Gala Benefit Concert for the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America at Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle, April 12, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013, 7:30 PM

Nordic Heritage Museum

3014 Northwest 67th St., Seattle, WA

In honor of its 30th anniversary, the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America (HFAA) held a gala concert on Friday evening, April 12, 2013, 7:30 PM, at the Nordic Heritage Museum (, 3014 Northwest 67th St., Seattle, WA. The concert, all proceeds of which will go to benefit the HFAA, featured many of the most talented performers of Scandinavian folk music and dance in the Seattle area and further afield. 

The performers included Hardanger fiddlers Anika Anderson, Sofia Bremer, Bill Boyd, Rachel Nesvig, Peter Michaelsen, and Loretta Kelley; singer Anita Anderson, singer/harpist Beth Kollé, nyckelharpa player Bart Brashers, the popular Scandinavian dance band Hale Bill and the Bopps, and the Gig Harbor Spelemannslag, a multi-generational pan-Scandinavian group of fiddlers where all the adults in the group have a son or daughter also in the group. Also appearing were members of the TinnFelen Hardanger Fiddle Ensemble, which plays traditional Norwegian dance music on Hardanger fiddles in multi-part arrangements. There were also performances of traditional Norwegian dance by Judy Patterson, Jerry Walsh, Kathi Ploeger, Don Meyers, Silje Sodal, and Bob Hamilton, supplemented by members of the Leikarringen of Leif Erikson Lodge Sons of Norway, as well as a performance of the athletic halling dance by the teens of the Poulsbo Sons of Norway Leikarring.

Featured at the concert was a rare appearance by the Harding Kvartett, a string quartet composed of two hardingfeler plus a harding-viola and harding-cello, both complete with decoration and sympathetic strings, made by luthier Lynn Berg of Eugene, Oregon. They performed music based on Norwegian folk tunes composed especially for the quartet by David Code.


Anika Anderson, age 12 of Seattle Washington was the 2011 HFAA Young Student Hardanger Fiddle Loan Recipient. She spent one year with this half sized instrument learning hardingfele techniques and tunes from Peter Michaelsen and also attended the HFAA workshop in Wisconsin during that year. She has performed hardingfele for various Skandia Folkdance Society events with Peter Michaelsen and during performances with the Seattle Lilla Spelmanslag, a youth Scandinavian Strings Group of which she is a current member. She is a 6th grader at Hamilton International Middle School and is a member of the orchestra. Website:

Sofia Bremer, age 10 of Eugene, Oregon is the 2013 HFAA Young Student Hardanger Fiddle Loan Program recipient. Sofia’s great grandparents emigrated from Norway and her parents are committed to maintaining their Norwegian heritage and family traditions. Sofia is a violin player who has been participating in a Suzuki method program since the age of three at the University of Oregon’s Community Music Institute. After receiving her half-size hardingfele, made by Lynn Berg, from the HFAA's program, she began lessons with David Elliker-Vågsberg in Eugene. Sofia has performed at their Sons of Norway lodge and has also performed for her performance class at the Community Music Institute for her fellow violin classmates and instructors.  

Bill Boyd began to play hardingfele in 1983, joining with Leikarringen of Leif Erikson Sons of Norway and learning from hardingfele player Ingulv Eldegaard, the group's musician since it was formed in 1961. 30 years later, Bill continues to play for Leikarringen rehearsals as well as performances. He also plays at other venues in the Seattle area and has learned in Norway as well as at various events in in the US, including the HFAA's annual workshops held in the midwest. Bill is also active as a folk music fiddler and keyboardist in the Seattle area. 

The Gig Harbor Spelemannslag is a multi-generational group made up of families of Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish descent, playing Scandinavian music on fiddle, hardingfele and other instruments. Members are: Torbjørn Caspersen-Burmark and Laila Eva Caspersen-Andresen with parent Linda Caspersen-Andresen; Stein Olaf Hansen with parent Laila Caspersen Hansen; Wynne Nuernberg with parent Patti Nuernberg; Caitlin Upshall with parent Janis Upshall; and Rachel Nesvig with parent Natalie Nesvig.

Hale Bill and the Bopps are one of the most versatile instrumental groups in Puget Sound’s Nordic folk community, playing fiddles, nyckelharpa, hardingfele and keyboards, with occasional vocals. The Bopps are popular among dancers and listeners for their Bopp-ish take on traditional tunes and sometimes their own compositions. Their CD was released in 2008 and they can also be heard on the soundtrack of two documentaries on Puget Sound history:  Port Blakely, Memories of a Mill Town, and Finding Thea. Members of the Bopps are: Bill Boyd, Gina Boyd, Irene Myers, Leslie Foley, and Mary Nelson.

The Harding Kvartett is a string quartet composed of two hardingfeler plus a harding-viola and harding-cello, both complete with decoration and sympathetic strings, made by luthier Lynn Berg of Eugene, OR. They will be performing music based on Norwegian folk tunes composed especially for the quartet by David Code. The members of the Harding Kvartett for this performance are Loretta Kelley, Janis Upshall, Rachel Nesvig and Linda Caspersen.

