was that I was entering a location that was (and is) rich in local music performance and tradition.  But what Osterøy Spel og Dansarlag (OSDL) did not have was a piano accompanist for their shows and dances.  Although piano is not used often in the Norwegian fiddle traditions, I was warmly welcomed by this group in 2003 when I produced the Spikjespel album with their production team and was given the same welcome when I moved to Norway to join my wife and family.  The last two years have provided playing opportunities for me and experience working with the fiddle and dance group along with hearing three diverse musical groups.  It also showed me that if you play any genre of music well, any type of music will work well with a Norwegian audience in any concert setting.

Sunday, November 9th was when I played with OSDL member and past Norwegian national hardanger fiddle champion Håkon Høgemo.  We performed together with Hamre/Hjellvik Musikklag (the Hamre/Hjellvik Brass Band) at their annual fall concert at Hjellvik School.  I was also asked by the group's concductor, Roald Berg-Neilsen (who is also the principal of the Osterøy Music School) to select a Norwegian fiddle tune and arrange it for brass band, which was a first for me.  It was a positive learning experience in arranging for me, and in the end, the final result went well.  A special thanks to John Reinhardt MacDonald of the local Hjellvik newspaper Hjellvik nytt for his coverage and for providing photos for my Facebook page.

Sunday, November 16th was another experience for me with the full group of Osterøy Spel- og Dqnsarlag as we performed as host to Os kammerkor, a chamber choir from the town of Os, located south of Bergen.  From madrigals to a parody of the opera, this group brought a widely varied choral program to the audience.  But what was special for the local fiddle group in their portion was that one of its founders, Odd Tveiten, had just celebrated his 90th birthday earlier in November.  We honoured his birthday by playing a waltz composed for him (by Yours truly) called "Tveitenvalsen", and presented him with an autographed version of the original sheet music in a frame for him during the concert.

November 30th was also a special time as the Osterøy Janistår (Osterøy Concert Band) had their annual advent concert and played a blended program of traditional Christmas music and selected standards with featured wind and vocal solos.  Their band director, John Hellestad, has been actively involved in Norwegian concert bands for many years, composed and arranged many pieces for concert band, and was also a part of the musical team that assembled the music for the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.  It was indeed an evening to be in wonderful musical company.

Also of note for me, I have been becoming more active as a church organist for the Osterøy Lutheran Parish.  There are five Lutheran churches on the island of Osterøy, and two organists who cover the services on a regular basis. However, there have been times over the years that the two organists been either busy with other church duties or have their scheduled time off come by without many opportunites for either substitute or extra help for services, funerals and/or weddings.  I have been asked to learn how to play pipe organ and have been hired by the Osterøy parish as both a substitute and an extra organist.  It has been a learning curve for me, but thanks to the encouragement and coaching of church organist Liv Skoglund, she has helped me become more familiar with the instrument as the calls come in.  It has been a delight to learn a new instrument and be able to work in the service of the church.

In closing, for an island of just over 7,100 people, there are many musical activities that take place.  Should anyone come to Osterøy for a visit, you just might get the chance to enjoy an evening of music in one of many genres.  Maybe in time, I'll be playing in one of them when you come.  Until next time...,

Musically Yours, Trent