Norwegian TV To Feature Choir That Includes UND Student For Syttende Mai

Jared Lennon, a University of North Dakota junior triple-majoring Norwegian,

Jared Lennon
Jared Lennon (front center)

 International Studies, and Political Science, is part of a Norwegian student choir that will be featured by NRK TV next week for a story connected with Syttende Mai.

NRK—Norsk rikskringkasting AS, or Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation—is the Norwegian government-owned radio and television public broadcasting company and the largest media organization in Norway.

Lennon, a Grand Forks native and son of former UND head football coach Dale Lennon, has spent this entire academic year at the University of Oslo. He also plans to continue his studies there this summer to take level 4 language and Nynorsk classes at the International Summer School before he returns to UND next fall. Nynorsk—or “New Norwegian”—is one of two official written standards in Norway, the other being Bokmål, or “book language.”

To learn more about Norwegian language and culture and make new friends in the Norwegian community, Lennon joined a local choir where he is the only American.

“The choir I’m in is called Den Norske Studentersangforening, or Norwegian Student Choir,” said Lennon. “It’s actually the oldest male choir in Norway, dating back to 1845.”

“It’s been an incredible experience as the performances we’ve had are nothing like I’ve ever done before,” Lennon said. “Last fall, we sang for the Norwegian Minister of Defense at Akershus Slott (Akershus Castle). We’ve also sang at the Oslo RÃ¥dhus (Oslo City Hall) for immigrants who were becoming Norwegian citizens. And now we get to sing on national television for the whole of Norway to see. It’s an exciting place to be.”

In an e-mail to Dr. Melissa Gjellstad, his advisor and the head of UND’s Norwegian language program, Lennon said  joining the choir “is probably the best choice I made since coming here” to University of Oslo.

In addition to this extracurricular activity in Norway, Lennon also joined the International Students Union and became a board member for University Oslo.

The choir Lennon is part of will be on NRK on Tuesday, May 17, Norwegian Constitution Day. It’s the National Day of Norway and is an official national holiday observed on May 17 each year. Among Norwegians, the day is referred to simply as Syttende Mai (meaning May Seventeenth), Nasjonaldagen (National Day) or Grunnlovsdagen (Constitution Day).

The student choir will be performing live at 7:30 a.m., 8:45 a.m., and 1:55 p.m. three different songs as a part of NRK’s Oslo coverage of the Syttende Mai celebrations. The show also will be posted on the NRK Web site

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Useful links:
*UND Department of Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures—Norwegian
*NRK (Norwegian National TV)

Melissa Gjellstad, assistant professor of languages—Norwegian
UND Department of Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures

Jared Lennon, UND student

Juan Miguel Pedraza
UND Office of University Relations
701-777-6571 office 701-740-1321 cell