A cultural bridge

Explore, discover and celebrate Nordic countries at the 25th annual Leiv Eriksson International Festival (LEIF) in Minneapolis

Leiv Eriksson International Festival

Minneapolis, Minn.

The Leiv Eriksson International Festival (LEIF) in Minneapolis, Minn., is pleased to welcome the Church of Norway’s first permanent presiding bishop, Helga Haugland Byfuglien, who opens the 25th Annual Festival on Oct. 7 at the 11 a.m. worship service at Mindekirken, 924 East 21st Street in Minneapolis.

“It is a privilege to visit Mindekirken and participate in the 25th Leiv Eriksson International Festival,” said Bishop Byfuglien.

LEIF offers a wide variety of activities and presentations during the 10-day festival in the greater Twin Cities area to build a cultural bridge between the modern Nordic countries and the U.S. Here is the calendar of LEIF events:

Friday, Oct. 5: Norwegian Glee Club of Minneapolis 100th Anniversary Concert

The Norwegian Glee Club of Minneapolis will celebrate its 100th anniversary singing one hundred years of music with special Nordic guests on Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church, 929 East 21st Street, Minneapolis. Performing with the Glee Club are the American Swedish Institute Male Chorus, the St. Paul Swedish Male Chorus and special talent from Norway. Special guests from Norway include trumpeter Kai Robert Johansen of Sarpsborg, Norway, will be performing, as well as the sister duo Haldis and Åslaug Hegstad from Oslo. A $10 donation is requested, and a reception follows.

Sunday, Oct. 7: 25th Annual LEIF Opening Worship Service – 11 a.m.  

Presiding Bishop of the Church of Norway Helga Haugland Byfuglien will offer the sermon in English at Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church, 929 East 21st Street, Minneapolis. Mindekirken will provide the music, and an enticing Nordic-inspired coffee hour follows.

Tuesday, Oct. 9: Presentation of “The Church Today in Norway”

Presiding Bishop of Norway Helga Haugland Byfuglien will present “The Church Today in Norway” in an informal setting at Mindekirken. There will be time for discussion. Open house begins at 11 a.m., followed by lunch at noon. The program begins at 1 p.m. Admission is $7 per person.

Thursday and Friday, Oct. 11 – 12: International Seminar for “Dignity and Empowerment: Women as the Keys to Global Food Security”

The Oslo Center – U.S. Foundation in partnership with the fourth Worldview Conference on Remedies to Racial and Ethnic Economic Inequality presents a two-day international seminar, “Dignity and Empowerment: Women as the Keys to Global Food Security.” As part of the Leiv Eriksson International Festival, the seminar will launch a movement to build new relationships among corporate and humanitarian leaders, promote new ideas and real-world solutions to food scarcity, and inform policy makers and the public about the need to empower women, who play the most important role in food production in the developing world.

The international panel includes Vigdis Vevstad and Ingrid Stange from Norway. Also invited are Mary Rono and Fatuma Osman from Kenya; Jeff Dykstra, founding executive director of Partners in Food Solutions, USA; Jon Halverson, vice president of the International Development Division of Land O’ Lakes; Mara Russell, Land O’ Lakes Food Security and Livelihoods Practice manager; and others.

The seminar will begin at 10 a.m. at the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota, located at 301 19th Ave. S, Minneapolis. For more information, go to www.oslocenter.us or www.Mindekirken.org. For specific details, email Orlyn Kringstad at orlyn.kringstad@oslocenter.us or Jana Aune Deach at jadeach@msn.com.

Thursday, Oct. 11: Nordmanns Forbundet Dinner and Annual Meeting

The Nordmanns Forbundet / Norwegians Worldwide annual meeting and dinner has the distinction of introducing Hanne Aaberg, the new secretary general of the international organization headquartered in Oslo; she is also executive director of The Norway-American Association. Aaberg will be the keynote speaker, and the evening promises exceptional talent by Loryce Sivertson and husband-and-wife duo Antonia and Stan Felix. Social hour begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The event will take place at the Minnesota Valley Country Club, 6400 Auto Club Rd. in Bloomington. Admission is $50 per person, and reservations are required. To make a reservation, call (952) 925-4500.

Saturday, Oct. 13: Ensemble Arctica presents “Our Nordic Heritage in Music and Poetry”

Ensemble Arctica of Norway joins the Leiv Eriksson International Festival this year with a uniquely designed concert exploring Nordic heritage through poetry and music. Four highly acclaimed Norwegian artists, Bente Eggum Johannessen, soprano; Henrik Engelsviken, tenor; Emma Rowena Hansen, pianist; and Nicolay Lange-Nielsen, actor, scriptwriter and director, take their audience through the valleys, fjords and landscapes of Scandinavia and infuse the listeners’ souls with the Nordic spirit.

Ensemble Arctica’s style is reminiscent of singer Eva Nansen, Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen’s wife, and her dear friend and famous pianist Agathe Backer-Grøndahl. They performed for commoners during an era of national rebuilding in Norway, which occurred around 1905, when Norway was finally free from foreign rule. Their music helped their fellow countrymen rediscover their cultural identity. Today, Ensemble Arctica achieves a similar goal. In our ever-changing world, people still seek out their roots. The concert will be held at the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church, 929 East 21st Street, Minneapolis, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for students.

Sunday, Oct. 14: Worship Service and Closing Ceremony at Mindekirken

The Leiv Eriksson International Festival officially closes at the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church at 11 a.m. with a Nordic-inspired worship service with Rev. Eygló Bjarnadóttir as guest pastor. She will preach in English. Music will be provided by a surprise guest ensemble. An inviting coffee hour follows the service with food from all the Nordic countries.

Mindekirken is located at 924 East 21st Street, Minneapolis, MN 55404. For more information, call (612) 874-0716 or visit mindekirken.org.


About the Festival

The Leiv Eriksson International Festival was formed in 1987 under the leadership of Pastor John Mauritzen, Mindekirken (The Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church in Minneapolis) and members of the Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish communities to establish an annual festival to celebrate Nordic cultural roots in the United States. Over the years, the events have brought top-ranked Nordic talent to the Festival. This helps us all explore the values and goals of today’s Nordic countries and share them with other Nordic Americans. It also gives the Nordic community an opportunity to share its heritage with all citizens.

The Leiv Eriksson International Festival is brought to you, in part, by the American Swedish Institute, Danish American Center, The Edvard Grieg Society / Norway House, Finlandia Foundation, Icelandic American Association of Minnesota, Mindekirken, Nordmanns Forbundet / Norwegians Worldwide, Oslo Center-US Foundation, Sons of Norway and by private donations.

For more information, visit the LEIF page at http://tinyurl.com/LEIF2012 or call (612) 874-0716.

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 7, 2012 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

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