Norsk Høstfest in the Schools

Music and foot-stomping filled the hallways Tuesday at Sunnyside Elementary, where Norsk Hstfest in the Schools performers Ginny Lee, Tony Weinberg and Mikkel Thompson were entertaining a group of fourth-graders.

When they clap, the trio, which performs as Vestafor, or “from the west,” told the children that the audience becomes a part of the music, so it’s important that they clap in the right rhythm or the music might be off beat.

The fourth-graders were careful to clap in time.

They also learned the story of the of the huldra, a supernatural creature who looks just like a mortal girl until you lift her long skirt and uncover the cow’s tale.

“That’s why she wears long skirts,” said Lee.

According to legend, Lee told the youngsters, the huldra can become human if she marries in a Christian church.

They demonstrated different instruments, such as the Hardanger fiddle, a mouth organ and an accordion and talked to the children about how the songs they played were part of learned tradition, passed down from old to young for 450 years or more.

“(We’ve been coming to Hstfest for) about 10 years now,” said Lee.

Lee and Weinberg are from Syracuse, N.Y.; Minnesota-born Thompson now lives in Sweden. They perform as a group, sharing Norwegian folk tales, dance and tradition and are on tour during the fall. They want to share their love of those traditions with the younger generation.

Vestafor will be performing at 4:30 p.m. in Tromso Hall during Hstfest. Children who took part in the Scandinavian Youth Camp will perform in a historical play with Vestafor during Hstfest, said Lee.