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MUSIC AND THEATRE

by uu Wilmot

From the beginning, people participated in making music, to experience the pleasures of the different sounds and rhythms, whether it be the smallest of harmonicas, the faithful violin or the grandest of pianos. Each in its own way served to entertain young and old, rich or poor. And so it was with the first settlers who came to this area from their homes across the sea, bearing with them some small thing that would produce musical sounds for their pleasure during their many days and nights of hardship. A ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary existence, there have been many with musical talents over the last one hundred years, some giving of their talents to play for dances and concerts. Others, more learned in their special field would give music lessons. Singing lessons were also available in the early 30's.

Music played a big part in the education of the pupils in the rural schools as well as Erickson No. 1366. There was always a teacher or a local resident that could play the organ or piano so that the students could take lessons and do group singing. The Erickson Junior Singers took part in musical festivals in Minnedosa bringing home the shield for several successive years.

Family gatherings and house parties where common in the 1900's were violin, accordion and cymbola would produce lively music for dancing or singing. Each ethnic group would enjoy their own music.

Orchestras were formed and these groups were, and still are, sought after to play for dances in school houses and the two dance halls in Scandinavia and Erickson. The phonograph and gramophone were great inventions and those few who owned one were popular families indeed.

Mr. Rolf Forsman built a theatre on main street. Silent pictures were the order of the day, and Mr. Forsman operated this theatre for a number of years. Mr. M. Brekke converted his cafe into the Han Theatre, name after his birthplace in Norway. By this time it was talking and technicolor. The Han theatre has changed hands many times, closed in 1971, the last owners being Leon and Sophie Oshust. The theatre was demolished and a mini park has taken its place.

Rolf Forsman's Theatre.

The newest addition to the enjoyment of the residents of Erickson and District is the formation of a school band with an average of thirty children involved.

We would be remiss if we did not mention some of the fine people who have contributed so much to our musical enjoyment. Some of them are Mrs. Enok Berg - Organ, Mr. N.P. Lithander and Mr. Norhaggen, who taught violin, Miss Rita McBratney, piano, Mrs. Gordon Bruce, piano and vocal, Mrs. Lorna Turner, piano and organ, Mrs. Jim Beatty, piano, Mrs. Viola Burkett, piano and accordion, and Bev Walker, band.

The Melody Aces need a special mention. They have played together for many years and if need be they would still tune up their instruments and playa real lively tune.

Hilltop musicians.

Oscar Olson, Esther Lofquist, Irvin Johnson, Wilfred Magnel/, and Sam Bolt.

The Melody Aces. Left to Right: Kelly Carlson, Harold Stitt, Herman Mutter, Viola Burkett, and Victor Mutter.

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