GREENVILLE — Danish pianist Glenn Henriksen first made inroads into Greenville in digital format — his recorded music on CD. On sale at a Danish Fest booth several years ago, Henriksen’s collection of original music was purchased by local event organizer Nels Hansen.
“I bought it and loved it,” Hansen said. “When Pastor Betsy (Kamphuis) at St. Paul Lutheran Church came up with the idea of a Danish music festival, I immediately thought of Glenn.”
Hansen took the lead in booking Henriksen for the first annual Danish Music, slated for 7 p.m. Saturday at the church, 9844 S. Greenville Road. A lasagna dinner also will be held at 5 p.m. just prior to the concert.
Before his performance, Henriksen — who hails from a Danish-founded town in Iowa — will receive a tour of Greenville, courtesy of Hansen.
“He’ll be able to see a little bit of the community,” Hansen said. “It’s nice because he comes from Danish ancestry himself.”
That ancestry will be reflected in the musical selections Henriksen is performing Saturday. The first annual Danish Festival Music Committee has asked Henriksen to feature some Danish tunes in his concert, many of which will be sing-alongs.
“They’ll be Danish songs,” Hansen said, “but in English, of course. He’ll also be playing all kinds of styles, from jazz to ragtime.”
Henriksen will perform on both the piano and organ during the concert.
Performing in a church environment is nothing new to Henriksen, who grew up in a Lutheran congregation.
“Some of my fondest memories of early church life are centered within the congregation at St. John’s Lutheran Church, rural Ringsted, Emmet County, Iowa,” Henriksen states on his website. “The church was Danish in origin, dating back to 1882. I am most grateful for my Danish heritage which was nurtured within the confines of church and family.”
Hansen and his fellow organizers are hoping the event will become a regular offering of the Danish Fest, hence the “first annual” moniker.
“We’re hoping to make this kind of a kick-off thing to the festival,” Hansen said. “This and the Queen’s Pageant. If it goes well we’re hoping to do it again next year. I don’t remember exactly what the capacity (of the church) is, but I’d love to see at least a couple hundred people here. If it goes well, maybe we’ll even have Glenn back again.”
Tickets are currently available for $15 for the concert and dinner and $10 for the concert only, and may be purchased at the door or in advance at the church, at Huch’s Fine Jewelry, Hansen’s Vision Center and West 57 Design and Floral.