Bethany College, Mankato, MN, June 19 - 21
The HFAA presented two days (Friday & Saturday) of intensive instruction in traditional Norwegian fiddling and dancing. The HFAA held its Annual Workshop and Meeting at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato this year. Bethany College is a lovely, small campus with all buildings very closely situated to each other. Mankato/North Mankato is located about seventy-five miles southwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul. The community has a population of about 42,000 people. The college campus is tobacco and alcohol free.
Hauk Buen is a Norwegian national treasure. He is revered by lovers of folk music throughout Norway for his brilliant technique on the hardingfele, the rich expression and depth of his interpretations, and for his solid maintenance of tradition. Probably no other hardingfele player is as much in demand as a concert performer as Hauk. He comes from an intensely musical family. His father and grandfather were both fiddlers, and his mother was an accomplished folk singer with a vast repertoire of traditional songs. Hauk's brother, Knut, is also famed for his fiddling, and his sister, Agnes, is one of Norway's greatest singers.
Hauk was a frequent participant at fiddling competitions as a young man, but refrained from competing after his trophy cabinet became completely filled with large silver cups. He won the Norwegian national hardingfele championship twice. Now he is primarily a concert performer, at festivals and on radio and television. He also performs often at various European folk festivals. He has toured the US three times. In the summer of 1994 he taught at the Norrlandia Scandinavian Music and Dance Camp in Maine. Recently Hauk has worked more and more with hardingfele making, using the knowledge he obtained from his father, a noted maker, combined with his own highly trained ear. His instruments are more and more in demand. Several Americans have been fortunate enough to obtain Hauk fiddles. The HFAA was indeed fortunate to have him as an instructor at its 1997 Annual Workshop and Meeting.
The most prominent Hardanger fiddle player in the US, Loretta Kelley of Washington, DC is an outstanding performer and teacher. She began serious study of the instrument in 1979, when she made the first of many trips to Norway. Loretta has taught and performed extensively throughout the United States and has written several magazine articles about the hardingfele, and a book of tune transcriptions. From 1991-1994, she served as president of the HFAA, and in 1994 her playing was featured in an hour-long program on Norwegian radio. Her first recording, Dansekveld, was released in 1990, and she has just recently released a new CD, Amerikaspel.
Karen Torkelson Solgård, formerly a professional cellist, began to play the Hardanger fiddle in 1986 when taking a study trip to Norway. She was editor of the HFAA's Sound Post for three years and was once a scholarship winner at the HFAA annual workshops. Karen has been an organizer of the Twin Cities Spelemannslag and a musician with Norske Folkedanslaget in Minneapolis. When not playing hardingfele, she has also operated Solgård Public Relations.
The teacher of flat fiddle for this summer's workshop will be Susan Hauser who, in addition to playing the hardingfele, plays guitar, autoharp, recorder, dulcimer and various percussion instruments. Presently, she is teaching a folk instrument class at Viterbo College in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Susan joined the HFAA in the second year of its existence and says she was thrilled to learn more about the hardingfele. She is on the Board of Directors presenting and organizing this year's annual workshops.
Carol Ann Sersland who will be one of the two dance instructors this year, learned the Telespringar from her father, an expert Telespringar and Telegangar dancer who emigrated from Hjartdal, Telemark. They performed at the Smithsonian Institution's Folk Life Festival in 1974 and 1976. She began singing folk tunes (stev) while living in Norway. She served on the board of the HFAA from 1983-1992. Currently she instructs and performs with the Norske Folkedanslaget in Minneapolis. Carol grew up in an environment where Hardanger fiddle and Telespringar were a normal part of her family's social activity. She started dancing and performing Norwegian dances when she was five years old with the Sons of Norway Oslo 2 Junior Dancers. Her first performance of Telespringar was with her father at the first Nordic Fest in Decorah, Iowa. They danced to the highly regarded Hardanger fiddler, Anund Roheim. She has attended dance workshops taught by Olav Sem, Roo Lester, Karin Brennesvik, and even strayed into Valdres territory with Olav and Mary Hegge.