Barry Hall and Terje Mjelde with the Musikklaget Janus standard in Espeland, Norway
Musikklaget Janus is a wind band from Espeland, Norway. I've had the
pleasure of meeting, (initially via the internet, and later in person in
Norway) one of its leaders, Terje Mjelde. Terje has been associated with
the band for many years, and is one of the many people responsible for keeping
this interesting and historical group together through the years. He has
served in a variety of leadership positions for the band. Here's a history
of Musikklaget Janus from Terje.:
"Musikklaget" is a Norwegian word. A free translation into English is "The Music Company/Team (Janus)".
The origin of Musikklaget Janus is in brief. Musikklaget Janus is an amateur windband. Founded in 1936 at a small place named Espeland about 20 kilometers east of the Norwegian city Bergen at the Western coast of Norway. Espeland is grown up around a relatively big (in Norwegian scale) textile factory named "Janusfabrikken" (The Janus Factory) which was established in 1895. The factory is still going strong and uses the two-sided face of the Roman god Janus in its logo. When Musikklaget Janus was established in 1936 most of its original members were workers at the factory, and the factory was an economical contributor to the first buying of instruments for the music company. The factory also paid the salary for the conductor in the first years; about 85 USD/year on that time. Our name; "Musikklaget Janus"; must therefore be seen as an attribute to the Janus Factory. There has never been any official connection between the factory and the music company. The origin of Musikklaget Janus can be seen as a social leisure time activity for the workers at Janusfabrikken and further as a contribution to a good social environment at the small place Espeland.
Today only one of our members has its occupation at the factory. The rest of us work in different businesses which we have in our region. Western Norway is the center of Norway's oil-industry. Norway also is a great fishery nation, and the Bergen area today also has a great financial environment. Bergen is a "Hansa-town". Its origin is primarily founded on shipping and trading; especially fishtrading. Fish from the Northern parts of Norway was shipped to Bergen, and from here to the European Continent; especially Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. Bergen is also the birthplace of the Norwegian composer Edv. Grieg and the Norwegian violin-player Ole Bull.
Musikklaget Janus consists of about 20 female and male members. The youngest one is 16 years old; the oldest one more than 70 years of age. We are not a symphonic band, not a pure brassband. Our compound consists of trumpets/cornets, percussion-instruments, saxophones, a few trombones, althorns, one clarinet, euphoniums/barytons and some tubas. We can really be regarded as a real bastard with regard to compound. But we have a great range of compositions in our stock. The reason why is that our conductor/musical leader is an unicum with the capability to arrange music-pieces to our compound and the capabilities of the members. Musikklaget Janus is still a leisure time activity; and we have much fun in the music company. We have our trainings every monday from 19.00 to 21.30.
This was a brief story about Musikklaget Janus written for "The Janus Ensemble" in the US, and transmitted via Internet.
On behalf of Musikklaget Janus
(former chosen leader)