This year – 2011 – was my first Christmas in Bergen, Norway, which I have found to be remarkably active with music performances surrounding the holiday period. I enjoyed the opportunity to perform with several music ensembles.
During this Christmastime, I performed jazz trumpet at Fana Kulturhus with jazz composer and vocalist Oded Ben-Horin as well as some of Oded’s fine jazz students along with a band organized by pianist Øystein Kvinge and saxophonist/flutist Pia-Camilla Tømmernes, electric bassist Peter Harald Sæverud, and others.
I also performed a few times as a vocalist (low bass) along with three inspiring women in a very nice a cappella quartet: Silje Valde Onsrud (soprano), Anne Kristine Wallace Turøy (alto), and Tine Grieg Viig (contralto). We sang several Christmas carols, including a published arrangement by Catharina Chistophersen. Anne Kristine and Tine and I also played carols in a small brass group.
Additionally, I sang and played trumpet with the Bergen Anglican choir, led by Roger Martin, which included a performance in the old Korskirken cathedral (a major Bergen landmark that had already been established by 1185!).
I enjoyed rehearsing with a fine jazz choir called Stemmebruket, but due to some unexpected problems with airplanes (during my return from serving on a doctoral tribunal in Spain), it was not possible to perform with them this time – I look forward to other concerts soon in 2012!
I also attended an enjoyable performance of Christmas music by the “Jambonans Musik Corps” brass band, an intergenerational community ensemble with a fine tradition.
Community music activities are certainly lively during the holidays in Bergen – a joy to observe and experience.