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Subject: Dutch celebration song
(21 september 2014)


Dear Rozemarijn,

Bergen County in New Jersey, USA, is celebrating its 350th Anniversary in October. Since the county founded by Dutch settlers, we are looking for an appropriate Dutch song that would be sung by a teen-aged female at the gala celebration.

Can you recommend an appropriate song and let me know how I might find the sheet music for it?

Thank you. Sincerely,

Toni (Bergen County, New Jersey).





Answer     (22 september 2014)


Dear Toni,

What a great idea to sing a Dutch song - but do the girls speak any Dutch? It could be difficult to pronounce.

Well, however, my idea would be that it would be nice to sing a song about Holland.

I would recommend, for example:

The song: "Where the white dunes sparkle in the sun" (Waar de blanke top der duinen), was a very beloved song for decades. It praises The Netherlands (the coast, the heather, rivers) - and every couplet ends with 'I love you, my Netherland'. The melody is very fine and easier to learn (click on 'bladmuziek' for sheet music or on 'vergroting' for a bigger sheet music):
http://www.volksliedjes.overtuin.net/volksliedjes-w.html

An alternative: 'Hollands vlag, je bent mijn glorie' (Flag of Holland, you are my glory). The song tells how joyfull he feels when he sees the Dutch flag, after a jouney over sea. This is a very happy melody. Text and simple music:
http://www.volksliedjes.overtuin.net/volksliedjes-h.html

And a third option: I remembered, that there is a Dutch song about the village Bergen in The Netherlands. I don't know if this is the place where the county Bergen is named after? The song is about Bergen aan Zee in the province Noord-Holland.

I don't know this song, but I remember it from seeing it in a song book once. You can find the lyric and music on the website of the Historic Society Bergen: http://hvb-nh.nl/startpagina-3/allerlei/bergens-volkslied/ (click on the sheet music to enlarge it).

They write that it is written by the wife of a mayor, mrs. M. van Reenen-Völter, in 1910 (music: the then well-known composer Philip Loots). It's about: I love my little village, the little houses, the pine trees, the beach and the dunes, the sea - so lovely, full of sunshine, no one is like it in the country.


If you should choose one of these songs, I can translate that one for you. Under each song, you can click on the word 'bladmuziek' (sheet music) and the sheet music will open (just the melody line). Of the first two songs I mentioned, I have a songbook with piano-music lines, I could scan that for you.

I hope this will help you further. I wish you good luck with all the preparations for the celebration!

With many greetings from the county of your ancestors ;-)
with kind regards, met hartelijke groeten,

Rozemarijn ('Rosemary').

Dutch Folk songs with music and English translation  (dutchsongs.overtuin.net)





Re:     (22 september 2014)


Dear Rozemarijn:

I thank you most sincerely for your plentiful response to my request for a Dutch song! I think the idea of the song of Bergen is a perfect one. I will explore that as an option and will let you know the result.

Thank you, again, for taking time to respond to me!

Sincerely,

Toni.





Re:     (23 september 2014)


Hello Toni,

At the end of this mail, I send you the meaning of the "Bergen-song", what each couplet means.

The idea is indeed special. I read a littlebit about the lady who wrote it, her husband the mayor was involved around 1900 to build Bergen aan Zee, a few kilometers from the old village Bergen (which itself dates back to 1000). She invited many artists to live there and wrote a book about Bergen to praise it, and arranged a tram line from Bergen to Bergen aan Zee. For a century, the new part of Bergen (Bergen aan Zee) was well-known for it's painters and poets. I think her song was part of her propagating praise of Bergen ;-)

I hope anyway these options of a few Dutch folk songs will help you to make it a wonderful celebration.

Good luck with it!

With kind regards,

Rozemarijn.

---

The song of the resident of Bergen
or (later): the anthem of Bergen

I love it, my little village, at the edge of the (sand) dunes. So lovely, full of sunshine, is no other in the whole country.

I love them, the little houses, hidden in the green, surrounded by a hedge of hawthorn and sweet-smelling garland (festoon) of flowers.

I love it, the wood, so wide, the beautiful lane with spruce trees, where the oak and the pine trees stand besides high beech trees.

Where nightingale and blackbird sing in the young hedges/bushes, where the singing of the thrush sounds, and the heron builds it's nest.

I love it, the light-yellow dune, where I can wander far around, and in the hollow of the dunes you find amazing flowers.

I love the beach of Bergen, the big wide sea, the waves bring many thousands shells to the sand.

They go and come, without rest, now blue, then silver grey, they break in foam on the coast and sing this melody:

Prosperity to Bergen, prosperity to this little village, there at the edge of the dunes. So lovely, so full of sunshine, is no other in the whole country.





Re:     (28 september 2014)


Hello, Rozemarijn:

I am trying to find someone here to pronounce the Dutch words for the Bergen-song, since we plan to sing it in Dutch for our celebration. I am trying the Dutch Reformed Churches, language teachers, etc. In the meantime, I am wondering if there would be any way for you to send me an audio file so that I may listen to the pronunciation?

Thank you, again, for all of your help. I will include you in the program notes when I introduce the song!

Best wishes,

Toni.





Re:     (28 september 2014)


Well, two minutes after emailing you, I learned that we have a Dutch exchange student at our school who is fluent in English and Dutch! I am so happy that he can help me.

Thank you, again, Rozemarijn.

Toni.





Re:     (30 september 2014)


Dear Toni,

I would have been happy to send you a recording of the spoken text, but a Dutch native speaker at you own school is indeed easier for the students and better!

Good luck with learning the song and all your other preparations for the celebration.

With kind regards,

Rozemarijn.

Dutch Folk songs with music and English translation  (dutchsongs.overtuin.net)








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