Growing Up a Grundtvigian Dane: The Songs, Dances and Activities that Influenced the Youth...

November 3, 2008 / By: Gwen Sarya

The purpose of this study is to investigate a piece of history from the West Denmark Church in Luck, Wisconsin.  The author, having grown up in this community, holds her own childhood memories very close.  In looking back the writer wanted to focus on the exact aspects that made a previous time so special; that of singing and dancing during various community events as well as taking part in activities she deemed particularly “Danish."

As history goes on we tend to lose valuable information due to the passing of the people who were a part of our history.  This paper is an effort to document a part of the church’s history so it can be shared with future generations.  In discussions with various people of the church it was decided that the time period pastor Harold Petersen was residing at West Denmark (between 1952-1969) was a festive and joyful time for the youth.  These individuals are alive today with many detailed memories of the events, songs and dances they took part in during this time.  It was unfortunate that Pastor harold Petersen himself passed away before he could be interviewed for this paper, however, his wife Saralice was still alive for interviewing.

The questions asked in the beginning were, “How did these individuals view the purpose and effect the various activities had on their association with the Danish culture and their association with the Grundtvigian philosophy now that they are able to reflect back, as adults, on these joyful songs, dances and activities?”