Award-Winning Norwegian Band KVARTS Visits Vesterheim

KVARTS band members (from left to right) Øystein Rudi, Erlend Styve, Jo Asgeir Lie, and Tom Willy Rustad.

KVARTS band members (from left to right) Øystein Rudi, Erlend Styve, Jo Asgeir Lie, and Tom Willy Rustad. Photo courtesy of Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.

DECORAH, Iowa — One of Norway’s best known traditional music bands, KVARTS (Norwegian for “quartz”), will be visiting Decorah on Wednesday and Thursday, April 1 and 2. The band members, Øystein Rudi, Erlend Styve, Jo Asgeir Lie, and Tom Willy Rustad, will lead a workshop and perform an informal mini-concert, both held at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.

The workshop with all four members of KVARTS will be April 1 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the museum’s Bethania Church on Mill Street. To reserve a place in the workshop, contact Beth Rotto at bethrotto@gmail.com, or call 563-382-9315. Members of the ensemble play fiddle, accordion, two-row accordion, guitar, and bass, and will help workshop participants with any of these instruments. The cost is $20 per person. Please indicate the instrument you plan to bring when registering.

The free, informal mini-concert will be April 2 at 11:00 a.m., also in the Bethania Lutheran Church, and everyone is invited to attend. The mini-concert is part of Vesterheim’s “Free Thursdays,” sponsored by Decorah Bank and Trust Co. Enjoy free admission to the museum before and after the concert. “Come when you can and stay as long as you can,” encourages one of the event organizers Martha Griesheimer.

The band’s visit to Decorah is sponsored by Matthew Spencer and Randi Berg, MD, in loving memory of J.J. Hancock and in honor of Kaj and Anna and all violinists young-at-heart.

KVARTS has twice won the Spellemannspris, Norway’s version of the “Grammy.” Their recordings and performances have won high critical praise.

The musical backgrounds of KVARTS band members range from classical to contemporary, bluegrass and blues to folk music. This range allows them to experiment and improvise without weakening their bonds to traditional folk music. Individually, the members of KVARTS are recognized throughout Norway for their skills as solo and group instrumentalists, music educators, composers, and arrangers.

For more information about KVARTS and a complete schedule of their Midwest events, see: http://multemusic.com/2009/02/25/events-kvarts-coming-upper-midwest/.

Vesterheim uses the story of Norwegian Americans to explore aspects of identity and culture common to everyone. The museum cares for over 24,000 artifacts, among which are some of the most outstanding examples of decorative and folk art to be seen in this country. Founded in 1877, Vesterheim is the oldest and most comprehensive museum in the United States dedicated to a single immigrant group. This national treasure includes a main complex of 16 historic buildings in downtown Decorah, and an immigrant farmstead and prairie church just outside the city.

From May 1 – Oct. 31, Vesterheim is open daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., with hours extended until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays.  From Nov. 1 – April 30, Vesterheim is open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., with hours extended until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays and is closed Monday.  For more information on the museum’s exhibits, activities, and membership opportunities, consult Vesterheim’s website at vesterheim.org, call (563) 382-9681, or write to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, 523 W. Water St., P.O. Box 379, Decorah, IA, 52101-0379.

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