Eikanger Bjorsvik has announced a number of significant changes in personnel as they set their sights on maintaining their dominant position as Norway’s leading band.
Ahead of their new contesting season which starts in August, the reigning National Champion will say goodbye to the remarkable Grethe Tonheim (above), who has been principal trombonist for the last 28 years.
During her tenure, Grethe played on Eikanger’s brace of European championship victories as well as multiple National Championship and domestic title successes, gaining a worldwide reputation as one of the finest exponents of her craft through the band’s many high profile concerts and award winning recordings.
Taking over the role will be the recently crowned European Solo Champion, Vidar Nordli, who as reported on 4BR, has left his post as solo trombone with a Norwegian Military Band in Oslo and has moved to Bergen, where he is taking up conducting and freelance playing.
Vidar has also been appointed resident conductor with Kleppe Musikklag, who recently gained promotion to the Elite Division of Norwegian banding following their 2014 First Section National Championship victory.
New principal cornet
In another significant move, principal cornet Henning Anundsen is taking a break from banding after enjoying 22 years of playing with Eikanger — the last six as their highly respected principal cornet in leading them to five National Championship successes.
David Morton, the former principal cornet of Fairey and Molde takes over the role, and told 4BR of his excitement at being able to take the top seat with Norway’s number 1 ranked band.
"I’m absolutely delighted to become principal cornet with such a fantastic band. I’ve really enjoyed playing with Eikanger over the last year and feel very excited about the future.
David King has been my mentor for many years and the relationship he has built with Eikanger is electric."
Meanwhile, soprano star Torstein Holmås is set to enjoy an exchange year at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, during which time Eikanger will enjoy the playing services of the highly talented Jon-Vegar Sole Sundal, who has played with Kleppe Musikklag for the last four years.
We are very optimistic for the coming years ahead and look forward to welcoming the new players into the bandEikanger Bjorsvik
Two new front row cornet players in Arnfinn Rønneberg and Jonathan Torsvik also join with immediate effect, although Arnfinn previously played with the band and returns after been principal cornet with several local bands.
Although Jonathan is just finishing his last year with his local school band, Knarvik Skulekorps and has played for Krohnengen, he has been one of many young players who have been developed through Eikanger’s youth programme.
Finally, with first horn player Aidan Smith making the short move to play solo horn with Manger Musikklag, Eikanger welcomes former Kleppe Musikklag player Gerd-Karine Eriksrud Lunde and Kristin T Holmås, who played with Krohnengen, to the ranks.
An Eikanger Bjorsvik spokesperson told 4BR: "These are very significant changes in personnel, but ones that we believe will help Eikanger continue to be one of the world’s leading brass bands.
We are very optimistic for the coming years ahead and look forward to welcoming the new players into the band."