Normanna Sangerfest

A melody of heritage and community

Jon & Jean Malmin - Normanna

Photo courtesy of Wendy Jensen
For Jon Malmin, pictured here with his wife, Jean, the Normanna Male Chorus and Sangerfest is not only about music, it’s about heritage, community, and sharing. Jon’s connection to the chorus runs deep, going back to his childhood, when his parents were active members of the choir.

Wendy Jensen
Seattle

The upcoming Normanna Sangerfest is not just a gathering of voices; it’s a celebration of tradition, family, and the enduring spirit of Norwegian heritage.

In a heartfelt interview with Jon, the director-in-chief of the Normanna Male Chorus, I delved into the choir’s rich history and the profound impact it has had on its members and the broader community.

Jon’s connection to the Normanna Male Chorus runs deep, tracing back to his childhood, when his parents were active members of the choir.

“Every Monday night, my mom and dad were gone for Normanna Male Chorus practice,” Jon reminisced. These early memories were not just about music but also about picnics, festivals, and a sense of camaraderie that formed the foundation of lifelong bonds.

The choir’s legacy is intertwined with Norwegian-American history, with Jon’s father serving as the director of the chorus in the 1940s and later being elected as the director-in-chief. This familial continuity speaks volumes about the choir’s enduring commitment to its roots and its role in passing down traditions from one generation to the next.

Beyond the personal connections, the choir holds a broader significance in preserving Norwegian heritage through its repertoire of songs. Jon and I reflected on the challenges of maintaining this heritage in a changing world, where familiarity with Norwegian songs among audiences has diminished over time. Despite these challenges, the choir remains steadfast in its dedication to sharing the depth and spirit of Scandinavian music.

Jon’s passion for leading a large chorus is palpable. He described the thrill of directing a choir of 80–90 voices, evoking memories of past performances where the rich, full sound filled the air and sent chills down his spine. These experiences are not just about music but also about creating a sense of belonging, family, and shared memories.

The conversation also touched on the importance of community involvement, youth engagement, and the promotion of Scandinavian culture. Jon expressed hope for the choir’s future, emphasizing the need for continued support and involvement from both existing members and the wider community.

As preparations for the upcoming Sangerfest in Tacoma unfold, there’s an air of anticipation and excitement. For Jon and the members of the Normanna Male Chorus, this festival represents more than just a musical event; it’s a reaffirmation of their shared heritage, their love for music, and their commitment to keeping traditions alive for generations to come.

The Normanna Sangerfest stands as a testament to the enduring power of music to unite, inspire, and preserve the cultural fabric of Norwegian America. Join us in this memorable experience and celebrate the richness of our heritage through song, fellowship, and community spirit!

Normanna Sangerfest will take place on June 29 at 4 p.m. at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Federal Way, Wash. For more information, visit: pcnsa.org/sangerfest-2024.

This article originally appeared in the June 2024 issue of The Norwegian American.

Wendy Jensen

Wendy Jensen

Wendy Jangaard Jensen is the heart behind Scandinavian Hearts, a beloved business celebrating Nordic heritage through heartwarming products and captivating storytelling. Wendy is a proud business owner and an accomplished author of three Amazon best-selling children’s books, each weaving tales of Scandinavian traditions and culture. Her dedication to preserving heritage through art and literature shines through in every creation, inviting others to embrace the warmth, beauty, and magic of Scandinavian traditions.