Norwegian choir meets with GF kids“Fjells.” “Place.” “Fjells.” “Feeyace.” Pronunciation of the Norwegian word for “mountains” stumped a group of first-graders at Century Elementary School on Tuesday, but it didn’t keep them from singing along.
By: By Jennifer Johnson , Forum Communications, The Jamestown Sun
Pronunciation of the Norwegian word for “mountains” stumped a group of first-graders at Century Elementary School on Tuesday, but it didn’t keep them from singing along.
A community choir from Sarpsborg, Grand Forks’ sister city in Norway, is celebrating its 40th anniversary by singing at a few select places from here to the Twin Cities. Twenty-five of its female members made the trip to Grand Forks, visiting Century, South Middle School and Red River High School to sing songs and spend time in an American classroom.
Choir members range in age from 7 to 60. Older members toured University of North Dakota while the younger members joined Sheyna Jensen’s first-grade class as students talked about the weather. Although they didn’t understand the English, they easily participated in a game of spelling out words by morphing their body into the shape of letters.
Later, the choir members stood in front of the class to perform a song, fidgeting in sweaters with a Norwegian flag on the back.
“We want you to learn a song we sing, and it’s music for breakfast, music for evening,” said Choir Director Anne-Sofie U. Holand. “It says, ‘We have music everywhere, and you also have music in your mom’s piano and your mom’s drawer.’ It’s a joking song, yeah?”
After a few run-throughs, the class and visitors took turns teaching each other a few other songs. The new visitors held special meaning for Century first-grader Ella Horverak, 6, and her brother Heine, 9, who are from Norway.
When the family arrived in Grand Forks for their father’s job at UND, the children spoke no English. They’re fairly fluent in the language now and hosted some of the Norwegian children visiting Tuesday.
Hoverak chatted happily with Celine Malmberg, 7, Sara Hansen, 7, and Ida Knold, 9, in their native tongue, teaching the girls a numbers game for class. Century first-grader Rylee Geiszler joined the group.
“What did she say?” she asked Silje Hovland, 19, one of the Norwegian women who watched the girls in class.
“She only got red cards,” Hovland said.
The group got along well.
Horverak, who is from Bergen, was pleased because Malmberg speaks like her cousin, said Hovland.
The choir wanted to tour Grand Forks after their high school band had visited a few years ago and gave positive feedback, said Molly Wiesen of Brekke Tours in Grand Forks, who arranged the visit.
The choir performed Monday night at the Gyda Varden Sons of Norway Lodge and will stop at Dalton, Minn., and the Mall of America in the Twin Cities before it leaves for Norway on Saturday.