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A-LUR-ing Life

Professor Joan Paddock sounds fanfare on the lur – a Nordic wooden trumpet – in honor of Scandinavian culture.

Joan Paddock sounding the lur at the opening of the Norsk Hostfest.

Posted on 09.27.23 by Joan Paddock in

The Norsk Høstfest is North America’s largest Scandinavian festival held each autumn in Minot, North Dakota.

Joan Paddock and presenters at the Norsk Hostfest.The thousands of people who attend celebrate and partake in Scandinavian culture and entertainment. The Norsk Høstfest began in 1978 as a nonprofit organization to raise funds for preserving, improving and sharing Scandinavian culture, heritage and educational programs.

September 27-30, 2023, the Norsk Høstfest celebrates its 44th anniversary. The public has come to expect certain traditions at the celebration. To see, touch, smell, taste and hear.

The sounding of the Viking lur always indicates something BIG is about to happen.

I have sounded the lur now at this festival for more than thirty years.

The Great Hall of the Vikings hosted many headliner acts – some of whom have been inducted into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame. Over the years, these headliners have included Bob Hope, Liza Minelli, Doc Severinsen, the Beach Boys, Chicago, Johnny Cash, George Burns, Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, Loretta Lynn, Naomi and Winona Judd, Bob Newhart and so many more.

Since 1995, I have opened for their performances by sounding the lur.

The Parade of Flags, part of the Opening Ceremonies for the Norsk Høstfest, is a patriotic and heart-stirring event. All Scandinavian countries are represented with flag and national anthem, and an honor guard from Minot Air Force Base, the nation’s largest Strategic Air Command base, presents our Nation’s Colors. 

After the Parade of Flags, dignitaries and sponsors are introduced, and the festival ‘officially’ begins.

Numerous halls represent many countries with foods, crafts, music, stories, clothing, art and other goods.  There are famous chefs, authors and demonstrations of blacksmithing and Viking combat. Honoring heritage has also begun to include First Nations: Four Bears Lodge presents artifacts and pow-wow dancers and countries of the Baltic and South America have also shared their cultures.

Joan Paddock and friends in national dress.My typical schedule for the Norsk Høstfest, where clothed in the national dress of Northern Norway, includes sounding the lur, playing the trumpet, singing and presenting historical/cultural programs.  

Because of my participation in the Norsk Høstfest, I have made many connections and friendships over the years. These relationships have led to opportunities at Linfield University including:

  • Diversity programming through various experiential learning activities.
  • Week-long residencies of very talented performers and scholars who have shared at the university in language classes, theatre classes, music classes, and performances for the community.
  • Fascinating travel abroad where friends from Norway have served as hosts for Linfield students studying in Norway during January Term.

Joan with her sister Jane in their national dress of Norway.I am of Norwegian descent.

I have returned to Norway several times through the years, most recently on sabbatical to research the vitality of the cultural expression of the Sámi, called joik. And later, to embark on a surprise ‘Lur Tour’ with my friends who took me to all the places of historical importance in the Gudbrandsdal valley where Prillar Guri sounded the lur to save Norway from Scottish invasion during the Kalmar War. 

My friends also arranged for us to meet one of my mother’s relatives at Maihaugen, the open-air museum near my cousin’s mountain home, Hafjell. Of course, I had my lur, and it just so happened that the childhood home of H.R.H. Queen Sonja was being dedicated there.

I was in the right place at the right time and having had much experience in sounding the lur at the Norsk Høstfest (and with permission), I proudly and confidently sounded a Royal Lur Fanfare for the motorcade including H.R.H. Queen Sonja. 

As she passed, she tipped her hat to me and smiled in appreciation.

Meet Joan Paddock

About the author

Joan Haaland Paddock is a professor in Linfield University's Department of Music where she has been teaching since 1994. Her courses include Drumwise (MUSC 252), Global Music Cultures (MUSC 253) and We Are What We Listen to (INQS). She provides trumpet lessons in the applied music offerings and coordinates Linfield Chamber Music for brass, string, woodwind and mixed ensembles.

Paddock is the first woman to earn a trumpet performance doctorate from Indiana University. She has had the honor of sounding the lur as a cultural presenter in the US and abroad.