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Program features new Daughters of Norway songbook

Ja, vi elsker dette landet (Yes, We Love This Land) and singing!

Those words from the Norwegian national anthem can be found in a new songbook for the Daughters of Norway. Minot’s organization celebrates its first anniversary this month.

The words for the national anthem were written by Bjornstjerne Bjornson, one of Norway’s great poets. The original poem had six verses and was first published in 1859. In 1863 one of the original verses was deleted and three more were added, for a total of eight verses. The deleted verse was a tribute to King Carl XV, but Bjornson changed his political views from monarchism to republicanism, and deleted that verse. Today, the first verse and last two verses are most commonly sung.

The music was composed by Rikard Nordraak in 1864. Nordraak was a cousin of Bjornson and a friend of the famed Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. It was first performed in 1864 for the 50th anniversary of their constitution in 1814 and caught on quickly, overtaking “Sonner av Norges” in popularity. It became a part of the reading books in schools all over the country, and was sung by the children as they waved small flags in the children’s parades organized by Bjornson every 17th of May.

Despite its widespread use as the national anthem, it has never been officially declared as such. It has been the most popular song presented as the anthem since the early 20th century, and was performed as the national anthem at the time of Norway’s independence in 1905.

Janet Ruud, member of the Daughters of Norway in Tacoma, came up with the idea of a new songbook, one publication for all lodges that would contain a comprehensive selection of songs for Daughters of Norway everywhere. Of the 85 songs finally chosen, new translations were provided for 26 of the songs, with the goal of staying close to the original text, while being poetic and singable. The printed book was completed just before the 2018 summer Daughters of Norway conference. After uncounted hours of work over the course of two-and-a-half years, members were finally able to hold their beautiful new songbooks in their hands.

The first year anniversary of the Daughters of Norway Mina Aasen Lodge #55 is Sept. 25. Special events are planned, beginning with a meeting on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 2 p.m., in the Minot Library’s South Room. Refreshments will be served.

A special musical program will be taught by Sonja and Joel Hernes, using the new Daughters of Norway songbook. They will be teaching the words and singing of the Norwegian song “Ja, vi elsker.” Joel Hernes is a retired Lutheran minister, and SonjaHernes is a retired teacher. Married for 59 years, they love to travel, are members of the Sons of Norway and are active in their community.

Nordic women from the Minot area are invited to attend the Sept. 8 event in the Minot Library at 516 2nd Ave SW. Please RSVP to Sue at 838-5710 or send an email to minalodge55@gmail.com.

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