Leikarringen of Leif Erikson Lodge celebrates 50 years of Norwegian dance and music

50th Anniversary poster

Celebrate 50 years of Norwegian folkdancing in the Seattle area with Leikarringen of Leif Erikson Lodge 2-001, Sons of Norway, on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010, from 2:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. It’s an afternoon of Norwegian music and dance with other Nordic favorites, kaltbord/buffet, and a time to honor our colorful past in this community. Admission is $5 at the door.

Through the efforts of Mary Viken, the group informally began at a gathering during the birthday party of Lila Granaas in August of 1959. On February 19, 1960, the group met formally with Mary as dance director. Later, additional officers were elected: Bergljot Ringset Roswick president, Karl Johansen vice president, Sigurd Odegaard treasurer, Lila Granaas secretary, and Svanhild Slettene librarian. Sam Fylling, a fiddler for a Norwegian performing group in Ballard during the 1920s, became the first fiddler for Leikarringen. The next year, Ingulv Eldegard became the fiddler for many years and was joined by accordionist Severin Brandal. Several of the original founders still live in Ballard and have been active in the Norwegian-American community for all these years.

Our past presidents will be honored, special presentations made including the awarding of over twenty Sons of Norway Cultural Skills Medals to our current members, favorite songdances will be sung based on medieval singing traditions, stories will be told by our charter members with lots of reminiscing, a traditional kaltbord/buffet will be served, and dances from our 50 years will be danced all taking place at Leif Erikson Hall, 2245 NW 57th Street in Seattle. Our current officers are President Carol Cassinelli, Vice President Elaine Everitt, Treasurer Noel Wannebo, Styremedlem Lori Elken, Dance Director Larry Reinert, and Secretary Karyln Tomta. Our accomplished fiddler, taught by Ingulv and many others, is Bill Boyd who plays a variety of Norwegian folk instruments including the beautifully ornamented hardingfele. Playing her recorder, Nancy Morrison often accompanies Bill at practices and performances!

Through the years we have performed for Norway’s King Olav V and King Harald V. Annually we can be seen at Northwest Folklife Festival, Skandia’s Midsommarfest in Kenmore, Yulefest at the Nordic Heritage Museum, Syttende Mai or Norwegian Constitution Day in Ballard where we have received numerous awards for our dancing. We also have outreach visits to Norse Home and other local retirement and nursing facilities. We perform regularly throughout the region from Portland’s Scandinavian Heritage Festival and Tri-Cities’ Nordic Fest to teaching in Victoria, B.C. and also dancing at the World’s Fair in 1962 here at Seattle Center and in 1986 in Vancouver, B.C.

For this festive occasion, please wear your Norwegian or other Nordic folk costumes. If play a musical instrument, also bring it to the event.

Our rehearsals start Tuesday, January 12, at 7:30 p.m., at Leif Erikson Lodge 2245 NW 57th in Ballard. If you would like to join us for the fun, we will be practicing the songs and dances we will be doing at the reunion. Songs for everyone are Per Spelmann, Smaaspoven, Nordlandsvisa, and Vesle guten. Dances include Aattetur fra Asker, a variety of waltzes, polkas, and reinlenders. Words and music are posted at our Web site.

We look forward to seeing you on February 21, 2010!

For more information, please contact Larry Reinert at (206) 937-5211.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.