Swinging high on Syttende Mai


If the music sounds a bit louder during this year’s parade, it’s not because the kids turned the volume of their band instruments up to 11.

Østensjø Janitsjar, an Oslo band with about 60 musicians, will be performing during the tradition procession through Longyearbyen and at other events during the Norwegian Constitution Day holiday Sunday. They will also perform a concert at 3 p.m. Friday at Kulturhuset.

“They’re coming on their own,” said Anne Lise Sandvik, chairwoman of this year’s local Syttende Mai committe. “They asked if they could be a part of the parade and some other activities.”

The band, formed in 1968, consists of amateur musicians who perform original music, as well as classical, swing and street marches.

The holiday will also feature the traditional schedule of local activities, beginning with the firing of the salute at 7 a.m. and concluding with a 7 p.m. gala at Kulturhuset where the Tyfus Statuette will be presented to “a resident whose work has kept us out of typhus.” A scholarship honoring a youth making significant contributions to Longyearbyen’s culture will also be awarded.


7 a.m.: Firing of the salute.
8 a.m.: Procession w/ the Longyearbyen Storband and Østensjø Janitsjar beginning at Svalbard Church. Stops include raising of the flag and laying of flowers at the July 22 memorial by Kristin Furu Grøtting; laying of wreath at memorial at Huset by Anastasia A. Gorter; and laying of wreath at the miner’s monument in the town center by Anne Lise Sandvik.
10 a.m.: Mass. Svalbard Kirke.
11 a.m.: Traditional train procession through Longyearbyen, ending at the Skjæringa memorial.
11:45 a.m.: Syttende Mai presentations, songs and commemorations, including laying of the wreath at the Skjæringa memorial by Robert Hermansen; laying of flowers at the memorial by Russian Consulate General of Barentsburg Jurij Gribkov; firing of the salute.
12:10 p.m.: Bus departs to Svalbardhallen.
12:15 p.m.: Family activities and food at Svalbardhallen, including music by Longyearbyen and Barentsburg youths, a performance by Sirkus Svalnardo, and music by Østensjø Janitsjar.
4 p.m.: Exhibit opening: “Rock Stories” (painting, drawing and sculpture) by Carl Martin Hanse. Music performance by Lusie Frostvoll. Galleri Svalbard.
7 p.m.: Syttende Mai gala performance, featuring presentations by the Russian Consulate, Gov. Odd Olsen Ingerø and the “Tale for the Day” by Longyearbyen Culture Director Einar Buø. Awarding of Tyfus Statuette (recognizing a resident whose work has “kept us out of typhus”) and Youth Cultural Stipend (recognizing a local youth’s significant work and talent). Kulturhuset.
7 p.m.: Youth club open for juniors until 8:30 p.m.
9 p.m.: Youth club open for seniors until 11 p.m.