Miss Mollie Martinsen

was a teacher at Concordia from 1908 to 1910 and is well known and regarded in the Red River Valley and the Northwest as one of the most capable and most venerated songstresses.

She was born in Blanchardville, Wisconsin, where her Grandfather, Pastor Ole Paulsen, who was very musical, was a priest for over 20 years. She came to Fargo, North Dakota in 1913. Her father, Pastor Simon L. Romsdahl, was a priest with the Pontoppidans Parishes in Fargo, North Dakota from 1903 to 1910. Notwithstanding the fact that she born in Alten, she has Romsdalsk ancestry because her father Lars was from Romsdalen. Her mother, Alphia Theodora Paulsen, was from Solor. The people of Nordlaending and Romsdoling are going to find that the people of Solor will claim that her musical cleverness and confident temperament and her ethnic features with her winning personality, is inherited from there.

She received her school education in Fargo, North Dakota. She graduated from Fargo Conservatory in 1908 and went to the Agricultural College for one year. She is a very capable and skilled teacher. She has been a teacher in Calumet, Michigan, where she was the supervisor of the music department at the high school and all of the town’s twenty schools. She moved from there to Chicago, Illinois where she studied for one year under William Claire Halls' guidance. She was a teacher at the school in Hinsdale, Illinois at the same time. She has taught private singing in Calumet, Michigan. She was a soloist for one year with many large concerts with the New York, Brooklyn, Minneapolis and St. Paul Symphony.

One of her students was the young Italian tenor Otto Baggiore, who came to continue his studies under Miss Romsdahl’s leadership. He is very well-gifted and will educate himself for the opera.

Miss Romsdahl went with the St. Olav's choir to Norway in 1913 as a soloist. Her distinguished song at the large singing celebration in Fargo, North Dakota in 1912 and with the large annual meetings for the united Church, will be remembered by many numerous friends and well-wishers she already has and many more that she will win, given that she can and will think that her mission at Concordia College is to awaken sense and interest for Norwegian songs, so the adult family with Norwegian blood in their veins will appreciate, that it is both "lady-like" and "gentleman-like", that grows with Norwegian music and song since there is everlasting beauty in classical music and song – the world's international language, unbounded by the narrow land boundaries, and so it has common ownership for all musical souls in the land.

There is nothing better to desire for Concordia College than good professional classical and evocative music, and it will supersede and conquer over the worthless "hacking" avoided by so capable of music teachers as in Miss Mollie Martinsen, Miss Harriet Gilbert and Miss Mildrid Romsdahl, who for many years ahead will lead music education at Concordia College. The effect thereof will shortly manifest itself in better and more musical sense in homes in Northwestern and an appreciation of what is good and valuable music and only worthwhile glorious compensated music which demands both cunning guidance and musical sense - a delightful gift from the cradle that not all have received, but that can beautify lives for them and for their surroundings.

Source: Norwegians and Norwegian Homes in America by Hans Jervell - 1916 - Page 12


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