The Sound of ‘Musikk’
Recently, Luther was visited by singers from afar — Norway that is. During their Easter tour throughout the United States, the KG Singers stopped by campus for a visit and to perform selections of some of their concert repertoire.
The KG Singers is an 80-voice Concert Choir of Kristelig Gymnasium in Oslo, Norway. Choir members are between the ages of 17 and 19. Their school, the largest parochial school in Norway, is owned and operated by the Norwegian Lutheran Mission organizations.
The choir is selective and is widely known in Norway where it has presented several half-hour TV specials and recorded four CDs. They perform an annual Christmas concert at Oslo Konserthus, Norway’s most famous concert hall. They have previously visited the U.S. four times and given concerts in the Baltic countries.
Accompanist William Spade, the now retired founder of the choir, traveled with the group.
“We have a long tradition with Luther,” Spade said. “Some years ago, we had a period of about twenty years where we always had an exchange. One of your students came to our school and one of our students came here their freshman year.”
Though the choir had fallen out of contact with Luther for some time, the group reconnected through the choir’s tour coordinator.
“It’s been a long time with no contact,” Spade said. “This year, the fellow in charge of the logistics ... said, ‘I think you should go to Luther. I’ve got a contact there and you should go.’ And here we are.”
The music performed by the group includes Scandinavian, European and English choral music from early Renaissance to contemporary music, both sacred and secular.
Choir members were dressed in uniquely embroidered outfits which are distinctive of the regions of Norway. These national clothes are known as “bunads.”
The KG Singers are conducted by Øystein Weider, a well-known musician in Scandinavia. He has a master’s degree in music from the Grieg Academy in Bergen, and has worked professionally the last 10 years as conductor, arranger, composer and choral seminar coach.
Assisting him as a conductor is Marit Bjørkøy, vocal coach, soloist and conductor. She has a master’s degree in vocal music from the University of Oslo, with special emphasis on Norwegian folk music. She also has sung professionally with the Norsk Solistkor (The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir). In addition to conducting several songs during the concert, Bjørkøy also performed solos herself.
Following the concert, those in attendance had the unique opportunity of meeting the performers and directors.The visit allowed people of both countries to bond and discuss music and travel.
“We travel abroad every second year,” one performer said. “[The United States] is so nice, it’s really cool to meet all these nice people and see what a big country it is.”
Among the performers were a pair of twins, Peder Barratt-Due who performed on violin and David Barratt-Due who performed on piano. They, like their fellow performers, enjoyed visiting Luther.
“It’s very nice,” David said. “It’s such a big place with beautiful natural landscapes and very nice people.”