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Published 13. July 2001

Last update 04. June 2019

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Memorial stone for Sigurd Fossen



People in the county of Sogn og Fjordane have honoured at least seven persons with memorial stones for their achievements in song and music. Two memorial stones are in the churchyard at Holmedal, - one on the grave of Sigurd Fossen, the other on the grave of Ola Espedal.

Holmedal Musikklag (music association) around 1933. Front row from left: Øyvind Skarstein (cello), Theodor Nilsen (mandolin), Andreas Fossen (violin), Kristian Lerpold (sitar), and Sverre D. Vårdal. Back row: Hjalmar Rivedal, Sigurd Fossen, Peder Søreide, Sigvard Fossen, and Håkon Fossen.

Holmedal Musikklag (music association) around 1933. Front row from left: Øyvind Skarstein (cello), Theodor Nilsen (mandolin), Andreas Fossen (violin), Kristian Lerpold (sitar), and Sverre D. Vårdal. Back row: Hjalmar Rivedal, Sigurd Fossen, Peder Søreide, Sigvard Fossen, and Håkon Fossen.

Owner: Ottar Haugen.

Date: 1932-1935.

Photographer: Ukjend.

The memorial stone

The memorial stone for Sigurd Fossen is located on his grave on the north side of the Holmedal church. The stone is made of a dark rock, about 150 centimetres high, 60 centimetres wide, and 20 centimetres deep. The front side has been polished, and the inscription is made against a white background. Below a cross at the top is inscribed: SIGURD FOSSEN * [f.] 18-8-1906 * [d.] 3-7-1935 * Mat.5.6 * Reist i takksemd * av Holmedal songlag (SIGURD FOSSEN born 18 August 1906 died 3 July 1935 Matthew 5,6 Erected in gratitude by Holmedal Choir Association)
Note: Matthew. 5,6. says: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."

The parents

Sigurd Fossen, born at Solheim in Jølster on 18 August 1906, was the son of the teacher and parish clerk Anders Andersson Fossen, born in 1855 at Ormberg in Jostedal, and Kristina Sjursdotter Ålhus (1874-1918). Fossen went to the one-year teaching seminar at Balestrand in 1875-1876, and to Hamar teachers' training school in 1882-1884. He was a teacher at Jostedal in the period 1877-1895, a teacher and parish clerk in Gaular, (Bygstad), 1895-1898, and a teacher and parish clerk in Jølster (Ålhus) from 1898, until he retired as a teacher in 1923. That same year he moved with his family to Holmedal, and settled on the smallholding of Kroken, or "Utsikten" (the view), under the farm of Holmedal.
Anders Fossen was married three times, the second time with Kristina Ålhus. They had six children, Sigurd being number two. Kristina died in childbed.

A short life

Sigurd was 17 when he, together with his father, his stepmother Nikolina, and brothers and sisters came to Holmedal. Sigurd gave a helping hand at the smallholding, which was big enough to feed 2-3 cows, and he built a small house, where he had a carpenter's workshop. When his father died, Nikolina moved in, and they both lived there until Sigurd died after a stomach operation, on 3 July 1935, only 30 years old.

Established music association and male choir

In 1926, there was a music course at Holmedal, in which Sigurd and several others participated. Afterwards, Sigurd became the leader of 12-15 young people who came together regularly to play and to practise. In this way the Holmedal Music Association started, - first with fiddles and accordion, later with cello, organ, mandolin, and flute. "He was a very good teacher," said Jostein Haaland, Holmedal, who went to a course by Fossen when he was eleven.
In 1931 or 1932, there was another course with a visiting teacher whose name was Smilden, from Hyllestad. The music association gradually reached a level high enough to travel around and give concerts - at Hyllestad and Solund, Dale, Sande, Førde, and Jølster.
Sigurd Fossen also managed to get a male choir started, where he was the conductor. Sigurd did great and valuable work for the choir and music activities at Holmedal in the short time he lived.

Others took over

After Sigurd Fossen passed away, others took over the leadership of the two associations. The music association was active until 1940, the last few years led by Andreas Fossen, Sigurd's brother. Hjalmar Rivedal, a young, interested singer and fiddle player, took over the leadership of the male choir. With short interruptions this choir was active until the mid-1950s, when the Holmedal mixed choir and the Holmedal male choir from 1955 merged into Holmedal Songlag.

See geometric position on detailed map at Fylkesatlas or on a 3D-map at Google Maps by clicking on the 3D-button down to the right at the Google-map.

resources:

Sunnfjord Songarsamband. 50 år. 1973.
Sunnfjord Songarsamband. 25 år. 1923-1948.
Kristiansen, Astrid: Eit musikklag før "kulturkronene" si tid. I: Sogn og Fjordane Magasin. Nr. 3. 1983.
Opplysningar frå:
Jostein Haaland, Holmedal.
Sigurd Bjarne Fossen, Bergen.
Ottar Haugen, Orkanger.

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