As noted, the 17th of May, Norway’s constitution day, was an extra big deal this year. Sarah and I played for 5 services (compared to only 2 for the biggest day of the Christian year, Easter), plus a concert.
The day didn’t begin very promisingly. The following pictures rather summed it up: strong winds and rain (hence the very small flag), ice on the pond, barely a hint of green on the trees, and a skip (symbolising all the rubbish left behind in the streets by the Russ – teenagers in their final year of school, for whom the 16th of May is party night, despite impending exams) :
After the first services the sun did come out, although it was too late for the town parade (no pictures because we were playing, but . The Ordfører (mayor) spent the day giving speeches and laying war memorial wreathes at various ceremonies around the area – I got to hear 4 of them. This was at Bjorlevnes church:
At Finnsnes church we had a big evening family service, with music led by our children’s choir (barnekor) who did a fantastic job, despite being low on numbers because of family commitments:
Afterwards there was the traditional singing, speeches, coffee and cake, and some rather chilly outdoor games for the children. Note the effect of too much sugar on one of the teenagers:
At 8pm we should have received a visit from the Anna Rogda – a sailing ship which is travelling from north Norway, all the way down the coast to Oslo, acting as a cultural and educational focal point for the 200 year celebration of the Grundlov (constitution). Susanna was asked to play in a fanfare to welcome the ship, as part of an elite brass group, and barnekor were invited to open a special concert and presentation during the boats planned 2 hour stop in Finnsnes. However, due to motor trouble (on a sailing ship?) neither the boat nor it’s flotilla made it, but the fanfare and concert went ahead anyway. Despite the best efforts of the professional brass group, the fanfare ( specially commissioned, and to be played at all ports of call), sounded like a Calcutta traffic jam (if anyone important is reading this, next time ask me or Ivar Jarle to write something, or even invite submissions from the primary schools). However, barnekor swept the floor with Fagert er landet (a ‘national’ hymn), Som barn i ditt hus (a contemporary worship song of intercession), and the toe-tapping, hand-clapping Haleluja, opphøye Jesus (a gospel Easter hymn). Sadly, no pictures from this event.
Here are some more pictures from around the area on the Troms Folkbladet website (our local paper).