THE NEWS FROM BRUNER’S BROOD – APRIL 15, 2023
ARNE HØYLAND – NORWEGIAN SONGWRITER, HISTORIAN AND ENVIRONMENTALIST Hi, everyone!
I trust that all of you had a Happy Easter when you read this latest post. I have some performance dates for the summer back home in Canada that will be announced in the coming weeks, but since the organizing committees wish to make these announcements first, I’ll honour their wishes. When they are announced, they will be posted in my performance calendar. As I promised last month, here is an update on my musical journeys for www.trentbruner.com and my Facebook pages. Since the Norwegian Easter Break happens before the Easter long weekend, choir rehearsals and piano teaching took a break last week. My wife and our two daughters were on a break from school as well, which allowed time for rest, catching up on homework and making visits with family in the Bergen area. Church work was busy for me as I had four services to play over Easter from Maundy Thursday to Easter Monday. Hannah Moira played on violin with me in church over the Easter season three times, for which I’m glad and thankful as a father, as well as others in the congregations where we have played together. I also found time to write two new fiddle tunes for a future fiddle book and notate new fiddle tunes for the Master of the Metis Fiddle, John Arcand. But for me, choir work behind the scenes continues on a major project with the Alvidt-Manger Singers from regional songwriter and performer Arne Høyland. Arne Høyland (b. 1953) is a retired school teacher who has taken a strong interest in regional history, archiving of local history and the environment. In a quiet, humble and unassuming way, he has had an active presence as an environmentalist, winning regional awards from environmental groups who cooperatively and politely support his efforts, which have received positive publicity. His YouTube postings include a portion of his historical interviews, original songs and background videos on life in North Hordland. All of these environmental, historical and archival efforts have been done on his own time for free, which makes his accomplishments very remarkable. Arne grew up in a musical home in Eikangervåg, northwest of Bergen, that was focused on church and evangelistic life, meaning hymns and spiritual songs were a major part of his upbringing. He has also been a veteran dance band musician who has played many dances in the Bergen region through the years and continues to appear as a solo artist on vocals and acoustic guitar. His musical stylings can be considered a cross between Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, rhythm and blues and traditional country. His music, historical work and environmental activities were also documented over 20 years ago by NRK, Norway’s state broadcaster, bringing some of his original songs to the Norwegian public. Many of his original songs have been composed and presented with a combination of relaxation, humour and seriousness in his observations of local Norwegian society. I first met Arne when he was a guest entertainer for the Alvidt-Manger Singers’ fall fundraising bazar in early November 2021. I learned later that he performed with this same choir in 2017 as a guest soloist. The audience was warm towards him, attentive and enjoyed a few laughs when he performed that Saturday afternoon. At that time, I also met some of his friends and followers, which would eventually lead to an invitation to work with this special project in January 2022 by Petter Lexander, a friend of Arne’s, who strongly believed that Høyland’s songs should be performed in concert with a stage band, guest soloists and at Arne’s request, the Alvidt-Manger Singers as the backup vocalists. Since I am their choir conductor at the time of this article, it was easy for me to say yes of this project, since the choir was looking for new repertoire and a new concert program. What I didn’t expect was that I would become the band pianist, the one who would notate 30 of Arne’s songs for the project (since they had never been notated before), and become musical director for the project as well! This has meant many hours at home quietly working on notating the melody lines for these songs, creating choir arrangements for the background vocals, listening to rehearsal recordings and organizing all 30 songs for the release of a music book that will happen with the concerts in September 2023. It has also meant work behind the scenes in fine tuning (and sometimes adjusting) arrangements for the choir, the four solo vocalists and the stage band of which I am part! Be assured that I’m being paid for this work, so this will all be worth it in the end. Looking ahead to September 2023, the music book lays the foundation for the concert. 22 of these songs will be selected for performance. 12 of these songs will involve Alvidt-Manger as the backup vocalists. I cannot make the concert list public because there is a contest on Nordhordland musikkteater’s Facebook page with links of Arne’s YouTube videos to the songs that will be in the music book. For those in Norway who can attend the shows, they will be asked to guess which songs will be performed and submit entries for a draw by the organizing committee, but they have to follow the Facebook page to make their concert list! The first prize is tickets for two to attend the concert of their choice. The second prize is a printed copy of the music book itself. Ordering details for this music book will be released in the coming months before the first concert. In addition to the Alvidt-Manger Singers and myself, the stage band includes Jarle Hanstveit on five row button accordion, Kristoffer Foldøy on bass, Olvar Bulko on drums and Jon Martin Skauge on guitars. Vocal soloists confirmed are Rune Garmann, Bjørn Tore Henriksen, Anveig Solberg, Else Irene Westervik and Petter Lexander.
I’ll have more musical information to share when it happens. Until next time, see you somewhere down the musical trail! Musically Yours, Trent