Loretta Kelley has been performing, teaching and writing about the Hardanger fiddle (hardingfele) for more than 25 years. She has appeared on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion and American Radio Company, and National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" and "Performance Today." She has taught at workshops and classes throughout the US. She has made over 20 study trips to Norway and has placed highly in many fiddle competitions there. Her playing has been featured in an hour-long radio program on Norwegian radio. Her recording with Andrea Hoag and Charlie Pilzer, "Hambo in the Snow," was nominated for a GRAMMY award in the Best Traditional World Music Album category. Loretta is currently the president of the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America ( Website: 

Beth Kollé, a Seattle native, is a multi-instrumentalist who early in her career was captivated by Scandinavian traditional music. She received her degree in music from the University of Washington and went on to live, work and travel in Norway and Sweden. Through her work on folk harp, flute and voice, she has been able to promote Scandinavian culture to many countries. One of the harp world's pioneers in bringing Nordic music to the folk harp, Beth has led several concert tours to Scandinavia with groups of harpers from the US and Canada. She is the author of nine books of harp arrangements and has produced five CDs to critical acclaim. Website: 

Peter Michaelsen has pursued Scandinavian music for over 30 years, making numerous trips to "the old countries" to study and perform. He plays both regular fiddle and Norwegian hardanger fiddle, and is a mainstay of the folk music scene in Seattle, where he teaches Scandinavian fiddle styles. 

Rachel Nesvig is a Seattle-based freelance violinist, fiddler and teacher. She studied Hardanger fiddle at St. Olaf College 2003-2007 and in Stavanger, Norway in 2006. In 2009, she taught beginning Hardanger fiddle at the HFAA Annual Workshop.

TinnFelen Hardanger Fiddle Ensemble was founded in 2003 and plays mostly gammaldans music on Hardanger fiddles in multi-part arrangements. The group also presents a Sancta Lucia Pageant each year on first Sunday in December. Members of the ensemble are: Hardanger fiddle: Marissa Essad, Philip Wilkinson, Rachel Nesvig, Deb Kosche, Kris Johannson, Trevor Lutzenhizer; Flute: Eric Brewster; Guitar: Jim Cayou; Bass: Joe Anderson. Facebook: 


Judy Patterson and Jerry Walsh share a passion for Norwegian bygdedans (regional dance), and particularly dances from Valdres, Gudbrandsdal, Telemark, and the town of Røros.  They teach dance for Seattle’s Skandia Folkdance Society and recently taught Norwegian bygdedans in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Kathi Ploeger and Don Meyers started doing Scandinavian dance in the early 1970s. They have long experience in learning, teaching, performing and competing in Scandinavian dance both here and in the Nordic countries. They have danced at the Norwegian Jørn Hilme Stemnet, performing a springar from Valdres, Norway, and they have competed in the Hälsinge Hambo competition held in Sweden every summer, a competition that attracts 900 to 1500 couples for a day long competition, placing third amongst non-Swedish couples. Don and Kathi have both earned their "Big Silver" medal in Swedish polska. This was the culmination of a series of tests in Sweden over a five-year period, in which dancers prove their knowledge of Swedish folk dance for a panel of judges drawn from the group of people who originally researched these dances in Sweden. They teach regularly and widely, based in Seattle, but having taught in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Canada, and England.

Leikarringen of Leif Erikson Lodge 2-001 has been taking pride in the performance of traditional Norwegian dances for over 50 years. Their repertoire includes old time dances (gammeldanser), figure dances (turdanser), songdances (sangdanser), and village dances (bygdedanser)--all performed to live music provided by musicians Bill Boyd (flat fiddle or hardingfele) and Nancy Morrison (recorder). The group performs locally around the Puget Sound area. Through the years, they’ve danced for Norway’s Kings Olav V and Harald V. Annually, you can see them on Syttende Mai (also known as Norwegian Constitution Day, May 17th) performing at Bergen Place and dancing along the parade route. They are “regulars” at Poulsbo’s Viking Days, Skandia’s Midsommarfest in Kenmore, the Nordic Heritage Museum’s Yulefest and ScanFair in Portland. They also perform in area schools for cultural events, in retirement homes, and for other Lodges’ special events and activities. The group rehearses at Leif Erikson Lodge on Tuesday nights, from 7:30 to 9:30, September through June and is always ready to welcome newcomers. Website:

The Poulsbo Leikarringen youth folk dancers are sponsored by the Poulsbo, WA Sons of Norway on the Olympic Peninsula, west of Seattle, and do dances from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Membership is about 100 children, ages 5-19, making them one of the largest youth folk dance groups in the world. They have learned from dance teachers from Norway as well as from their own dedicated volunteer teachers. Performances include appearances at Sons of Norway events, local festivals, retirement homes and schools. A select number of high school dancers make an annual trip to perform in the Vancouver or Victoria areas.Members of the Poulsbo Leikarringen youth folk dancers are Andrew Doornink, Joshua Barker, Alex Marlow, Joseph Graves, Margaret Graves, Emma Marlow, Stephanie Doornink, Rachel Doornink. Website:  Facebook:

Silje Sodal grew up in a dancing family in Boulder, CO and continues to embrace Norwegian and other folk music and dance traditions. She currently lives in Seattle, WA with her husband and two young children.