Cheer Committee


picture of Alice Akenson

Alice Akenson

Alice “Marmer” Akenson was born at home on January 31, 1924 in a small, close-knit village of Norwegian families called Jericho located 17 miles west of Willmar, Minnesota. She was the second of 11 children born to Harry and Luella Skaalrud. Alice grew up in a community where the Vinje Lutheran Church was the center of activity and where she was confirmed. She attended a one room school house where she learned to speak English and later graduated from the New London High School. After graduating, Alice moved to Minneapolis where she worked as a domestic for several families before landing a job at The Sons of Norway because she could speak and write Norwegian fluently. During World War II she worked at the Twin City Arsenal in New Brighton making ammunition. After the war she found a job running the office for a small trucking company. There she met a driver named Howard who had made it through the war and was happy to settle down with Alice. They married in 1948, made their home in Minneapolis where Alice kept an immaculate house, raised her two children in a happy and loving way and kept active at the First Baptist Church where she had many wonderful friends. Alice and Howie loved to be at the lake and discovered Alexandria in the mid -fifties. After renting cabins and even spending several summers in a small trailer at Carlos State Park, they bought a cabin on Lake Darling where family and many friends spent wonderful summers at the lake. “Marmer’s Cabin House” door was always open and a favorite spot for a crew of neighborhood kids to stop for cookies and some quarters to take to the candy store. She loved children and they loved her. Alice died on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at Grand Arbor in Alexandria at the age of 94. She was preceded in death by her parents, Harry and Luella Skaalrud and eight of her siblings. Alice is survived by Howard her husband of sixty-nine years.

Adele Davis

Norway News

Oh Cod! The Greatest Fishing Adventure

Stunning scenery, breathtaking coastlines and the meanest and biggest fish. All are reasons why cod fishing in Norway is an exhilarating and addictive sport. Every year, the World Cod Fishing Championship takes place on the waters near Svolvær, located on the island of Austvågøya in the Lofoten archipelago.

More than 5,000 visitors gather on the small island to watch 80 fishing boats and almost 600 participants battle to set records.

The competition covers both total catch and the biggest individual fish. Cod are often massive in size and weight, usually exceeding 30 pounds. Both amateurs and professionals brave the cooler temperatures and sea sickness to celebrate the fishing season in Lofoten. “Skrei” is the Norwegian name for cod and is a major source of income for many locals. After the competition, the cod is sold to restaurants and stores across the country.

This year the competition was held in March, and the turnout was impressive. Fredrik Mørch-Reiersen took the prize of reeling in a 52-pounder. See the full results at

Celebrating Edvard Grieg

June is the month to pay homage to Norway’s most revered composer, Edvard Grieg, who was born in Bergen on June 15, 1843, in the Grieg’s family home.

Here are a few notable facts about the composer culled from The Grieg Museum’s website.*

• Grieg’s most famous compositions include Piano Concerto in a minor, incidental music for Ibsen’s drama “Peer Gynt” (Morning Mood, In the Hall of the Mountain King, Solveig’s Song a.o.), Lyric Pieces for piano, Holberg Suite, Last Spring

• He grew up in a successful merchant family, together with his brother John (born 1840) and his sisters Maren (born 1837), Ingeborg Benedicte (born 1838) and Elisabeth (born 1845). Very early he showed a strong interest in music and for the piano as instrument. He could sit at the piano for hours, exploring all kinds of tunes on his own.

• During his early school years in Bergen, Edvard wasn’t the most disciplined pupil. He preferred to discover the music himself. Instead of the compulsory etudes, he preferred to improvise and play new tunes and melodies. However, despite the certain amount of reluctance, his love for music grew into what was to become, in his innermost spirit, the right thing to do in life – to be an artist.

• Edvard Grieg studied at the music conservatory in Leipzig, Germany. This conservatory was founded in 1843 by Felix Mendelsohn, and was reckoned to be the best and most modern conservatory in Europe. His teachers in Leipzig were some of the best pedagogues in Europe: Ignaz Moscheles in piano, Carl Reinecke in composition and Moritz Hauptmann, for whom Edvard Grieg had the greatest respect. He graduated from the conservatory with excellent marks in 1862.

• An extensive touring schedule with innumerable concerts, combined with a weak health condition, was to put an end to Grieg’s life. In September 1907 Grieg became seriously ill and was hospitalized in Bergen, where he died on Sept. 4, 1907, of chronic exhaustion.

Learn more about the Norway’s rich musical heritage by participating in Music and Musicians of Norway, a cultural skills program available to Sons of Norway members at