Blue House Concerts, Lanesboro’s newest performance venue, will kick off its inaugural year with three concerts during the 2019 holiday season. Entitled the Nordic Winter Music Series, the three family-friendly concerts will be held as follows:
• Friday, December 13, at 7 p.m., at Discovery Faith Community, 507 Parkway Avenue South in Lanesboro, pianist Frances Olson and Hardanger Fiddle player Becky Weis will perform Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg’s most unique work, the not-often-performed “Slåtter, Op. 72.” In this piece, the Hardanger fiddler plays a traditional tune, followed by Grieg’s reinterpretation of it for piano.
• The following day, Saturday, December 14, at 2 p.m., the inaugural Blue House Concert will take place at 607 Fillmore Avenue South in Lanesboro, where the same musicians will perform “Norwegian and Swedish Music for Hardanger Fiddle, Fiddle, and Nyckelharpa.” What is a nyckelharpa? It is the very unusual-looking yet beautiful-sounding Swedish national instrument.
• Finally, on Sunday, January 12, at 2 p.m., the second Blue House Concert will take place at 607 Fillmore Avenue South in Lanesboro, with Ann Streufert and Beth Hoven Rotto performing “Scandinavian Music for Twin Fiddles.”
A house concert is just like a regular concert except that, being held in a home, it offers a more intimate listening venue, and more opportunity to interact with the musicians.
Each concert will include a reception.
Due to space considerations, advance reservations are required for the two Blue House Concerts, on December 14 and January 12 (and suggested for the Discovery Faith Community concert on December 13). Contact Drue at 507-438-5272 or email@example.com to reserve a seat.
There is a minimum suggested donation of $5 per person or $10 per family per concert.
This series is made possible by individual donors, and by the Lanesboro Area Community Foundation, which helps keep ticket prices low.
About the artists
Elizabeth Weis teaches hardanger fiddle at St. Olaf and leads the hardingfele performance group Lars Skjervheim Spelemannslaget at St. Olaf. Weis’ main teachers have been Dr. Andrea Een (Professor Emeritus, St. Olaf) and Olav Jørgen Hegge. Weis travels on both sides of the Atlantic to study with touring teachers and in Norway to absorb both the music and culture. She performs traditional hardingfele music for dances and workshops around the U.S. She also teaches and performs on the Swedish nyckelharpa (key fiddle) and on the regular violin in several Swedish and Norwegian fiddle styles.
Frances Olson Borgerding is from Minneapolis, Minn., and has played classical and Scandinavian folk music since age four. She studied piano performance at St. Olaf. Her teachers include Nancy Paddleford and Elena Piastro (piano), Ray Shows (violin) and Elizabeth Weis (hardanger fiddle). Borgerding received grants in 2012 and 2014 toward continued study of Scandinavian folk music. Since graduating, she has been enjoying freelancing in the Twin Cities, working with organizations such as the American Swedish Institute, the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America, Ethnic Dance Theatre, and Impossible Salt, among others.
Beth Hoven Rotto is the leader of the dance band Foot-Notes, based in Decorah, Iowa, which for more than 25 years has done much to preserve traditional Norwegian-American dance music from Northeast Iowa. The band’s repertoire, harking back to the days of house parties and barn dances in the Upper Midwest, owes much to Rotto’s efforts to collect tunes from a variety of local musicians. Early in her fiddling career, Rotto was an apprentice to notable fiddler Bill Sherburne of Spring Grove, Minn.
Ann Streufert is a member of Maritza, an Eastern-European folk band based in Decorah, Iowa. She has performed with this group for 15 years, enjoying the challenge of unusual rhythms and melodies. However, Scandinavian tunes have been in Streufert’s head since the third grade when her family moved to the Swedish town of Lindsborg, Kan. When making the big cultural leap to attend Luther College in Decorah, she luckily met Rotto, her Scandinavian folk music kindred spirit.
Rotto and Streufert have been fiddle partners and friends for over 30 years. They enjoy the complexities and harmonies of both very old and newly composed pieces from all the Nordic countries. They love to “play” while they play any chance they get.