Celebrate Christmas with the Norwegians

Vang kirke in Hamar, Norway. Photo courtesy of the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

Vang kirke in Hamar, Norway. Photo courtesy of the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

Princess Märtha Louise brings Christmas greetings to 100 million Americans

For Norwegians and Americans dazzled by the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer in 1994, NRK’s Christmas concert from Hamar will surely bring memories. Since 2004, the broadcast of the Christmas concert from the Vang Church in Hamar has become a Christmas Eve tradition in Norway. For the first time, the concert will be broadcast by PBS in the U.S. this Christmas season.

Musical siblings Mari (25) and Håkon (29) Samuelsen have organized the concert since 2004.

“For us, Christmas is a special time of year, so we found it natural to do a Christmas concert. The idea behind the project is that we, as siblings on violin and cello, has carried on a dream to invite our friends music around the world home to our home Hamar and the Christmas concert,” said Håkon.

Along with the Samuelsens, Measha Brueggergosman, the internationally acclaimed soprano who performed at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics, will be singing at the concert.

Traditional music and Christmas songs will be complemented with classic winter images of Hamar and the surrounding area will be shared. Princess Märtha Louise will host this year, and talk about Norwegian traditions.

“I will tell a little about what it’s like waking up on Christmas Eve, with enormous expectations for the big day. And some of the usual discussion about the decoration of the Christmas tree in our family, our Christmas traditions is the the same as for all others, with the decoration of Christmas trees, Christmas food and porridge with almond in,” she said. “I will also talk about traditions in general, and tell the story of Haakon IV and the birkebeiners.”

The concerts, one in Norwegian and one in English, were filmed Dec. 9 – 10 in Hamar, and tickets were virtually sold out.  The one-hour concert broadcast in HD and surround sound is expected to be carried on most stations across the U.S. (on PBS) and Canada (Bravo Canada) on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

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This article was originally published in the Dec. 17, 2010 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. For more information about the Norwegian American Weekly or to subscribe, call us toll free (800) 305-0217 or email subscribe@norway.com.

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