2021 Online Workshop

Event Descriptions

Our 2021 Workshop took place online, July 22-25, and featured a full program of classes, seminars and social activities.

Samspel Sessions. Samspel means “group play” and anyone can join. Using our Samspel Tune Book, play or sing along with the leader. Dancers can dance along.

Introduction to the Hardingfele. For those new to the instrument, Mira will present a complete and thorough overview of how to tune and begin playing traditional Norwegian folk tunes. Ornamentation will be discussed as well as general fiddle techniques such as bow strokes.

Meet and Greet. Bring your own beverage or snacks and come join fellow workshop attendees for conversation and re-connecting. There may be a spontaneous busker or two....

Fiddle Student Welcome & Introductions. A decades-long tradition at the in-person workshop. Workshop attendees briefly introduce themselves to those fellow fiddlers assembled. A great way to network and find other hardingfele enthusiasts in your area.

Luthier Panel: Presentation and Discussion. Six of America’s hardingfele makers will discuss the building, craftsmanship, and care of the instrument. 

   Lynn Berg – Eugene, OR

   Maggie Gerty – Lindstrom, MN

   David Golber – Boston, MA

   Bud Larsen – Brainerd, MN

   Karen Rebholz – Madison, WI

   Bevan Wulfenstein – Moroni, UT


Luthier Shop Hours. You are invited to a tour of our stateside fiddle makers’ shops. Everyone is welcome to come and go throughout the hour, visit, and ask questions. Each luthier will present a short demonstration on a topic of their choice.

Advanced Hardingfele Class. Kenneth de Gala will present tunes from the Telemark/Numedal regions of Norway. The tunes will be challenging both rhythmically and technically (e.g. double-stops).

Intermediate Hardingfele Class. Sivert Andreas Holmen will teach several tunes from the Valdres region of Norway at the intermediate level. This level is for those fiddlers who have already played fiddle or violin for at least one year.

Culture Session with Vegar Vårdal: The 3-Beat Hardingfele Music & Dance Traditions. This lecture/demonstration by the knowledgeable and vivacious Vegar will be a highlight of the weekend. Presented for singers, dancers and fiddlers alike, several of Norway’s bygdedans and music traditions will be explained and shown with clarity.

Beginning Level Hardingfele Class. Mira Dickey will patiently teach and demonstrate her tunes. One or two simple tunes will be taught at a slower speed. 

Norwegian Sing-Along. Join Carol Sersland for an enlivening evening of sing-alongs. Geared towards musicians of all kinds, Carol will lead the group in some popular, well-known Norwegian songs, such as the Takk for maten song, and more!

Telemark Dance Class. Our featured district this year! The telespringar and telegangar couple dances will be taught by Norwegian master dancers  Kristian Ihle Hanto & Borghild Hardang Hanto

Dance Party with Lightning Round. Come ready to dance, listen and maybe even share a tune or two during our party! We'll be creating a list of willing musicians eager to contribute to an exciting evening. 

Singing Class. Join Cait Vitale-Sullivan in learning how to sing driving, exciting tunes for dancing. Cait will teach two trall songs, a Reinlender and a Halling/Gangar, and will talk about tips and tricks for creating wonderful sung music for dancing. This class is great for dancers and instrumentalists too!

Grand March. Grab your instruments: fiddle, guitar, cow horn, voice, spoons, kazoo or whatever and play along. Another longtime tradition at our workshop that we cannot forget as we prepare to attend the Gala Concert. Don your bunads and march around your own living room, why not?

Gala Teacher Showcase Concert. Our festive workshop concert featuring our amazing staff. This will be a prerecorded YouTube premiere event that will be released during the workshop. Connect with others during the concert in the YouTube chat in a virtual "green room". The concert will be dedicated to the memory of Karin Brennesvik and Hauk Buen, two pillars of Telemark tradition and former master teachers at our workshops.

Teacher and Presenter Biographies

Kenneth de Gala

Kenneth de Gala, from Kongsberg, studied with Anne Svånaug Blengsdalen from around the age of 8 and got thoroughly grounded in the tradition of Gunnar Dahle from Hovin in Telemark. In addition Kenneth learned many tunes in Numedal tradition as a member of the Kongsberg Spelemannslag. Kenneth also learned tunes from both Telemark and Numedal through his studies with the Telemark/Numedal fiddler Øystein Ellefsen. In later years Hauk Buen has been his great role model, in learning tunes in the tradition of Løndal and Fykerud. Kenneth has won prizes for being “outstanding fiddler’ at both local competitions and at the Landskappleik. He is also a sought-after instructor, and has taught children and teens at the Kongsberg culture school for many years. Kenneth has visited America numerous times since 2005, as teacher, spelemann for dance courses and as concert fiddler. Kenneth will teach Advanced Hardingfele.

