Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association says goodbye to Christmas with Gala Extravaganza “Concert at Yuletide End”
By Lori Ann Reinhall
Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association
It’s been said that that the shortest route to Norway is via the Ballard Bridge, and in the case of our sister city Bergen, there is no doubt about this. With the revival of the association during the past few years, Ballard has been the epicenter of the activity in Seattle, and on January 6, 3:00 p.m., they will ring in the New Year at Ballard First Lutheran Church with their Concert at Yuletide End.
In Norway, the Christmas season extends well beyond Christmas Day. For most Norwegians, Christmas is not over until the passing of the Twelfth Night into Epiphany on January 6, traditionally the Feast of the Three Kings, or the Thirteenth Day of Christmas.
According to the Bible, that was the day when the Three Wise Men visited the Christ Child in Bethlehem, bringing their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and the day that the Baby Jesus was baptized. In Norway, it is a day to celebrate in big style, and in Ballard, the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association will do no less with their blowout gala fundraiser concert.
As president of the association, I’ve often maintained that Seattle and Bergen are the “most musical sister cities in the world,” with world-class concerts that make headlines on both sides of the Atlantic—and looking at the lineup for January 6, all expectations will be met once again. For this special event, an exciting array of performers will come together to play music across a variety of genres: classical, traditional folk, popular and jazz.
Heading up the lineup in the first half of the program is the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra Cello Choir, followed by harpist Beth Kollé, soprano Laura Loge with pianist Steven Luksan, Rachel Nesvig on the Hardanger fiddle, and Seattle Lilla Spelmanslag, a group of young Nordic folk fiddlers in festive folk costume.
After the intermission, Seattle’s up-and-coming violinist Allion Salvador will take the stage with classical pianist Angelo Rondello, both performers who perform with a virtuosity well beyond their years. The program then moves into a more popular and “jazzy” mode with Seattle’s ever-popular accordionist Bonnie Birch before Aaron Otheim does his magic on the keyboard.
All these musicians have worked with the SBSCA in the past, giving generously of both the time and talent at the annual Grieg Galas and other events, making this musical reunion even more special.
Topping of the performance is the a cappella choir Ballard High School Vocal Jazz, a new act in the SBSCA roster. It is rewarding for the sister city group to be working so many young talented musicians, and the association is looking forward to strengthening their relationship with local schools to build up direct exchange with Norway.
As is custom at Norwegian holiday concerts, there will also be an opportunity for the entire audience to join in on the singing before being treated to one of the SBSCA’s famous receptions. During this change to meet and mingle, the beloved Nordic folk ensemble Skandia Kapell will be on hand to provide more music. It is family entertainment and fun at its very best, always with an element of cultural enrichment.
Tickets for the Concert at Yuletide End are on sale at www.eventbrite.com and will also be available at the door. The cost is $25 for adults, $15 for students, $10 for children, and a special family rate for two adults and all children is offered at $60. All proceeds will benefit the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association. The doors open at 2:30 p.m., with pre-concert music by harpist Beth Kollé.