Sivert Andreas Holmen

Sivert Andeas Holmen, who grew up in Aurdal in Valdres, started playing hardingfele at the age of 7. In his youth, Jan Beitohaugen Granli was his most important teacher. Vegar Vårdal and Håkon Hogemo are two of his important later mentors. Through these spelemenn, Sivert came to be aware of tunes by Eivind Groven and the unique listening tunes from Valdres. Sivert won two special prizes awarded to young fiddlers--Torleiv Bolstads Minnestipend and Fureprisen; he has also been recognized for his performances as a solo fiddler and dancer at many Landskappleiks. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. Sivert taught at Vermont Ski/Dance Weekend in 2019. Sivert will teach the Intermediate Hardingfele class. 

Kristian Ihle Hanto and Borghild Hardang Hanto

Kristian Ihle Hanto and Borghild Hardang Hanto, who live on a hilltop farm in Lunde, Telemark, learned from local dancers from a young age. An A-class competitor at kappleiks since 1970, Kristian has contributed as performer, competition judge and presenter at the Landskappleiks. He was awarded the Folk Art Scholarship of Telemark County in 1985 and the Norwegian Folk Artist Scholarship in 1989, and toured as a folk dancer in Norway and abroad for many years. Borghild has been an A-class competitor at kappleiks since 1989, and has also been a judge at kappleiks through the years. The Hantos have been teaching halling (Kristian), song dance (Borghild) and Telemark springar and gangar (both artists) since the 1970’s. They won the Senior Class for both their Telespringar and their Telegangar at the Landskappleik in 2019. Kristian and Borghild will be teaching Telemark springar and gangar.

Vegar Vårdal

Vegar Vårdal, from Vågå in Gudbrandsdal, is a musician, dancer and composer with more than 20 years experience as a performer and teacher. An energetic, playful and versatile musician, Vegar plays both regular and Hardanger fiddle; he studied at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Vegar was named "Norwegian Folk Musician of the year" in 2020 and has recently been awarded the prestigious Rolf Gamlengs Prize in recognition of his outstanding work as a performing artist. Vegar will present a culture session on “The 3-beat Hardingfele Music and Dance Traditions of Norway” that will be of interest to everyone.

Mira Dickey

Mira Dickey, from Austin, Texas, has played a variety of traditional fiddling styles, but has recently gone all-in for hardingfele after spending a year studying Norwegian folk music at the University of South-Eastern Norway in Rauland. Mira will teach Beginning Hardingfele. 

Loretta Kelley

Loretta Kelley has been performing on, teaching and writing about the hardingfele for more than 40 years. Her recordings and performances have received critical acclaim both in the US and Norway. Loretta will teach a samspel (group playing) session and will lead the traditional March to open our Gala Concert.

Karin Løberg Code

Karin Løberg Code lives with her fiddler husband David in Portage, Michigan. Together they will lead a session of samspel (group playing). Karin has spent three sabbatical years in Oslo where she was able to play for dance groups, compete in kappleiks, and learn from fiddlers and folk music groups like the Bærum Spelemannslag.

Cait Vitale-Sullivan

Cait Vitale-Sullivan, from Idaho, first encountered Scandinavian folk music while living in Tønsberg, Norway. After a short interlude back in the US to complete her bachelor’s degree, she spent a year in Sweden studying with song masters Maria Röjås, Emma Hardelin, Agneta Stolpe,

and more. She is currently completing a master’s degree in Agroecology, focusing on music use in Scandinavian summer farms. In this year’s singing class, Cait will teach a few trall (wordless) songs for dance and will talk about tips and tricks for creating wonderful sung music for dancing. This class is great for dancers and musicians alike!

Carol Sersland

Carol Ann Sersland, of Minneapolis, is a tradition bearer of the songs and dances of Telemark. Carol learned bygdedans from her father, who emigrated from Telemark, and she performed Telespringar with him, including at the first Nordic Fest in Decorah, Iowa and at the Smithsonian Institution’s Folklife Festival in 1974 and 1976.  Singing and dancing, Carol has performed at countless Scandinavian festivals in the Midwest. Carol is a long-time, active member of organizations in the Twin Cities celebrating and passing on Norwegian musical and cultural folk traditions, and teaches workshops to adults and youths. At our HFAA annual workshops, Carol can often be found leading a song at the table to cheer the chef, or a teasing song to accompany a toast. Carol will lead a Sing-Along of favorite Norwegian songs used at family events and other celebrations.